Maci Bookout is defending her decision to stand by her baby daddy Ryan Edwards through his rehab/recovery for his longtime addiction to drugs.
The Teen Mom: The Next Chapter star appeared on The Hopeaholics podcast recently to discuss her controversial decision to support Ryan— who is the father of her oldest son Bentley— after years of having little to no relationship with him— and despite his continuing habit of breaking the law.
During the interview, Maci also addressed how becoming a support person for Ryan has affected her relationships with her husband Taylor McKinney and with Bentley.
The Ashley has pulled out some of the most-interesting parts of the (insanely long) podcast interview and included them below!
On why she decided to stop hating Ryan & start supporting him:
Maci— who has attended some of Ryan’s court hearings this year following his latest relapse and legal issues— said that she began to reevaluate how she treated Ryan after Bentley spoke up about it to her.
“[Bentley was] like ‘Your relationship— or lack thereof— with him does affect the relationship that I have with him,’” Maci said. “And, you know, honestly, right when I heard that, inside I was boiling, because I was like, ‘What do I have to do with that? Your dad can show up whenever he wants to. You’ve got a cell phone. He’s got your number. He can reach out. He can show up to your sports stuff. But he doesn’t. What do I have to do with that?’”
Maci said that, because she had already put herself in therapy by that point, she realized that it was important for her to listen to Bentley, instead of getting angry about it.
“It was like the boiling was starting and I had to turn it down, turn the oven off,” she said. “It was like, ‘No, hear him. Hear what he is telling you.’ And figure out what you can f**king do different. If you want to be a good mom, be a good mom. Now’s the time. He just told you something, listen to him!’”
Eventually, Maci met up with Ryan in person to discuss trying to fix their co-parenting relationship.
“I kind of was just like, ‘Hey, let’s just put all the s**t on the ground and call it what it is. Are we going to start fresh and do this correctly?’ Yes. We committed to a few things, things I needed from him, things he needed from me. And then a year later, here we are.”
Later in the podcast, Maci addressed why she changed how she dealt with Ryan.
“It was so easy in the past to get angry and say ‘F**k it, f**k you, I’m so angry, I’m not doing this.’ But where did that get me? Where did that get me as a mother? Where did that get my son? As a friend even, to Ryan, where did that get us? Nowhere. But I couldn’t keep doing things the way I had been handling it before, because that wasn’t working either.”
On Ryan’s recent relapse:
As The Ashley previously reported, Ryan has had several arrests this year for drug-related offenses (as well as other crimes such as harassing his soon-to-be-ex-wife Mackenzie, and Reckless Driving). Maci admitted that Ryan’s actions still make her angry, but she tries to keep herself in check.
“What do I have to offer Ryan then, when I’m so angry that I could rip his freaking eyeballs out of his face? Because he’s not getting it,” she said.
Ryan has admitted to struggling with substance abuse issues for at least a decade, and, despite his relapse, Maci said that 2023 has been her best year with Ryan yet.
“His addiction– it was always very up and down— last year, he was good,” she said. “He relapsed early this year…went to jail. Right now he’s currently in a halfway house and he’s got like six months sober.
“And, still, we’ve been in touch and it’s arguably the best year of our relationship in all of 16 years. All because Bentley said something.”
On why she still encourages Bentley to have a relationship with Ryan, despite his relapse:
“A lot of people are like, ‘Man, how do you put yourself back in the line of fire [with Ryan]? How can you?’”
Maci said she learned through her time in Al-Anon that “there’s a difference between hope and expectations. You should never not have hope, ever. Hope should be a constant.”
She said she let go of her anger at Ryan in order to move her and Bentley’s relationships with Ryan forward.
“It’s very easy for parents to say, ‘I’m the parent, you’re the kid. You don’t know what I’ve dealt with. You don’t know what I’ve put up with for you to even still know who your dad is. Because there was no court order [telling me I had to let him see Bentley]. Literally, you could not know who this guy is and not have seen him in 10 years’… that’s what Maci would have done three years ago.”
On how Taylor feels about Maci’s renewed relationship with Ryan:
Maci says navigating the Ryan stuff with Taylor has been a “task.”
“He has raised Bentley with me,” Maci said of Taylor. “There is no ‘That’s my stepdad’ or ‘That’s my stepson.’ [Taylor] is his dad, too. And for Taylor, my husband, his experience is always cleaning up the mess Ryan made. Being the one to pick the pieces up, being the one who does show up and you can count on, no questions asked, any time, all the time.
“For him, it’s been very much like, ‘OK, so I have to watch my son and my wife willingly walk back into the danger zone? And just be sitting here, waiting to clean the mess up again? Why?’”
Maci commended Taylor for being a constant for Bentley and, essentially, making it safe for Bentley to venture into having a relationship with Ryan.
On the state of her seven-year marriage:
Maci and Taylor recently celebrated seven years of marriage, prompting the podcast hosts to ask her if she currently has “the seven-year itch.”
“You have to choose it every day. And it could be three months where Taylor’s the one picking up the slack and taking it on the chin. But six months from now it could be me doing that…” Maci said.
On people criticizing her for filming about Bentley’s therapy:
“There’s a lot of s**t online [of people saying], ‘This should be private.’ … They would film us in the car with the Go-Pros or whatever, going to therapy and then when we leave. But we don’t talk about what was talked about in there. I don’t even know what was talked about in there. [between Bentley and his therapist].”
Maci insisted that Bentley (as well as her other kids Maverick and Jayde) have the ability to say no to filming for the show whenever they want.
“…He could say, ‘Yeah, I want to talk about it’ or, ‘Yeah, it’s OK if we film with Go-Pros’ but the second he changes his mind, he changes his mind,” Maci said. “And we’re done and it’s over with, whatever. Production, they’ve always been very respectful of that. Anything, especially heavy stuff, I feel like we have so many conversations [while cameras are] not rolling, off-record with Bentley and our producer. It’s always up to [the kids if they want to film]. There’s no questions asked, ever.”
On what Bentley calls his father:
‘Teen Mom’ viewers have criticized Maci for referring to Ryan by his name instead of ‘Dad’ when speaking to Bentley. During the podcast, Maci addressed this.
“[Bentley] does kind of call him Ryan,” she said. “Sometimes [he calls him] Dad, but if I say Ryan it’s not like I’m being an assh**e. It’s just how we talk.”
On how the cycle of teen pregnancy in her family affected the name she chose for Bentley:
Maci was randomly asked why she chose the name “Bentley Cadence” for her first son. She denied that she chose “Bentley” because of the vehicle brand of the same name.
“It’s not after the car….I would have picked like Nova or Camaro or something. I feel like it was just in a baby name book,” she said. “I picked his middle name [Cadence] first. I knew it immediately, in English class. I love poetry and always have, and I was reading different poetic terms. I was pregnant but I had not told anyone. I was still at my regular school, and had just found out. I came across ‘Cadence’ and I was like, ‘Oh, I love that.’”
She said she also chose the name as a sort of homage to being a second-generation teen mom.
“My parents were teen parents, so they had my brother when they were teenagers, and had me at 20. So I was like, ‘There’s something poetic about the fact that teen pregnancy is a cycle.’
“So I picked that and was like, ‘What name goes with Cadence?’…Right when I read [the name ‘Bentley’] I knew.”