Amber Portwood picks up balloons for her daughter's birthday last month.
When Amber Portwood chose prison over court-mandated rehab in June 2012, the former "Teen Mom" cast member couldn't have possibly imagined how difficult the road ahead would be. After serving 17 months of her five-year sentence in Indiana’s Rockville Correction Center, Portwood was released November 4, and on Friday, she gave her first TV interview about the harrowing experience, sitting down with Dr. Phil to discuss how prison changed her perspective on life.
The young mother, who struggled with prescription drug abuse throughout filming "Teen Mom," revealed that she initially believed Leah "would be better off" without her, but after cleaning up behind bars, she soon came to realize how much she needed her little girl. "When I was sober, [prison] turned into hell," Amber admitted. "The worst part of being in there is missing people, and I saw [Leah] three times when I was in there."
Despite how much she struggled with loneliness, serving time ultimately allowed Amber to work on her issues. She said that learning to control her anger was a major part of her recovery that will ultimately help her become a civil co-parent with her ex, Gary. "I feel terrible for hitting him, I really do," she said in reference to the domestic violence "Teen Mom" viewers witnessed. "I love Gary with all my heart. He's an amazing person. He's sweet, he's funny, he's an amazing guy — we're just toxic together."
Her tumultuous past aside, Amber has almost two years of sobriety and anger management under her belt, and she's looking toward a bright future for herself and Leah.
"I'm clear-headed now and I just think about the consequences, and think about Leah," she said, regarding her motivation for maintaining her sobriety and trying to set a positive example.
"I have a lot of goals in life, and right now I'm really working toward my future," she shared. I want to help people. I started a new organization called Never Too Late, and it's pretty much just about how it doesn't matter where you've been or what your past is, you can always change. You can always accomplish what you want to accomplish."
Check out part of Amber's interview below:
Photo: Splash News