What Really Happened While Making ‘Honey Boo Boo’

by 5:40 PM PDT, October 31, 2014
Playing What Really Happened While Making ‘Honey Boo Boo’

In ET’s exclusive interview, Anna Marie Cardwell -- aka "Chickadee" -- opens up about the reality of making TLC’s hit show Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and how the show took its toll on her family, especially its youngest star, Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson.

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"[Alana] was OK with people wanting to take pictures with her when it first started," Cardwell says. "Now when somebody takes a picture, she looks at them like, why do you want to take a picture of me? Can you leave me alone?"

The rigors of reality television didn't just affect the show's young star. The show's pursuit of a family dynamic meant Cardwell had to reestablish a relationship with her estranged mother, June "Mama June" Shannon.

After Shannon's ex-boyfriend Mark McDaniel, who Cardwell says molested her at age 8, was arrested and sent to prison, Cardwell lived primarily with her maternal grandmother for years. She claims Shannon coerced her to return to the family’s house before the show began filming.

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"I was dating a guy at the time and pregnant by him," Cardwell told ET. "He didn’t want me to leave because Mama promised me and him a house. But she said, you have to do this [show] for about a year. I was like, okay, that’s fine, and it ended up being two and a half years."