The family situation surrounding Bristol Palin has seen a series of different twists and turns over the past eight years. These circumstances have resulted in both subsequent fame and fortune and negative publicity connected to her lifestyle choices.
Palin, the daughter of former Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, first became fodder for conversation just after her mother received the nomination for vice president. It was at that time that it was announced that the then 17-year-old was five months pregnant with then-boyfriend Levi Johnston’s child.
After giving birth to their son, Tripp, in December 2008, Palin’s relationship with Johnston ended just three months later. In November 2009, Johnston filed for shared custody and lower child support payments. However, by July 2010, the couple had made up and announced their engagement, but the relationship once again ended soon after.
Palin and Johnston came to an unofficial agreement at roughly the time of the final breakup that she would have primary custody of their child. Johnston would have visitation rights while paying child support, with those visitations taking place over the course of several hours each week on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Since the agreement was never legally certified, friction soon developed when Johnston complained that the Palin family had made such visitations difficult. That led to Johnston filing a petition for joint custody in 2013.
The final ruling on the case was delivered in February 2016, when the Alaska court ruled in favor of Johnston, which now allows him to share in the raising of the child. Since his breakup with Palin, Johnston has gotten married and fathered two children in that relationship.
Johnston still owes an unspecified amount of money in child support, which is $600 per month. He indicated that he had paid approximately $50,000 since his son’s birth, though late in 2013 during the midst of the custody battle, Palin’s lawyer indicated that Johnston owed $66,000.
Legal fees during this period, according to Johnston, amounted to about $100,000, which was split between three separate lawyers.
Despite the ultimate disposition of the case against her, Palin refused to say that she had lost. Instead, she focused on the fact that she would continue to remain the primary caregiver for the child and that his father would be more prominent in his life.
Palin’s money-making opportunities have faded since 2010, when she appeared as a contestant on the ABC series, Dancing With the Stars, finishing third in the competition. That success led to a return to the show two years later, the same year that she took part in a reality television series on the Lifetime cable network.
Just months after having given birth to her son, Palin had been hired by the Candie’s Foundation. Her job, in which she was paid $262,000 in 2009, was to go across the country as a spokesperson on behalf of trying to limit teen pregnancy. The emphasis of the campaign was to cite the virtues of abstinence.
The compensation she received was seen by critics as excessive, and her role as an advocate for abstinence would be severely criticized in the summer of 2015. That’s when she announced she was pregnant with her second child, just months after she had abruptly broken off her engagement with Medal of Honor winner Dakota Meyer.
In that case, Palin gave birth to a girl in December 2015, which led to a less-contentious agreement that officially certified custody and visitation rights. The remaining negotiations were connected to both past and future custody support.