Longtime Teen Mom fans have waited more than a decade to see the moment where Ryan, 35, shows up for this 14-year-old son, whom he shares with Maci, 31. While it’s been a bumpy road for Ryan — one filled with multiple arrests, substance abuse issues and several stints in jail and rehab — it looks like he and Bentley are finally in a good place.
“I think as crazy as it is, because he is in jail right now, he shows up and communicates with Bentley, I think, more consistently now than he ever has, which is mind-blowing,” Maci told Us on Tuesday, July 11, ahead of the season premiere of Teen Mom: The Next Chapter season 2.
The MTV personality added: “It makes me feel good as the mom to just know that like, although Ryan made really bad decisions and is paying the consequences for them, I’m glad to see that that hasn’t stopped him from showing up or, like, calling and communicating because in the past that would’ve halted everything.”
At the time of the interview, Ryan was serving a nearly 12-month sentence stemming from a harassment charge against estranged wife Mackenzie Edwards. (He had been in jail since early April after being booked for simple possession of a controlled substance and a DUI after being found “unconscious and unresponsive” in the driver’s seat of his truck, per an arrest affidavit obtained by Us at the time.) Mackenzie — who shares son Jagger, 4, and daughter Stella, 3, with Ryan — filed for divorce in February.
As for how he was fairing behind bars, Maci noted her ex had some “rough patches just dealing with mental health [issues],” acknowledging “it’s a crazy world on the inside.” However, she wasn’t excusing the behavior that put him there in the first place. “At the same time, it’s like, yeah, but don’t do stupid s—t,” she said.
On Friday, July 14, Ryan was granted furlough to leave jail and head to an inpatient rehab program.
Maci, for her part, knows she can only control so much when it comes to coparenting with her ex, who has “a long history of inconsistency” when it comes to showing up for Bentley, Maci’s husband, Taylor McKinney, acknowledged.
“I think the difference is that through Al-Anon and therapy and just the journey that we’re on, I think that now I just know my role,” Maci explained to Us prior to Ryan’s release from jail. (Al-Anon is a supportive community for family members and friends who have a loved one with a substance abuse problem.) “I know what I can control. I know what I bring to the table. I know what I’m doing, and I feel confident in that,” she elaborated. “And so, yes, I will always be afraid that there’s that chance that it’s gonna be a disaster. But I think at the same time I’m just, like, I know what I can do and what I can’t do and … that’s all I can do, and I’m confident in that.”
Taylor, who nearly came to blows with Ryan’s dad, Larry Edwards, on an April 2021 episode of Teen Mom OG when talking about Ryan’s relationship with Bentley, told Us he was a “little skeptical” of letting Ryan back into the family’s life after years of turmoil. (In 2018, Maci was granted a two-year restraining order against Ryan after he allegedly threatened her. The order was also extended to Taylor and his two children with Maci.)
Now, Taylor told Us he’s all about “trying to find a balance between protecting Bentley and not getting in the way of him wanting to have a relationship with Ryan.”
While the Edwards family was initially fired from the show in 2021, Ryan is back for season 2 of Teen Mom: The Next Chapter — a shock for fans but a transition that has gone surprisingly smoothly for Maci and Ryan.
“Our communication is just — it’s different now. So, I feel a lot more comfortable because we are having conversations like, ‘OK, if we’re filming about this, like how do we … protect Bentley, protect his privacy with what we talk about? What we share?’ And how we talk about certain things,” she told Us. “So that just proves right there, like, just how different things are this time around.”
As for how her relationship with Ryan improved, Maci explained that “it started with Bentley and him really sharing his point of view and perspective on the influence that I have on their relationship,” Maci shared with Us, adding that the “commitments that Ryan and I made to each other as far as communicating and him being consistent as far as showing up for Bentley” were also crucial to their coparenting. “We just have stuck to the commitments. And with that then comes trust and … communication is healthier and [while] it definitely hasn’t been easy, especially with everything going on … we’re still in the going in the right direction.”
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Teen Mom: The Next Chapter season 2 premieres with back-to-back episodes on Wednesday, July 19, 8 p.m. ET on MTV.
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi