Janice Fairman, the adoptive mother of former 16 and Pregnant subject Valerie Fairman, has come out and blamed the MTV reality show for her death.
“She was a gorgeous girl and it all went to her head,” Janice told the Daily Mail in an exclusive interview, adding that her daughter would be alive today if she never appeared on the show. “She thought she could pretty much do whatever she liked after the show. She was determined to get everything she wanted.”
“I wish she had never been on TV. It played a big part in her death. I think it messed her up big time,” she continued. “When we tried to put our foot down, that’s when she left home. I don’t think there is anything more we could have done to help her.”
Valerie Fairman passed away at 23 years old on December 21, where she was found in the bathroom of a friend’s home in Coatesville, Pennsylvania. Official cause of death has yet to be confirmed, but friends say she died of a drug overdose. Her birth mother, who lost custody of Valerie when she was still a toddler, had an addiction to crack cocaine, but claims she was sober throughout her pregnancy. She reportedly kicked her habit while incarcerated and has been clean since 2004.
“I did everything I could to get myself together,” Beth Shepherd told the Daily Mail. “I told [Valerie] my whole story in 2013, I had to be honest about everything I had done.”
Shepherd says she reunited with her daughter after another one of her children saw her on the MTV show in 2009.
“One day my daughter Amanda shouted out, ‘Valerie’s on television.’ So the TV show helped me find her,” she explained. “Valerie was still doing her show when I first met her. I thought they might mention that during one of the updated shows, but they never did.”
While Shepherd was thankful to MTV for the unexpected reunion, Janice says Valerie, who was at 15 years old at the time, first signed up for the show without asking permission.
“She asked us about it later,” Janice explained, adding that Valerie’s pregnancy was a shock to the family. “At first, we were very, very disappointed.”
But based on what viewers knew about Valerie from the show, it seemed like her pregnancy was a cry for attention. Her adoptive parents had 98 foster or adopted children in their care over the years, and Valerie admitted that she consciously made poor choices to get attention.
“So I’ve done some things to get negative attention,” she admitted on the show. “I’ve been known to hang out with the wrong crowd at the wrong time of night – or should I say morning.”
Despite the confession, Janice says that once the cameras stopped rolling, Valerie’s behavior only got worse.
“She has been in and out of rehab for five years,” she explained, adding that she fled their home at 18 and left her to raise Nevaeh. “She would call and she’d come over to see her daughter – a couple of times she went to church with us, but I never knew where she was staying, whether it was Coatesville or somewhere else. I knew she was living with a guy called Russ for a while.”
Janice said she was honest with Nevaeh about her mother’s death, and despite his depiction on the show, Nevaeh’s father Matt Pryce is still in her life.