Honey Boo Boo: Toddler in a Tiara to Teenage Reality Star

These days, reality television has become incredibly successful. Perhaps it’s because there is something for everyone: Learn how to model on America’s Next Top Model, sing on American Idol, test your business skills on The Apprentice, or find love on The Bachelor. The choices are endless, but appearing on one of these shows can be your big break. Take the Kardashians, for example, or the One Direction boys who started on X-Factor. Another reality star sensation is Alana Thompson, also known as Honey Boo Boo.

Alana in full pageant dress, hair, and makeup at the young age of 5/ Alana
Source: Reddit/ Photo by Slaven Vlasic, Getty Images

The sassy 5-year-old made her reality show debut on Toddlers & Tiaras and was immediately a fan favorite. Many people thought the excitement surrounding her would wear off, and so would her 15 minutes of fame. However, she was so popular that TLC created a reality show focused on the pageant queen and her family called, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. It followed the youngster navigating the world of pageantry, but the focus quickly shifted to the rest of the family. Like everyone in the public eye, there is a lot of controversy surrounding the family, but one specific scandal got the show canceled.

A Reality Star

Honey Boo Boo went on to appear on even more reality shows. She was featured on her mother’s reality show, Mama June: From Hot to Not, where her mother lost an impressive amount of weight. She also starred on Dancing With the Stars Jr., and fans were so excited to see her on stage performing again.

Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images

Growing up in the public eye comes with criticism, backlash, and haters. Sadly, the children aren’t excused from the trolls, and Honey Boo Boo has been a victim of cyberbullying. Whether it’s her spunky stage presence or her wacky family, people can’t seem to get enough of Honey Boo Boo.

Here is a deep dive into the crazy family drama that you didn’t get to see on television.

Just a Toddler in a Tiara

With a perfect pageant smile, natural stage presence, and her love for chicken nuggets, Honey Boo Boo was America’s sweetheart. She made her reality television debut on Toddlers in Tiaras accompanied by her stage mom, Mama June.

Alana 'Honey Boo Boo' Thompson and her mother June Shannon standing on a throne as Alana is crowned “Little Miss Extra.”
Photo by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images

She won viewers’ hearts with her sassy attitude and, since then, she has become a household name with her own reality show, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. With her significant role in pop culture, Honey Boo Boo seems to have it all: pretty dresses, fame, money, and a goofy family. However, her life isn’t as glamorous as it seems. There are some dark secrets in the world of this pageant queen.

Season One Controversy

When we first saw Honey Boo Boo on screen, there was no denying how entertaining she was. This girl was seriously reality show gold. However, fans were outraged to see that her high energy came from her special drink called “Go-Go Juice.” Mama June would give her this concoction of Mountain Dew and Red Bull to hype her up before she went on stage.

Little Honey Boo Boo is scarfing down some “Go-Go Juice.”
Source: TLC

But things got even worse in Season One of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo when a video was leaked of 6-year-old Alana Thompson dancing on a college bar for money. This is extremely inappropriate on so many levels, and the Georgia Division of Family and Children’s Services got involved. After an investigation, the case was eventually dropped.

Mama June’s Sketchy Past

Reality show lovers all over America couldn’t get enough of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and all the drama that came along with it. But it gave viewers an inside look at the Thompson family and all the skeletons in their closet. In fact, Mama June had quite the past.

TV Personality June Shannon attends the
Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage/Getty Images

In 2008, the stage mom spent time behind bars after missing a total of $634 in child support payments. She was only required to spend four days in jail at the time, but she was facing even more, jail time if she did not come up with all the money she owed.

Sugar Bear Isn’t So Sweet

Alana’s father, Mike “Sugar Bear” Thompson, is the comic relief of the family. He is quiet, comes off as passive, and doesn’t really say much, but when he does open his mouth, he’s usually making some hilarious comment. However, Sugar Bear isn’t as innocent as he seems; he actually served five years in prison.

Mike Thompson and June Shannon visit
Photo by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images

His jail time was more than a decade before the show aired, but fans still didn’t appreciate watching a criminal get all this attention on television, especially after the crimes he committed. In 1998, Sugar Bear’s true colors came out when he allegedly stole from various campsites and even set one unlucky camper on fire!

Sisters From Different Misters

Although Alana was the star of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, the hilarious show was made up of the non-beauty pageant members of the Thompson/Shannon/Cardwell family too. The reality show wouldn’t have been the same without Jessica “Chubbs” Shannon, Lauryn “Pumpkin” Shannon, and Anna “Chickadee” Cardwell.

Alana and her family are sitting on the front stoop of their home, looking all disheveled.
Source: TLC

The sisters seem pretty similar on TV, but they are very different in real life. Sure, they all like cheese balls and have goofy, silly personalities. But every single one of them has a different father. Believe it not; Mama June got around…

No More Girl Scout Cookies!

It’s not uncommon for celebrities to use the “do you know who I am?” card to their advantage. Who can blame them? Their status can certainly help them get what they want, and it’s no different when it comes to Honey Boo Boo. While filming the show, Alana joined the Georgia Girl Scouts and helped sell their famous cookies.

Alana is carrying more cookie boxes than she can handle.
Source: TLC

But after she went on social media and urged her fan and followers to buy the delicious treats, she was banned from selling cookies. She wasn’t allowed to sell the Thin Mints, Do-Si-Dos, the Tagalongs, or the Chewy Samoas anymore. Awkward… She was only trying to help…

Season Two Was Nearly Canceled

As we mentioned, Season One nearly came to an abrupt end thanks to a visit from the Georgia Division of Family and Children’s Services. But Season Two was almost canceled as well.

A selfie of Alena and her sister Lauryn “Pumpkin” Shannon laughing together.
Source: Instagram/@Honeybooboo

When cameras started rolling at the Honey Boo Boo household, the family had to rush to the hospital. Why? Because Pumpkin was almost blinded. Apparently, Sugar Bear innocently threw her his car keys, but she didn’t catch them. Instead, they hit her eye and scratched her cornea. Luckily, it missed her eyeball, but not by a lot.

Mama June Is Legally blind

If you have kept up with every episode of Honey Boo Boo, chances are you have heard Mama June make comments about her lack of eyesight. What you probably didn’t know, however, is that she is legally blind. It was confirmed that as a child, Mama June contracted cataracts, but her eyes were never operated on, and the condition was never treated.

TV personality June
Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Unfortunately, Mama June has struggled with her sight ever since. At this point, corrective surgery would only make her eyesight worse. Because of the circumstances, Mama June has no choice but to deal with her poor vision. She won’t have a driver’s license for the rest of her life.

“Chickadee” Sued Her Mama

It’s obvious that Honey Boo Boo is the favorite in the Thompson household. But once the reality show aired, it’s fair to say that many people tuned in to watch the shaky and dramatic relationship between Mama June and her oldest daughter, Anna (“Chickadee”).

Anna Cardwell and her husband.
Source: Reddit

From the beginning, things were tense between Mama June and Chickadee, and the firstborn only agreed to move back home with her family and appear on the show if she was heavily compensated. As you can imagine, the money never materialized. Anna ended up suing her mother for $300,000! Ultimately, Mama June gave her $15,400.

Parenting Scandal

Sadly, this wasn’t the only time Chickadee felt like her mom didn’t have her best interest at heart. On Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, Mama June comes across as a caring and loving mother- despite how crazy she seems. But that wasn’t exactly the case, especially when she was younger.

June Shanon and her husband Mike on the back of an ATV in camouflage clothing.
Source: Facebook

The National Enquirer reported that Mama June abandoned Chickadee as a baby so that she could run off with a boyfriend. After this irresponsible incident, Chickadee’s grandmother, Sandra Hale, was given sole custody of the youngster. Custody wasn’t returned to Mama June until after filming Here Comes Honey Boo Boo started.

A Dollar Makes Her Holler

If you’re a Honey Boo Boo fan, you have probably heard the phrase “A dollar makes me holler” once or twice. But did you ever wonder where exactly this term comes from? It appears as though the saying stemmed from the amazing paychecks the family was getting from TLC.

Alana in full pageant dress, hair, and makeup at the young age of 5.
Source: Reddit

After the first season of Here Comes, Honey Boo Boo was a huge success, and the network decided to give the family a well-deserved raise. They were making an amazing $50,000 an episode! Needless to say, the once struggling family was not complaining about their new-found cash.

Watch Out, Kardashians

Honey Boo Boo and her family were so popular that it even scared one of the biggest reality TV families – the Kardashians. Reportedly, Kris Jenner was scared that Mama June and her family would take their top spot, especially when more seasons of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo were commissioned by TLC.

The entire family of Honey Boo Boo standing in front of their house on Halloween dressed up as the Kardashian family.
Source: TLC

Lucky for the Kardashians, they aren’t as dysfunctional as Honey Boo Boo and her family. When their on-screen drama poured over into real life, the reality series was canceled for good. Despite the show’s success while it was airing, it didn’t steal the reality TV crown from Kris.

Two Thumbs Up

As we all watched Alana Thompson and her Honey Boo Boo persona take over our television screens, the little quirks and even strange family tendencies have proved to be extremely unusual. They aren’t like the rest of us, to say the least.

Anna’s newborn daughter being held, she has her hand to her face, and you can see her thumb mutation.
Source: Facebook

With all the family drama going on, fans were pleased to hear that Anna (“Chickadee”) was pregnant at just 17 years old. All fans wanted was for Anna to welcome a happy and healthy bundle of joy into the world. But they were a little taken aback when Kaitlyn was born with two thumbs.

Uncle Poodle’s Skeletons

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo mainly focuses on the women in Alana Thompson’s life. But that doesn’t mean that the male figures in her life don’t make an appearance once in a while. One of the smaller cast members is Uncle Poodle, who actually chose Honey Boo Boo’s name.

Alana and her uncle Lee Thompson on stage during a beauty pageant.
Source: Pinterest

Throughout the show, Uncle Poodle clarifies that he is part of the LGBT community, but in 2012, he received terrible news when he found out that he was HIV positive. After discovering this life-changing diagnosis, he pressed charges against his ex-boyfriend, who hid his own diagnosis from him.

Coming to an Abrupt and Drastic End

Initially, TLC intended for Here Comes Honey Boo Boo to be a long-term reality show. However, in 2014, filming came to an abrupt end, and the family drama was a huge part of the reason. The news came out about how Mama June got back with an ex-boyfriend, Mark McDaniel, who was convicted for inappropriate behavior toward an 8-year-old child back in 2004.

Mama June spotted with Mark McDaniel.
Source: Twitter

Mama June firmly denied these claims. But things quickly took a huge turn for the worst when Anna “Chickadee” confirmed that she was the child in question. Because of the circumstances, TLC decided it would be best to cancel the show.

Not Everyone’s a Fan

When Here Comes to Honey Boo Boo first hit our screens, it engrossed an incredible 2.2 million watchers, and the number only continued to grow. But it’s fair to say that some people didn’t understand the public fascination with the family and the show’s entertainment value.

Alana and her family having a lively dissolution as part of an interview.
Source: Reddit

Even Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine famously stated that Here Comes Honey Boo Boo represents what he referred to as the “decay of Western civilization.” He also expressed his opinion about how he thinks that the way Mama June treats her daughter is “despicable.”

Unhealthy Lifestyle

It doesn’t really come as a surprise to learn that the family doesn’t lead the healthiest lifestyles. With their “Go-Go Juice,” TV dinners, and even dunking pacifiers in Mountain Dew, it’s safe to say health isn’t at the top of the family’s priority list. We have even watched them eat microwaved pizza covered in butter and ketchup.

The entire family is sitting outside at the Thanksgiving table.
Source: TLC

We can’t see a full picture of their nutritional consumption on TV, but a source close to the family discussed their diet with The National Enquirer, and it’s not great. The source revealed that for breakfast, instead of cereal, Alana would usually eat cheese puffs. She would also reportedly “brag about how they cook roadkill for meals.”

The New and Improved Mama June

Despite the cancellation of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, Mama June and her family still managed to stay in the limelight. Even though she got her family’s reality show, Mama June landed her own television show called Mama June: From Not to Hot.

Alana Thompson and June Shannon attend the
Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images

The show takes us on her weight loss journey and her aspirations of becoming the next big name in the adult pageant world. In 2017, the hopeful pageant queen showed off her unbelievable 300-pound weight loss, and the world was stunned at her amazing transformation. But not everyone was convinced…

Haters Gonna Hate

If you’re in the limelight, you can’t avoid the haters, but when Mama June revealed her impressive, slimmed-down body on Mama June: From Hot to Not, she didn’t accept the hate that followed. Fans couldn’t deny that she had lost weight, it was the show and her reliability that people didn’t trust.

June Shannon post weight loss smiling to the camera.
Source: TLC

In fact, many folks believed that she was wearing a fat suit on set in order to make her weight loss seem even more dramatic. According to the critics, the fat suit and prosthetics could be seen peeling off at several points throughout the show.

Inspiring Her Daughters

Incredibly, Mama June’s staggering weight loss transformation not only impressed her fans but motivated her daughters Alana and Pumpkin. In fact, even Honey Boo Boo shed a few pounds after being inspired by her mama.

Pumpkin is showing off her weight loss while endorsing a weight loss drink brand.
Source: Instagram/@annamarie35

Thanks to her mother’s lifestyle changes that include diet and exercise, her daughter jumped on the bandwagon and started losing some of her own weight. In 2017, Mama June claimed Alana “lost about seven pounds” and Pumpkin “lost about four.” It goes to show that healthy lifestyle habits begin at home.

Who Is Jennifer Lamb?

Honey Boo Boo fans everywhere were heartbroken when news broke that Mama June and Sugar Bear called it quits. But it didn’t take him a long time to find another woman named Jennifer Lamb. Lamb soon became a huge part of Alana’s life – to her mother’s dismay.

Jennifer Lamb and Sugar Bear in their home.
Source: Facebook

As Sugar Bear’s relationship with Lamb was growing, the next natural step was for her to finally meet the star of his family, Honey Boo Boo. They chose to do so behind Mama June’s back, but like most lies, she eventually found out, and let’s just say she was not happy about it.

Mama June vs. Jennifer Lamb

It should come as no surprise to find out that Mama June and Jennifer Lamb didn’t exactly get along very well, and they didn’t try to hide it either. After her weight loss transformation and trying to encourage her daughter to follow, Mama June seemed to be on a wonderful path.

Alana and her mother are sitting on the couch.
Source: WE!

However, Jennifer didn’t like that Mama June was trying to force her diet on Alana. So, what did she do? Sabotage Mama June’s efforts. Whenever Honey Boo Boo would want unhealthy snacks, Lamb gave them to her behind her mother’s back.

Jennifer Lamb and Sugar Bear tied the knot in 2017 and are currently still married.

Trust Fund Kid

Okay, let’s be real; trust fund kids are extremely lucky. I mean, my life would be a whole lot easier if I had money in an account waiting for me. Usually, it’s not a lifetime supply of money but enough for college, or maybe it’s saved for a rainy day.

A young Honey Boo Boo in full pageant attire, looking directly at the camera from behind her sunglasses.
Source Twitter

But Honey Boo Boo has a pretty impressive trust fund. That’s right. Mama June decided that she would take her daughter’s TLC money and put it in a trust fund for her, which was a great idea. The exact amount is unclear, but with Alana making between $15,000 and $20,000 per episode, it’s safe to say she will be comfortable when she turns 21 and gains access to the fund.

Off the Air

Despite his devastating diagnosis, Uncle Poodle has tried to maintain a happy and healthy lifestyle. He even walked down the aisle with Alan Stevenson in 2015. Their special day was filmed by the TLC crew who film the family’s reality show.

Uncle Poodle is warping his arms around his husband Alan on the family’s front porch steps.
Source: Facebook

If you’re wondering why you didn’t see it, don’t worry, you didn’t miss it. The network couldn’t air the end product. Apparently, Mama June celebrated a little too hard, and her behavior was inappropriate for television. I really want to see the footage now! How bad could it be?

The Prodigal Child

Over the years, the Shannon family has certainly made a name for themselves, and, unfortunately, it’s not always for positive reasons. That’s why, in 2015, Mama June knew she had to brag when her daughter Chubbs became the first member of the family to graduate high school!

The whole Thompson/Shannon family at Chubb’s graduation.
Source: Facebook

The proud mom was even more delighted when she went on to college to study nursing. So, what do you think? Will Honey Boo Boo follow in her big sister’s footsteps? I sure hope so!

Dreaming Big

Right now, Honey Boo Boo is perfectly content and seems like a happy kid enjoying her time in the spotlight. But that doesn’t mean she hasn’t thought about her future and what she wants to be when she grows up.

Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

During an E! News interview, Honey Boo Boo revealed that she has more than one dream job. I guess some of her pageant childhood stuck because she wants to become a hairstylist. She also wants to be a nurse and hopes to become a “mama” one day. She also expressed that she wants to become a manicurist and work at McDonald’s. The sky is the limit for this little one.

Social Media Sensation

As a public figure, in reality, shows Toddlers & Tiaras, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, and Mama June: From Not to Hot, Honey Boo Boo has become a social media star! During her years in the limelight, the pageant queen has built up an amazing fan following and currently has over 815,000 followers.

Honey Boo Boo taking a selfie in a bathroom mirror with the flash on.
Source: Facebook

She updates her Instagram frequently and loves to share selfies of herself and her friends. She also posts videos with her wacky family and promotes her slime account. Yes, the girl makes and sells slime, so you should definitely place an order.

Rap Career

So, calling her a rapper may be a bit of a stretch, but Honey Boo Boo did show off her rap skills for a wider audience. Back in 2015, the reality show sensation and her family released their own song and even made a music video for their masterpiece.

A Young Honey Boo Boo recording her song in a studio.
Source: Youtube

The song was called “MOVING UP,” and Honey Boo Boo performed with Pumpkin, Sugar Bear, and her Mama June. They filmed the video in the basement, and I recommend you check it out. For the chorus, Honey Boo Boo gets a solo rap! What do you think? Does she have a shot at becoming a famous rapper?

Sugar Bear’s Health

Throughout his life, health was something Sugar Bear always struggled with. He always tried to lead an active and healthy lifestyle, but something always got in the way. Like, sometimes, throughout the day her randomly collapses for no reason.

Sugar Bear and Honey Boo Boo smiling for a photo from Sugar Bear’s hospital bed.
Source: Facebook

Needless to say, he has been to the hospital a number of times to get it checked out. After various checkups and tests, doctors believe he may potentially have an undiagnosed neurological disorder. It should be noted that he never confirmed or denied this. Either way, we just hope he makes a full and speedy recovery.

One Thumb on Each Hand

We mentioned that baby Kaitlyn was born with two thumbs on one hand. If you were wondering, it has since been removed. Yes, the little one went under the knife to get rid of the extra thumb, but it wasn’t so easy. Her recovery process was strict and long in order to make sure it heals properly.

Kaitlyn is sitting in a car seat while showing off a big smile and her pink cast.
Source: Instagram/@annamarie35

Kaitlyn was required to wear a cast for a whopping six months! Half a year in a cast is hard for anyone… let alone a toddler! Her process will be monitored and documented for the next few years to see if she develops any other conditions.

Arrested for Possession

In March 2019, Mama June was arrested for drug possession. You might have forgotten about this little detail, but one thing about Mama June is that she has struggled with illegal substances. According to Café Mom, the reality star and her boyfriend Geno both got arrested.

June Shannon’s Mug shot.
Source: Macon County Alabama Sheriff

Mama June’s daughter Pumpkin explained that she appreciates the fans supporting them during this difficult time: “We’re sharing our story in hopes that it helps another family, and I sincerely want to thank our fans for always being there and loving and supporting us.”

Drugs Not Hugs

According to CNN, June Shannon explained that she ran out of money and was forced to put her house on the market. Whenever a family needs to put their house up for sale, it’s never easy on their kids. Sometimes there is a good reason for it, but not in this case.

June Shannon Talking about her addiction in an interview while showing off her damaged teeth.
Source: WE!

According to CNN, Mama June spent an unbelievable $2,500 a day to feed her substance addiction. This goes to show how serious addiction is and how easy it is to spiral out of control. It’s sad to see how much was wasted on this unhealthy and dangerous habit.

The Duggar Abuse Scandal

As soon as TLC found out about the allegations about Mark McDaniel and June’s involvement with him, they immediately dropped the show. Shortly after, Josh Duggar’s accusations came to light, and nothing happened (at first). Mama June was angry that TLC didn’t do anything when it came to the Duggar’s show, 19 Kids and Counting.

The entire Duggar Family clan posing for a promotional photo.
Source: TLC

Mama June accused the network of having double standards, and the reason they protected the Duggars was because of the family’s high power producer friends. She also claimed that the network was probably coaching the Duggars through the media backlash to save face and minimize the damage. The Duggars’ show 19 Kids and Counting was also ultimately canceled due to the scandal.

Sugar Bear Is Not Sugary at All

When it comes to reality shows, drama is part of the deal, especially when children are involved. As we mentioned, Mama June was romantically linked to a child predator (which ended the show). Although she didn’t accuse Sugar Bear of crimes that serious, she did claim that Sugar Bear abused her children.

Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images

The reality mom said her ex-boyfriend was emotionally and even physically abusive toward her daughters while they were in a relationship. The family history is quite disturbing, but their mom promised she would make some changes in the future and keep her children safe and protected.