June "Mama June" Shannon's personal life has always sparked controversy among her fans. She lost custody of her daughter Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Shannon to her older daughter Lauryn "Pumpkin" Efird.
June Shannon and her children came into the spotlight after appearing on TLC's "Toddlers & Tiaras," followed by "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo." Even though the shows brought them unimaginable fame and media attention, they also became the lens into the family's secrets.
Shannon later starred in "Mama June: Road To Redemption" and "Mama June: From Not to Hot," which premiered in 2017. The shows also brought about their share of speculation and controversy, putting Shannon's love life in the glare of public criticism and admiration.
Mama June visits Build Series to discuss 'Mama June: From Not to Hot' at Build Studio on June 11, 2018 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images
The reality TV shows followed Shannon's love life, marking both her triumphant and not-so-successful relationships. One such romance was with Eugene "Geno" Doak, who has a rap sheet stretching years back.
However, for Shannon, having a criminal record or having served time in prison did not make him undeserving of love. The two started dating in 2017, but in 2021, news of their split made headlines.
While Shannon did not initially give a reason for the breakup, it came after Geno's 16-month sentence in Alabama. Outside the courts, Shannon told Geno that they were too toxic for each other.
She said they needed to part ways, asking him not to bash her on social media. The TV personality then jumped into her car and drove off to see her grandchild.
The two had dated for six years, and the relationship seemed solid. Even though they were never officially engaged, Geno had gone down on one knee and given Shannon a promise ring.
Following the split, Shannon told her daughter, Lauryn, that she would take advantage of the time away to discover herself, but her daughter did not seem to believe her. Lauryn also threw jabs at her mother for making TikTok videos with several different men.
SHANNON'S SECRET WEDDING
Shannon disclosed to Hollywood Life that she met her now-husband Justin Stroud on TikTok, and despite being on the screens for years, she was surprised he did not know who she was or that she was famous. She explained:
"We became friends originally, and he didn't know who Mama June was when he met me."
The connection was a pleasant surprise for them both, and contrary to reports that Shannon had earlier received, she turned out to be Stroud's type.
The two hit it off immediately and seemed sure they were destined for each other. Only five months into dating, rumors became rife that they got engaged after photos surfaced of them shopping for rings in March.
The Sun reported that the two had been spotted at a Kay Jewelers at The Auburn Mall in Auburn, Alabama. The "Mama June: From Not to Hot" star sported a smiling face as she looked at the jewelry on display and even tried out a ring. Stroud then leaned in to look at the piece that had caught his lover's eye.
The lovebirds reportedly exchanged vows in a courthouse ceremony in Georgia. However, more than just Stroud's love for Shannon, he has also won over her family, who has fully embraced him.
While Shannon and her eldest daughter have not been seeing eye to eye for years, it appears she has also taken a liking to Stroud. Shannon shared:
"The girls were at first standoffish with him. Me being in a toxic situation and me being in drug addiction, and then getting out of that relationship, even though I got clean in the relationship."
Shannon's past relationship had placed her daughters in a difficult position with her love interests, and it was jarring at first, but Stroud has changed that. Shannon said in that interview, as Hollywood Life reports:
"They all get along now, I mean, he's been on a couple of family adventures with us, and we hang out as a family. You know, they don't have a problem with him."
While the wedding was only speculation initially, Shannon confirmed that they married during the 6-month anniversary on an Instagram video.
Mama June (L) and daughter, Honey Boo Boo, visit "Extra" on April 5, 2017 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images
During the video, Shannon gushed over her new husband, saying he understood her and everything she endured in her previous relationships. People magazine reports her to have said:
"I've been able to share stuff with him that I've never been able to share with other people — not even my kids, so it's really nice to have that partnership."
CUSTODY BATTLE FOR HONEY BOO BOO
Reality TV star Mama June and Honey Boo are seen leaving AOL Live in Soho on June 11, 2018 in New York City | Source: Getty Images
In an ensuing custody battle over her child Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson, 16, the courts awarded Shannon's other daughter, Lauryn "Pumpkin" Shannon, custody. In the court order issued in April 2022, the presiding judge gave Lauryn guardianship over her little sister, stating it was in the child's best interest. The order also included a demand for Shannon to pay $800 in monthly support until Alana turned 18.
Following the court order, Lauryn now stands to make all decisions concerning Alana and the discretion to allow any visitation from Shannon. The custody case followed Shannon's substance abuse struggle.
LAURYN RECENTLY DELIVERED TWINS
Alana is now one of the five children under the sole guardianship of Lauryn and her husband, Josh Efird. In addition to caring for their 4-year-old daughter, Ella, and 11-month-old son, Bentley, they are also parents to newborn twins.
In April, TMZ reported that the 22-year-old Lauryn was expecting twins and was due around June 18. The couple welcomed the double bundle of joy a month earlier, on May 19.
Lauryn delivered her babies through C-section and returned home with her boy and girl only days later, happy and healthy. An insider told The Sun:
"Mom and babies are happy and healthy, and Josh is elated that the babies are finally here."