Most of us are familiar with MTV's 16 and Pregnant but as with any reality TV show, what many of us don't know about is everything that went on behind the scenes. The producers quickly found out that with a show such as this, rules would need to be put in place if only for the sake of the cast — who were all underage, by the way. Believe it or not, the show was created in an effort to shed light on teenage pregnancy. It wasn't created to produce fans out of a hardship that so many teens face but, of course, its fanbase grew almost overnight.
Between rules declared by the parents of these young teens to the rules that MTV itself had made perfectly clear to the cast, there were plenty of things that viewers didn't get to see first-hand.
While the cameras followed the lives of teens during each season, they were also involved in the cast's life as well as their personal struggles and successes. Despite the rules, the producers and crew grew to form real relationships with these teens. In an effort to preserve the trust-building and momentum of the show, the cast was required to go the extra mile and was expected to meet certain expectations. They weren't easy to find, but we managed to find the things that truly gave the show structure and allowed the US a glimpse into the honest life of teenage parents.
20 The First Rule Was Actually Put In Place By Tyler Baltierra's Mom
According to Insider, Tyler Baltierra's mom, Kim, had some hard and fast rules, herself. The filming curfew for both Tyler and Catelynn was put in place by her, as she knew both teens still needed to complete their schoolwork and ultimately graduate high school. This was a goal that they were both able to achieve and it was likely due to the fact that they could only film between the hours of 4pm and 8pm. The producers respected and even encouraged these boundaries, because they, too, wanted the cast to succeed despite what curveball had been thrown at them.
19 It's Been Rumored That Some Of The Cast Had Scripted Lines To Follow
While this is something that still has not been able to be confirmed by multiple sources, it's rumored that the cast wasn't completely original when it came to their dialogue. A former cameraman supposedly took to Reddit to reveal what truly happened on the show and fans were floored to hear that some of the lines might have even been fed to the cast.
While we do expect some level of padded drama from a reality TV show, one that's about teen pregnancy really needs no embellishment. If the source is ever confirmed, it would lower the authenticity of the show drastically — but it appears that the cast had no choice but to go with it.
18 The Film Crew Does Need To Report Incidents To The Police
Some show will allow their cast members to go wild when it comes to what's filmed and what's not, but 16 and Pregnant followed a slightly different code. The major game changer was the fact that there were underage teens involved as well as infants (eventually), which meant that the camera crew needed to take extra care when it came to what was aired. Anything that was even slightly incidental would fall back on MTV and their reputation, which is why the crew was given permission to report any incidents they observed. It was a rule that they were required to report something if the safety of the child was at stake.
17 There Was A Zero-Involvement Policy Between Cast And Camera Crew
While this rule contradicts what was rumored on Reddit quite a bit, it has been confirmed that the crew was not allowed to help or mentor the teenage parents on 16 and Pregnant. No matter how tough things got or how much they struggled, there was a zero involvement policy when it came to personal relationships. The crew was permitted to befriend the cast, but the involvement stopped there. Anything that would change the outcome or direction of the show was forbidden, as the crew was simply there to capture moments — not to create them. Whether or not this ever changed remains to be seen.
16 The Cast Was Required To Have Security Detail
Just as with any other reality TV show, the crew got quite a hefty reputation. Fans quickly decided who was their favorite and who they'd root against, and this wasn't limited to viewing at home. The cast would soon be recognized outside of their homes and it's because of this that MTV assigned security to the cast members. Aside from the fact that they were underage, it was also the babies of the parents that they were protecting, too. From the show, it doesn't seem as though there's any type of security measures put in place, but you'd be surprised.
15 Moms Needed To Act Surprised Over Their Positive Pregnancy Tests
One thing that was undoubtedly scripted on the show were the reactions to being pregnant. Some of the cast members may have even acted surprised over other things they were 'just finding out' about, but we'd never know it by viewing the show at home. This was obviously to entice viewers and make them feel as though they were part of the big news, too, and it worked — the show was an instant success overnight. Even though 16 and Pregnant is a reality TV show, the cast was required to have a certain level of acting talent in order to sell it just like any other show on a major network.
14 The Cast Had No Say In What Was Edited In Or Out, Including Negative Scenes
Sadly, the cast often did not know what was going into the show until after it had already aired or was edited. This caused controversy among the cast members as well as their families, who were sometimes made out to look far more critical and unaccepting than they were. Many times, moms would complain about scenes that were only partially explained or edited to appear rough when in reality, the issue at hand was nothing as it appeared on TV. Many of the cast member's families took issue with the fact that they were portrayed in a certain way because fans only got half of the story.
13 Teens Were Not Mandated To Remain On The Show, Especially Being Underage
There were no contracts to lock these teens into years of filming on the show. Their age was a huge factor in this as, obviously, they were not legally old enough to act like adults in the situation. If the show proved to be too much or if they were unsatisfied with their show presence, the teens were permitted to leave. In fact, some of them did opt out of the spotlight for good, claiming it just wasn't for them. What a young parent wants at the tender age of 16 can definitely change from what they want at 18 or 19, and some of them realized this earlier rather than later.
12 They Needed To Remain Truthful To Their Stories, For A Good Reason
The purpose of the show started out as a warning and a message to teens nationwide: Becoming pregnant as a teenager is challenging, difficult, and often happens when you're not ready or prepared for it. This remained the intent of the show even as it accumulated more drama with each ongoing season. In order to bolster this message, the cast was required to be completely truthful about everything they went through. Their personal stories and personal accounts of struggle were what made the show so honest and raw. It's these stories that fans couldn't get enough of and also what informed many teens about the truth behind teenage pregnancy.
11 There Was A Bit Of A Double Standard When It Came To Cast Member Futures
This became obvious in the case of Farrah Abraham, who decided that she would move on from 16 and Pregnant and eventually move on from Teen Mom, too. Her future job was a little less than appropriate when it came to her role as a mom on both shows and MTV took up an issue with this.
In one episode of the latter show, one of the producers actually went to her house to discuss the future of her path with MTV. She refused to give up the adult work that she'd gotten involved in and because of this, MTV cut all ties with her. From one film path to another, the girls were not all innocent when it came to their futures post-pregnancy.
10 There Was Controversy Over Their Pay, But They Were Only Teens
Without knowing if the show would be successful, the cast was initially not paid much. While Insider reports that the current cast of Teen Mom likely makes a six-figure salary, it was not like that in the early days of 16 and Pregnant. The cast was simply paid by the episode but really, when you're a teen, any money that's coming in is great money. At a later point, it was reported that even their children were getting paid for their appearances on the show, but it's unclear just how much. Amber Portwood was the first mom to be asked to be on the show and MTV did it by sending her a tape recorder and a check for $100, according to an interview with Cosmopolitan.
9 The Producers Were Allowed To Have Personal Friendships With Cast Members
The difference is that while the crew was permitted to be friends with the cast, they were absolute and in no way allowed to provide their input or parenting advice. They were instructed to keep the cameras rolling and capture whatever was going on unless it was behavior that legally needed to be reported. The show was intended to be as raw and realistic as possible and this meant, unfortunately, no guidance from the crew members. So while the cast did grow very close with the camera crew, they weren't allowed to interact outside of their friendship and work relationship.
8 The Crew Was Not Permitted To Help Moms In Any Way, Despite Their Close Relationship
No matter how tough things got, the camera crew was restricted from becoming involved. According to Insider, this was the most challenging when it came to 'controversial' parenting methods, which the crew had no say in. All they were required to do was film, regardless of whether their moral compass pointed them in that direction or not. An anonymous source for Insider was quoted about the rule, saying, "It's not illegal to yell or scream at your kids, so even if we don't agree with how [a cast member] is parenting, we cannot call the cops for something like that."
7 One Mom Did Get The Boot For Breaking The Rules
It's no secret that Farrah Abraham was given the boot from Teen Mom, and it seems that people either live for the drama surrounding or despise it. Whether or not you're pro-Farrah, there's no denying that her choices during the filming of Teen Mom were less than, well, matronly. Regardless of this, she finds strength in her choice to be part of the risky entertainment business and concluded her time with Teen Mom by saying she was empowered and that "only God can judge her." This conflict of interest was the last straw for MTV, who called it quits with her role on the show, despite Abraham's claims that they were self-righteous and power-tripping.
6 In The Case Of Catelynn And Tyler, Their Adopting Family Couldn't Be Forced Onto The Show
One story that everyone followed and loved was Tyler and Catelynn's, the couple who was truly in love and is still together to this day. Their hardest decision on the show came when it was time to say goodbye to their daughter, who they'd decided pre-16 and Pregnant would be getting adopted. They signed onto the show to portray what that's really like and their goal was to include their daughter's adoptive parents as well, but they had zero interest. While this angered the couple, there was nothing they could do — the rules state that they had no legal right to bring the adoptive parents onto the show with them.
5 The Girls Were Allowed To Discuss Their Experiences Openly
Let's face it: Pregnancy is a beautiful thing but it's not the most glamorous. This was a side that 16 and Pregnant showed off particularly well, especially when it came to life as a pregnant teenage girl. The moms-to-be were absolutely required to be 100% honest when it came to their experiences because it's this side that fans would witness and cling to. The show was not intended to make the life of a teenage parent seem idealistic or fun, it was intended to show off what it's really like. With the help of the moms, this goal was achieved and finally the world had an idea of what teens really go through.
4 Preventing The Issue Of Teenage Pregnancy Was Encouraged By Both Cast And Producers
While choosing the life of a teenage parent was a tough one for many faced with the decision, this doesn't mean that they encouraged others to do it. Many moms broke down and admitted how challenging it was, especially when their families were against them in some way. For Tyler and Catelynn, the decision to put their baby up for adoption was one that tested them both mentally and emotionally. The strength it takes to go through motherhood at an age that teaches you nothing about being a parent is a struggle, and this is exactly what both the producers and cast told the world about.
3 Farrah, In Particular, Had A Tragic Tale That She Was Directed To Be Honest About
The executive producer of the show, Larry Musnik, was quoted as saying, "Our show is a cautionary tale, presented without judgment, of what it’s like for each one of these people." It's this reality that was far too much for one mom, Farrah Abraham, as she struggled with the loss of her boyfriend and father of her daughter. After a tragic car accident, Abraham was left to raise her daughter while also facing the challenge of teaching her about something no child should have to deal with. This was captured on the show and nothing was held back, as the cast was instructed to simply feel whatever they feel. Today, the two are happy, healthy, and her daughter seems to be following in mom's footsteps.
2 All Grown Up: There Were No Limitations Put On Their Continuing Fame
As long as their future paths didn't interfere with or cause trouble for 16 and Pregnant, once their season was over or the moms decided to leave, they were free to do what they wanted. There were no contingency plans for them to sign their lives away to MTV, as they were on the show to serve as a real-life portrayal of teenage pregnancy. While some of them did decide to stick around, some of them went on with their lives to finish school, begin new jobs, or to embrace their role as a new, full-time parent. For some, 16 and Pregnant would only be part of their life, not the whole picture.
1 Not Every Mom Had The Option To Be On Teen Mom Afterward
Those who did decide to stay with MTV and be cast on the show Teen Mom found that their fame would continue. The show was intended to be a filler on the channel to satisfy fans while 16 and Pregnant took a break from airing new episodes, but the show exploded and became far more successful than they'd initially anticipated. It follows the lives of a group of moms post their high school days as they navigate life through adulthood, as well as motherhood. The one star who signed off the show early was Farrah Abraham, who chose her own path rather than the one that MTV had paved for her.