The Unconventional Story of 'Teen Moms 2' Star Jenelle Evans

Natalia Hoss

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Axelle Bauer/Griffin / Contributor via Getty Images

Jenelle Evans's life was blasted across television screens for years when she became one of MTV's teen moms. But her story went far beyond her final episode on the show. Here is where the former reality star is today.

Who is Jenelle Evans?

Born on December 19th, 1991, Jenelle Lauren Evans promptly won over her parents' hearts. Barbara and Robert were captivated by their baby girl. Little did they know, soon the rest of the world would be too.

Jenelle Evans 16 Pregnant
Instagram via @j_evans1219

Evans grew up in Oaks Island, North Carolina. She was raised in a small household and provided a normal childhood with a fair share of teenage drama. But, when Jenelle turned the ripe age of 16, her life drastically changed in ways she never expected.

16 and Pregnant

At the same age that she could be getting her driver's license, Jenelle found out that she was pregnant with her then-boyfriend, Andrew Lewis's baby. And while many would keep their lives private. Instead, Jenelle made her TV debut in 2010 on MTV's 16 and Pregnant

16 Pregnant Jenelle Evans
Instagram via @j_evans1219

Filming for Evans's season began in 2009 in North Carolina. During that time, her first child, Jace, was born on August 2, 2009, when Jenelle was 17-years-old. Soon, the MTV network show's second season was completed. Evans then appeared in the season premiere that aired on February 16, 2010.

The Show Revealed More than She Intended

Pressure from 16 and Pregnant had irked Jenelle to her core. Many fights with her Mom that were meant to stay off-screen had been aired. And, the most intimate parts of her relationship with Andrew were displayed for all to see. The pressure soon became too much for Evans to handle, and she quickly slipped into hot water. 

Child Protection Jenelle Evans
Instagram via @j_evans1219

Unfortunately, Jenelle allowed her romantic relationship to affect her priorities as a mother. But, she wanted to gain independence after running into legal troubles. However, due to several incidents, Jace's custody was awarded to Grandma Evans in 2010 as a safety precaution. This soon led to full responsibility for the baby.

Teen Mom 2

After spending countless hours in the courtroom fighting for custody of Jace, Evans found herself back on set. This time, on Teen Mom 2 alongside other young moms from 16 and Pregnant. Between 2011-2019, Jenelle appeared in 109 episodes of the spin-off reality show. 

Teen Mom 2 Evans
Facebook via Jenelle Evans

Evans was arguably one of the most troubled characters on the new show, from becoming pregnant at a young age to getting in trouble with the law on repeated occasions. Despite efforts to keep drama to a minimum, the good, bad, and the ugly were all documented on Teen Moms 2.

Turbulent Relationships

Unfortunately, 2012 was full of several turbulent relationships in Jenelle's life. That year, she dated and separated from several people, including Kieffer Delp, who she met at a party while he was couch surfing between friends' houses. Nevertheless, a toad could lead to a prince!

Bad Relationships Jenelle Evans
Instagram vis @j_evans1219

Jenelle then met Gary Head, who swept her off her feet. They quickly got engaged until 2 months later when Evans called it off due to her fiancé's infidelity. Apparently, she found out that he had hooked up with someone while they were on a break. But, Jenelle didn't give up hope and soon met someone else.

Jenelle's First Marriage

The young mom soon met a dashing man named Courtland Rodgers in November 2012. Again, Evans was whisked into a fairytale, this time, to the courthouse. Jenelle and Courtland were married a month later in a small ceremony. Before they knew it, the newlyweds were expecting but decided not to follow through with the pregnancy.

Courtland Rodgers Jenelle Evans
Instagram vis @j_evans1219

Conflicted by not having full custody of her son, Jenelle was understandably distracted. This ongoing court battle grew frustrating for Courtland and soon led to the couple's separation in 2013. Their divorce was then finalized a year later in 2014 due to the North Carolina law requiring a year-long separation period.

She Met a Military Man on Tinder

Before the finalization of her divorce, Jenelle met Nathan Griffith on Tinder. Griffith, a member of the United States Marine Corps, felt like a safe and secure partner for the now-single mother. After he served in Afghanistan and only a few months of dating, Jenelle became pregnant with Nathan's child.

Jenelle Evans Nathan Griffith
Facebook via Jenelle Evans

Before they knew it, Nathan and Jenelle welcomed their baby boy, Kaiser Orion Griffith, into the world. Born on June 30, 2014, their son was immediately showered in love. For his parents, it was time to celebrate their love and new family. But, the high spirits wouldn't last for long.

Trouble in Paradise

The couple decided to embark on a vacation together to St. Thomas after Kaiser was born. Not long after the start of the new year, Griffith proposed to Evans, and she accepted! But, the excitement of becoming engaged for a second (and hopefully final) time didn't last for long.

Kaiser Birth Jenelle Evans
Instagram via @j_evans1219

Everything soon took a sharp turn in their relationship when Nathan got caught up in a dangerous run-in with the law. Before she could work out what went wrong in the relationship, Jenelle was single yet again by August 2015. She then faced continuous custody battles over Kaiser's parent placement.

A Stable Relationship

After her official split from Griffith, Jenelle knew that she needed a man who would be good to her. So, she yet again took to Tinder to find her prince charming. In September 2015, she matched with David Eason. The two soon met in person and became inseparable.

Jenelle Evans David Eason
Alo Ceballos / Contributor via Getty Images

The new couple was absolutely head over heels for each other. So much so that by 2016, they became pregnant. Unfortunately, Jenelle miscarried shortly after. When it felt as if all hope was lost, the world worked out a miracle for the young lovebirds, but not for long...

Another Baby and Marriage

To their surprise, the couple's spirits were raised when Jenelle became pregnant again and carried to full term. Evans gave birth to their daughter, Ensley Jolie Eason, on January 24, 2017. A few months later, Ensley's dad asked her mom to marry him, and the family officially became a unit in September 2017.

David Eason Jenelle Evans
Jared Siskin / Contributor via Getty Images

When Jenelle resumed recording Teen Moms 2 (TM2), she and David's relationship was put on blast. They soon became tabloid news, whether they were ready or not. Around this time, Barbara Evans gained permanent custody of Jace, which altered Jenelle's relationship with her mother more than they ever could have imagined. 

She Wanted to Tell Her Own Story

Jenelle had enough of others telling her story, so she began to write her own. In 2017, Evans published her book, Read Between the Lines: From the Diary of a Teenage Mom. The memoir shared her experiences of having an overbearing mother, siblings that she considered crazy, and a careless father, all from her childhood diary.

Read Between The Lines
Instagram via @j_evans1219

The original pages of Evans's story were written before cameras became a part of her daily life. The raw and emotional stories gave insight into how Jenelle came to be as a young teenager. The book now sells on Amazon for about $21, among other stores.

Rise and Fall of JE Cosmetics

Later in 2017, Jenelle branched out from her book into cosmetics. In fact, she started her own makeup line, JE Cosmetics. According to In Touch Magazine, her Universal Eyebrow Kit was released during New York Fashion Week and was stunted a success. After the event gala launch, negative news spread about the makeup's production. 

JE Cosmetics Company Fail
Instagram via @j_evans1219

In response, Jenelle posted on Insta, "Due to the issues with the other company we were working with, we have decided to cut ties. We are sorry for anyone not happy with their kits." The JE Cosmetics website has since been deactivated, and the company Instagram hasn't been active since April 2019.

Barbara Threatened TM2 Cast

After staying on the DL for a couple of years, Jenelle was caught on an Instagram live show when her mom, Barbara, threatened one of the Teen Mom 2 cast members, Kailyn Lowry. "And then we'll all get lit and we'll go kill Kail!" Barbara said in response to the chatter of getting the TM2 cast together to drink and catch up. 

Barbara Evans Threaten Cast
KeithJMA/Star Max / Contributor via Getty Images

Frightened, Lowry threatened to quit the show due to feelings of a lack of safety. She reported feeling that the TM2 production team enabled that dangerous kind of behavior. In the end, it was Evans who was fired. Lowry stayed on the show, and Jenelle’s relationship with her mother was left on rocky waters.  

The Real Reason Jenelle Was Fired From MTV

But, Barbara wasn't the only reason Jenelle was being booted. In 2019, Jenelle's removal from the show was set in stone when her husband fatally injured her dog, a french bulldog named Nugget. According to The Sun, David claimed that the dog tried to bite the couple's 2-year-old daughter's face. 

Jenelle Evans Fired MTV
Instagram via @j_evans1219

Both Jenelle and David were fired from Teen Mom 2. This drama fest caused the couple to temporarily lose custody of their daughter, Ensley, and Evans's son, Kaiser. But, before long, she won custody back in the summer of 2019. Unfortunately, it wouldn't last long.

Ripple Effect of the MTV Split

An MTV spokesperson reported in a statement: "MTV ended its relationship with David Eason over a year ago in February 2018 and has not filmed any new episodes of Teen Mom 2 with him since." It became clear to viewers of the show that there wasn't going to be a comeback from this incident for David. 

Eason Evans Fired MTV
Instagram via @j_evans1219

"Additionally, we have stopped filming with Jenelle Eason as of April 6, 2019, and have no plans to cover her story in the upcoming season," the MTV spokesperson continued. Thus, the drama-filled couple was booted off of the show for the sake of its production.

She Lost Custody of All 3 Kids

TMZ reported, in lieu of David's accident with Nugget, Jenelle temporarily lost custody of all 3 of her children. And, not for a short while either. She was without her babies for 5 total weeks. Due to her cooperation, she was granted supervised visitation of 1 hour once a week. 

Jenelle Evans Court Custody
Instagram via @j_evans1219

Knowing that every step she took was in the spotlight more than ever, Jenelle spoke out to E!News. "During this difficult time, I am focused on getting Kaiser back and cooperating with my legal team on the next steps to getting my children back," she said.

A Life Changing Procedure

Jenelle admitted to US Weekly, "I knew I was happy with the number of kids I have now," in response to questions surrounding a procedure she had. After experiencing severe sicknesses while pregnant, Evans decided to make a significant change in her life: She got her tubes tied. 

Major Surgery Jenelle Evans
Instagram via @j_evans1219

"In the long run, it was the best decision for my health and gave me a lot of answers to many problems I was experiencing," she explained. This procedure sparked the doctor's interest in a medical condition that Jenelle had no idea about. As they took a closer look, she got answers she never expected.

Diagnosed with Rare Spinal Disorder

Upon taking a closer look, Jenelle's doctors found a fluid-filled cyst in her back, confirming that she had a rare disease called Syringomyelia. Per Mayo Clinic, Syringomyelia is "The development of a fluid-filled cyst (syrinx) within your spinal cord. Over time, the cyst can enlarge, damaging your spinal cord."

Jenelle Evans Syringomyelia Disease
Instagram via @j_evans1219

Symptoms of this disease include headaches, pain in the neck, arms, and back and loss of reflexes, and muscle weakness. Jenelle had been experiencing all of this and more. She broke the news to her fans on Instagram and later on her YouTube channel in a video called "My Neck My Back."

She Filed For Divorce from David

After realizing that she couldn't handle her TV career while being associated with David, she decided to file for divorce. "The kids and I have moved away from David," she reported to TMZ. "Nobody gets into a marriage expecting it to end, but I know that's what is best for me and for my kids," she continued. 

David Jenelle Divorce Rumors
Steve Granitz / Contributor via Getty Images

While this big split may have seemed genuine initially, it didn't seem to be the story that stuck for long. In fact, the couple has been seen together on and offline many times since. And as of this year, according to E!News, Jenelle and David are still married.

"It’s Hard to be Let Go"

There's no denying that Jenelle has had trouble moving on in a private light. After her life was broadcast for all to see on 16 and Pregnant and Teen Moms 2, life on camera was what she became used to. Evans reported feeling like she was there from the beginning in several interviews and that she deserves to still be on the show.

MTV Dropped Jenelle Evans
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin / Contributor via Getty Images

She expressed to US Magazine that her feelings were hurt. After being told, "You were the original one that helped start that show," Jenelle reported her pain in being let go of something that [she's] put so much work into. But, instead of getting stuck in a rut, she grabbed her own camera and started to record.

Jenelle Launched a YouTube Channel

Jenelle wished for people to see the true her. She told US Magazine that she felt she needed to "Catch people up and show the true me and that I wasn't completely a horrible person when we stopped filming [TM2]." Thus, her YouTube channel was born to set the record straight.

Jenelle Evans YouTube Channel
YouTube via Jenelle Evans

"I decided to [share my story on YouTube] because I knew there was a big gap in between when we stopped filming up until now," Evans said. This included videos about her children, her Syringomyelia diagnosis, and more. Since then, she has racked up 193K subscribers and growing.

She Gained Traction on Instagram

Thanks to her YouTube gaining traction and Instagram gaining popularity, Jenelle began to see an increase in her number of followers. Her Instagram soon grew to include over 3,590 posts and 2.9M followers. Evan's Instagram bio reads "Producer and Influencer," along with links to her YouTube channel and TikTok.

Instagram Famous Jenelle Evans
Bruce Glikas / Contributor via Getty Images

The mom of 3 is certainly trying to keep up with the trends! Her feed is full of hundreds of photos of her family, children, dancing TikTok videos, and her kids doing all sorts of activities from eating to playing outside. Not only has the platform given her a chance to speak her mind, but to tell and show her story her way.

The Girl S#!t Podcast

When the common platforms became natural for the young mom, she launched another way to speak her mind. This time, Jenelle created and co-produced her own podcast, Girl S#!t. According to The Sun, it was made to develop a platform for conversation between diverse creators to bring up various topics and give unfiltered opinions.

Girl S#!t Podcast Evans
Ralph Notaro / Contributor via Getty Images

The show launched on April 1, 2019. But as Evans explained, "After being on TV for so long, you try to…open up and trust people and do interviews and be on a podcast…" However, when she found out that the show's producer removed one of her episodes, Jenelle admitted feeling "Back to where I can't trust anyone."

Jenelle Joined TikTok Nation

Next, Jenelle turned towards another platform that has seen skyrocketing success: TikTok. On her page, Evans posts videos of herself dancing, doing voiced-over singing, and showing off her outfits of the day. She posts and answers Q&A's and even shows snippets from her YouTube channel.

Jenelle Evans TikTok Revenue
Instagram via @j_evans1219

According to US Weekly, TikTok is how Evans makes a majority of her income currently. Which, with 1.4M followers on the platform and a name that many reality TV show lovers know, must not be a bad gig! With her YouTube channel linked in her bio, this mama's got all platforms connected. 

Jenelle's Net Worth

With so many followers and fans of her TV show appearances, social media accounts, and YouTube channel, Jenelle Evans has created a comfortable safety net for herself and her family. Adding the revenue from her short-lived cosmetics company, book, and the rest of her earnings, Evan's savings account is undoubtedly growing.

Jenelle Evans Net Worth
Instagram via @easondavid88

US Weekly reported TikTok being Evan's primary source of income at the moment. All in all, her total net worth might come as a shock to you. Which could, in part, be due to the many court-cause stints she has been intertwined with. However, several sources estimate her net worth to be about $30,000.  

Messages to Jenelle's Haters

"When people talk about my weight, I'll just keep on dancing #LoveYourself," Jenelle posted on TikTok, accompanied by a video dancing around the screen. When it comes to haters and trolls, Evans often has chosen kindness over clap-backs. In late April 2020, the young mom slipped into some lingerie to send haters a message.

Jenelle Evans Trolls Haters
Instagram via @j_evans1219

"When someone makes fun of your body…show it off," Jenelle captioned a video participating in the "red light challenge" TikTok trend. She first appeared fully clothed, then emerged with only a red-lit background showing off her silhouette. Her video made a statement that Evans was choosing confidence over negative comments.

She's Committed to Working on Her Marriage

From internet trolls commenting on her physique to voicing opinions about her marriage, Evans soon became overwhelmed with a need to update the public and set the record straight. According to her doting posts on social media, Jenelle and David's relationship has dramatically improved as of late.

David Eason Jenelle Evans
Instagram via @j_evans1219

With her Instagram page full of photos from adventurous travels, date nights, photoshoots, and family time, Jenelle opened up more and more. "A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person," she captioned an intimate photo of her and David.

Her Relationship with Mom is "Back to Square One"

While her hubby relationship improved, her relationship with her mom declined. After Jenelle announced that she had regained custody of Jace, Barbara took to the media to give her side. She revealed that her daughter had misspoken and that she still held custody of her grandson.

Barbara Jenelle Evans Relationship
Instagram via @j_evans1219

According to E!News, Jenelle sees Jace on alternative weekends and is still striving for full custody of Jace, who is now 11-years-old. Evans said, "I don't trust [my mom] anymore...it's back to square one," regarding their relationship. The court battle has gone on for 3 years, even through today. 

An Endless Custody Court Battle

There's no denying that the court battle has strained this mother-daughter relationship. Speaking about the lack of trust Evans has with her mother, she told E!News, "Right now, we're not on speaking terms...We only speak if we're picking up Jace or dropping him off." 

Court Custody Battle Evans
Instagram via @j_evans1219

She continued, "I'm keeping my distance from her right now, especially because we're going to court...I feel like our relationship might need some building again." While there is always room for improvement in relationships, many TM2 fans have been hoping for a revival of the old Evans family drama. 

Re-Watch TM2 All Over Again on Netflix

That's why so many followers of the series are thanking their lucky stars for Netflix as of late! The second season of Teen Mom 2 has officially been added to the platform. Fans can now rewatch the stories of Jenelle Evans, Chelsea Houska, and Kailyn Lowry unfold all over again. 

Teen Mom 2 Netflix
Instagram via @j_evans1219

Unfortunately, this means controversies orbiting Jenelle's life have risen yet again. Evans tweeted in defense, saying, "Let me just point out what this is from 2009, and I was only 17." While she has certainly grown up since filming, it seems she hopes fans of the show will grow with her this time around.