Leah Messer has lived quite a full life, and all by the age of 27. The Teen Mom 2 star is documenting her complicated life in her new memoir, Hope, Grace & Faith. In the book, she gets candid about her struggles with opioid addiction, her failed marriages, contemplating suicide, and a secret abortion that she told MTV viewers was actually a miscarriage.
ET's Ash Crossan spoke with Leah via video chat about the book and her decision to come clean about her past. As to why she decided to open up about her suicidal thoughts, Leah is clear, sharing, "I don't want anyone else to feel alone. I don't want anyone else to feel ashamed of their story. So I was like, I get to speak up. I get to use my voice. I get to speak my truth... If I can save one life from addiction, one life from suicide, that's where my heart is."
It was her thoughts about suicide that led Leah to understand that she needed to seek help with her ongoing struggle with opioid addiction. Fans of Teen Mom 2 saw the reality star struggle with pills on-camera as she often fought to keep her eyes open while filming.
"When I wanted to commit suicide, that's when I realized there was an underlying issue," Leah says of her decision to seek treatment. "Being suicidal and wanting to take my life and leave my girls without a mom is what led me to seek... you know, I needed help. And that was OK. And it was OK."
Leah notes that her management team and MTV both stepped in to help intervene with the struggling star.
"I look back at that footage, and I draw blanks," she says of the episodes of Teen Mom 2 where she was under the influence. "I draw blanks to the period of my life, because it doesn't seem like that was... it doesn't even... I look at it and I'm like, was that really me? Was I really nodding off? Like, was I really under that much medication? It didn't even dawn on me until I was finally like, I don't even want to live anymore. I'm not worth, like, my life is not worth living. And then it was like, my management and MTV stepped in."
Leah adds that one of her downfalls was that she thought she could recover "all on my own," noting she feels like there is a "stigma" in asking for treatment.
One controversial topic the book covers is Leah's decision to get a secret abortion when she was dating her now ex-husband, Jeremy Calvert. On Teen Mom 2, the abortion was portrayed as a tragic miscarriage, when, in fact, Leah admits in her book she got the abortion because she was still hung up on her first husband, Corey Simms, and knew that having a child with another man would be the end of any chance of a future with him.
"I don't regret any decision that I've made because it has made me the person that I am today," Leah tells ET. "Had I been who I am today, maybe I wouldn't have made that decision. I don't choose to dwell in that period of my life. Where I didn't own my story. Where I didn't own my truth. Where I felt unworthy of love."
The reality star knows that a lot of her fans "felt disappointed" by the cover-up, and she adds, "That's the last thing I would want anyone to feel that supports me and my journey."
Leah shares twin daughters Aleeah and Aliannah, 10, with Corey, and daughter Adalynn, 7, with Jeremy.
The MTV star is currently single and on good terms with both of her exes.
"I've definitely learned, as far as codependent relationships, being OK with just me," she says. "And loving myself. And being alone. You know, that's OK. And being that role model for my girls. I always said if there's one thing, I wanted to give my kids the life I didn't have. And I'm doing that."
Leah also reveals that at least one full episode of the MTV series will be filmed while the girls are in isolation from the coronavirus outbreak with their families. A big concern for Leah is her daughter, Ali, who suffers from a variety of health issues and has a compromised immune system.
"They actually have been separated from their dad for a little while because he's still working in the public," Leah explains of Corey. "We did a couple drive-bys. So we definitely let them get out and see their dad, but they're missing their family on that side."