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Sarah Palin: bad mother and wife, Bristol's ex-boyfriend Levi Johnston tells Vanity Fair

If former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin thought John McCain’s staffers stabbed her in the back when they tried to blame her for his loss last November, one can only imagine what she thinks these days about Levi Johnston, the father of her grandchild.

Johnston, who is weighing the many "celebrity" career options now coming his way thanks to the meteoric rise of his former mother-out-of-law, is in sharper-than-a serpent’s-tooth mode in the October issue of Vanity Fair, where he -- how to put this delicately? -- rips Palin a new one for what he perceives as her personal failings. The magazine said it paid him an author fee, since the story is in his own words.


In “Me and Mrs. Palin,” Johnston’s first-person account accuses Palin of being a bad mother, of being a bad wife, of not knowing how to shoot a gun, and even -- get this! -- of not even being a real hockey mom! (She only attended 15% of her son's games, says Johnston, who was his teammate.)

In short, he accuses Palin of being an all-around phony. Paging Holden Caulfield!

As many parents know because they find out the hard way, teenagers are excessively judgmental creatures who are usually operating with a limited amount of information and experience. So 19-year-old  Johnston’s perceptions should be taken with a grain of salt. Still, he did live with Alaska’s first family, and was privy to deeply private incidents and attitudes. And the details of what went on inside this apparently dysfunctional American family are juicy.

The Palins frequently fought, says Johnston, and Todd, who sneaked beer in the garage because Sarah didn’t like him drinking, regularly threatened divorce.

Palin, he says, paid more attention to Bristol and Levi's baby, Tripp, than she did to her own baby, Trig, who was born with Down syndrome and became a symbol of hope for parents of special-needs children during the campaign. Says Johnston: "I couldn't believe it when she would come over to us and sometimes say, playing around, 'No, I don't want the retarded baby -- I want the other one' and pick up Tripp. That was just her, even her kids were used to it."

Attempts to reach Palin's spokewoman were unsuccessful.

Maybe Johnston's quest for attention should be dismissed as only that, but we did enjoy his portrait of Sarah Palin as a busy governor:

“Throughout the years I spent with them, when Sarah got home from her office -- almost never later than 5 and sometimes as early as noon -- she usually walked in the door, said hello, and then disappeared into her bedroom, where she would hang out. Sometimes, she’d take an hourlong bath. Other times she sat on the living-room couch in her two-piece pajama set from Walmart -- she had all the colors -- with her hair down, watching house shows and wedding shows on TV. She always wanted things and she always wanted other people to get them for her. If she wanted a movie, Bristol and I would go to the video store; if she wanted food, we’d get her something to eat, like a Crunchwrap Supreme from Taco Bell. She’d try to bribe everyone in the house, or give us guilt trips." 

  Kids today!

-- Robin Abcarian

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Photo: Levi Johnston and Sarah Palin in the October issue of Vanity Fair. Credit: Vanity Fair

Comments () | Archives (89)

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I am disgusted that anyone is listening to this kid. He has a child. Why is he not married to the Mother of his child and taking care of the baby they created together? He now appears as an opportunist, why would anyone want to demean the grandparents of their child?

OK..he's had his 15 minutes of fame.....moving on.

I will confess I am not a Palin fan, but this tell-all is below the belt. Even if they were entirely true, which I am not sure since Levi might have an axe to grind, there is basically nothing there.

Mom works at stressful job, which she is not good at, and takes an hour long bath. Mom is not a gun fancier but tries to keep up. Husband is ticked off at wife for whatever reasons. (Wife makes more than him and has more respectable job) Husband and wife argue and bicker. Mom is not thrilled at having a retarded child late in life.

Levi, welcome to the club. That's family life that people muddle through. As I said I am not a Sarah Palin fan, but if she is doing the best she can under stressful circumstances that is all anyone could ask. I think the question that really should be asked, could you do better in the same situation?

I wonder if Levi had ever considered if he had been more supportive or less trouble Sarah Palin might finished her term of office? Having mom in law dealing drugs and sister and law burgling homes is enough to stress anyone out without anything else.

Just because I might not vote for Sarah Palin for President doesn't mean she is not a decent person. The question to my mind is whether or not Levi Johnston is a decent person? I am sure he is but I am disappointed he did not finish high school, marry the girl he made pregnant, and become an electrician. I think that would have been for the best, but I am just guessing.

Levi's back is being covered by Rex Butler, the best criminal defense attorney in Alaska and a man of impeccable integrity. So the sorry state of Sarah Palin is straight talk from the moose's mouth (this is Alaska, after all). The best thing Governor Palin did for Alaska (other than taking on Exxon) was to resign and get on with her life in the lower 48.

I had a feeling in my gut that was congruent with this article. Sarah Palin to me appears superficial and as though there is a lot covered up in her life. I believe we have a right to know the inside scoop particularly if she is presenting herself as a conservative leader with obvious goals of becoming the president of the united states. Thank you Levi Johnston for confirming what many of us believed to be true, ie. "bad mom", "bad wife." Lets hear it for family values.

I don't believe any of this. He's just trying to cash in on his 15 minutes... now even longer. He's a high school drop out who can't support his son, so he trashes his son's grandparents and family. What about his Mom and family? I'm sure a drug addict mom in jail and a under-age drinker sister is NOT the best family for Tripp.He knows that Bristol would get full custody in a heartbeat.

Just go away Levi.

Betcha! Sarah is busy rewriting a chapter in her book as we speak!

Good Lord. Someone needs to smack this punk upside the head and tell to shut his mouth and be a man and a father!

When is the mainstream media going to stop reporting the "bought and paid for" manufactured "dirt" from this cretinous thug? Your bias is showing!

What a disgrace for a young man! with all his comments he is dishonoring himself, his family, his name, even his son! and for the media: paying attention to guys like Jonhston only carries bad reputation for him.

like snow he will melt away

Levi doesn't seem smart enough to make things up.

His story likely would have been published even if it contained nothing negative about Sarah Palin.

This is all just REALLY COOL and I'm glad this dirt is coming out. The news has been so depressing the last year with two stock market crashes, Obama keeping us mired in a hopeless and expensive war... The levity is certainly needed, and who better to pay the price than a dangerously ignorant and uneducated public leader. I think Alaskans have caught on now... Sarah is just another pretty face who was promoted because of her looks... until she was assigned to a job she was not qualified to handle, and... she has been an embarrassment since she charmed the glassy-eyed right-wingers at the Republican convention last year. The "Peter Principle" in action: promoted to her level of incompetence.

The Palin supporters doth protest too much.

It's just what he sees - not what he doesn't see. He doesn't know what she was doing in the bedroom - maybe transacting important affairs of State.

But most of us do stay at the office a full 8 hours, and that can be verified. If it turns out it was common for her to leave early, we'll hear about it.

And acting like you have a "perfect" family while living otherwise is to be expected, but that doesn't make her look good when she lorded over others about it. All it does is indicate she's an opportunist who will say anything to look good.

So if he is really lying, people will find out fast. And if he isn't - well, she's not perfect nor an icon. Heck, she may not even be a sensible person. Just a politician who'll say anything to get ahead.

What a back stabbing opportunist & jerk. I'm sure he would not abandon his child if Grandma would win. Why this was not a problem before the child and before the elections?
He did not deserve Bristol and she should be glad to get rid of this jerk.

Can this possibly get any more entertaining? Actually, it can. Apparently, the young Levi will do a photo shoot for Playgirl. But he won't be showing the full Johnston. Not nude. By the way, Levi, some friendly advice: Hit the gym. You'd look a whole lot better with about 15 fewer pounds.

Now, before the news media dismisses everything Levi is saying, let's remember the main point. He has consistently said that Sarah's in it for the money. So, let's see what she does now. There's her book, and soon a FauxNews program? I think young Levi got her number!

Can't wait to read the entire article!

As the hatred marches on...

I find Levi refreshingly amusing, like a talking dog. I'm happy Caribou Barbie isn't Vice President but I doubt Joe Biden's family is so delightfully trashy.

Hello! Reality check! She’s as human as they come and I’m sorry she’s falling from that pedestal you put her on. I am so glad people are finding out how human Palin is. Levi is not a kid, he has lived and experienced a part of life forced to be a man that most of us cant imagine. People, take the blindfolds off and open your eyes. Reality check! This women is not going to be your friend unless you have something to give that will suit her negative or positive. Yes she’s selfish and a big phony at times, aren’t we all? She likes to blames the media when she gets caught, who do you blame? People are just reacting to betray of trust they’ve had for her. So of course Palin is not to blamed for what she brought on herself, ya right! Admit it, Palin causes her own problem and has secrets too just like you.

The whole group is wacky.

* Sarah says Levi is wonderful. Levi says Bristol is wonderful. Sarah attacks Levi. Levi attacks Sarah. Bristol says everyone is (maybe) wonderful. Then they all attack each other.

* Bristol is either for or against abstinence. Sarah is incoherent (wink, wink) as she serves moose stew. Levi has all the insight of a hockey puck.

* Mama Johnson deals drugs. Sarah's sister-in-law breaks into houses.

* Todd appears and disappears for no reason. Piper and Willow hide in the house, unseen and unspeaking (perhaps the best move possible).

* At last report, Levi, Bristol, and Sarah are unemployed. Todd has a part time job.

* They all blame the media while doing media interviews.

It's like watching "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman" in real life!

Trying to figure out the #1 Loony Tune is pointless because none of them make any sense.

Levi has had a lot of people looking out for his interests and helping him make decisons about what to tell when. Up here in Alaska we have known a long time Governor Quitter was not what she said she was. We have known her children were not being taken care of by her, there was a problem with their marriage, and we know everytime Palin opens her mouth a lie comes flying out. She screwed Alaska and then quit. She appointed incompetents to run agencies so the would protect her and promote her crazy agenda. It has harmed a lot of people and I am one of them. Levi's mother was set up to be arrested by Palin, with her daughter's help. His mother was in a desperate situation and mostly needed help. Often in Alaska people who need help are ignored and even allowed to die.

Freedom of Speech:

Just because a magazine can publish an interview with a 19-year old wonderputz, doesn't mean that it should!

Levi Johnston is the epitome of a low life. He'd be nothing but a lazy, spoiled teenage dad if it weren't for his connection to Sarah Palin. I personlly can't stand the site of him. And nothing he says is of any worth.

I hope this "Baby Daddy" pays every cent he earns, from now 'til 18 years forward, to Bristol Palin for the care of THEIR baby. Every dime from this article ought to go there now! Hello Bristol - file for paternity support NOW WHILE HE HAS MONEY!

I don't know why everyone is so down on Levi... someone needs to let the country know what kind of fraud this lady is. I knew she didn't want her down syndrome baby, it was very obvious by the way she treated him in public. This is the woman you want as an example of someone caring for special needs children? I think not, please people get someone who really cares about the children.

Sounds like the rantings and whining of an opportunistic little SOB who ran out on his responsibilities as a father and is now pointing fingers at others to take the spotlight off himself.

Hopefully little Levi's time in the sun will be short-lived. It should be once the ignorant, drooling American public of National Enquirer-readers gets over him and finds the next peabrain it will make its celebrity-of-the-hour.

I guess Levi Johnston's 15 minutes of fame ran out so he is resorting to a pathetic, self-serving attention-grabbing scheme proving how desperate he is. I hope this latest, classless move, catapults his wanna-be-a-star career goal right back to the gutter where it belongs. I am no fan of Sarah Palin, but these cheap, tell-all tactics, reflect more poorly on him than on the Palins. It only proves he is not yet mature or of much character. I recommend his access to his child should be limited, and supervised.

Christmas at the Palin's is going to be fun this year. The facade wasn't working then and it isn't now. The more we learn I glad Sarah isn't one heartbeat away.

Why shouldn't Levi profit from the dysfunctional Palins and their faux fame? Everyone else in the family is obviously milking the cash cow created by the unconscious and dysfunctional American media and public who remain fascinated by hillbilly Sarah from Wasilla. Anyone with half a perception can see that Sarah Palin is incompetent and unfit for public office.

Nothing but trashy gossip from a 19 year old kid. Every teenager thinks they know more than the parent.

Levi needs to get a real job and pay for his child that he so enjoyed the pleasure of making, and stop the tongue from talking about the family he lived with until he decided he wasn't going to do the honorable thing and marry the babies mother, Bristol. He needs to read Ecclesiastes 5:3, and Proverbs 25:23 about the tongue. Grow up Levi!

I dont care what any of you say..Levi Johnston is awesome.

Lets hope this kid can be a punkass thorn is the Republican's side for as long as his 15 mintues will carry him.

More Levi, Less Palin...anyone who disagrees is totally uncool.

This only reflects badly upon Levi. Regardless of what is and is not the truth, the better course of action would have been the higher road. If these things are true, his words reveal that like birds of a feather, he was in his element and is no better. Too bad he's not having any real "actor" success and is reduced to these short lived and pathetic roads to attention. Can bad porn movies be far behind for this man with no character? For his child's sake, let's hope not. A hateful parent is not something any child should have to resolve.

As somebody who truly hates their in-laws and takes every opportunity to bash them and berate them to everyone I know, I can honestly say that Levi is probably blowing 99.9% of the things he has said out of proportion. Are the Palins dysfunctional? Yes. Everyone is. There is no normal family, trust me! And for you people trying to say she "acts like she's perfect": would you not have judged her even MORE harshly if she'd come out on the campaign trail and said: "My daughter's a whore, my baby is a retard, my job is too hard for me, and my husband is a complete dickhead"? Come on people, get off your own high horses and take a look in the freakin mirror.

I am a well-educated college graduate who was raised in a house where work ethic and moral values were important, which is drastically different from my in-laws and therefore the reason I hate them. Maybe the fact that Levi is a high school dropout, an unwed teen parent, and unemployed has made him just a tiny bit jealous of people who are better off than he is? I mean, nobody knows an unfit better than the child of a drug addict, right? HA! This idiot is just clinging to the coattails of the Palins because getting paid to badmouth them is the closest he'll get to a paying job. LOSER!

Now that he has escaped the control of the Palin freaks, he's finally able to open up and tell the truth. Is anyone suprised? The family is obviously dysfunctional & Sarah is insane.

That kid is a real piece of... something, but Palin's alleged comments about her own child's retardation are shocking, if not career-ending.

This is ridiculous! This kid is obviously posturing for as much limelight attention as possible. I have lived in Alaska and married one of Mrs. Palin’s high school classmates. She has never had a reputation as anyone who sat around and let other do for her. If this story had any credibility at all, it would have come out from a staffer or a estranged friend during the election. This kid is a jerk and has always been a jerk. By the looks of it his future as a jerk is secure. God bless Sarah Palin and the Palin family.

Well, yes, it is harsh. I tend to believe Levi, simply because he comes across as far more credible than Palin. Wasillians knew that Levi was living in the Palin that part is true. She has shown herself to be lazy...non commital, and many other things.

She is off who knows where now. Where are the kids? Who is taking care of them? Are they in school? Nobody really knows, and I am sick to death of her ardent supporters making excuses for her every wrong move. When she decides to not show up at an event after tickets have been sold, when it has publicly advertised for lengths of time....when she gets ethics after ethics charges thrown at her...well, I just dont find her professional.

Levi is doing nothing that Palin hasnt. Show her the money...she is all over it.

I am NOT a Palin supporter, but come on! A mother of five with a pregnant teenage daughter was overwhelmed at her job? Not happy her daughter was pregnant? Bickered with her husband? Didn't have time to make dinner? That sounds pretty "normal" to me! Do any of us think that politician's lives are really any different than our own?

Why is anyone listening to this high-school drop out teen father? Is the son of a drug addict really the best judge of "normal"?

This is awesome. A "Crunchwrap Supreme from Taco Bell"? this is hilarious. and unfortunately, we all know inside this kid's story is true.
anyway, I hope they make a sitcom out of this! NBC, are you paying attention? This is your hit for the 2010 season!

If you want to see what treating ladies poorly will do, just look at Eddie Fisher. This guy is a jerk and an attention whore. Instead of being in Los Angeles trying to be an actor, he should be in Alaska trying to be a father. This is what gives good men a bad name, and there are many good men out there. He is not one of them.

Sarah Palin is a disgrace to the double X chromosomes. However, considering that Levi "Johnston, who is weighing the many "celebrity" career options" is doing a tell all in Vanity Fair (please!) consider his motivation: $$$, what else is there for him? can he go to college or get a decent job? probably not.

Well, the last thread of respect I had for Vanity Fair is GONE.. What a rag mag, they have joined the ranks of the Enquirer..

Alise, kind of like Obama is saying doing anything to get ahead???
PLUCK.. She's in it for the $$$.. What about Levi?? What about almost EVERY other politician, say maybe Rangel???

Make no mistake, I am not a fan of Sarah Palin, but I really do not believe she would treat her infant son the way Levi Johnston would have us believe. Levi, you are a sick opportunist. If this kid gets a book deal and reality show, and becomes famous for nothing, I will be TICKED. He's "famous" for knocking up a teenage girl, essentially. Classy.

Levi the Loser. Lets see he could not make it through high school, apparently can't keep a job, can't keep a girl friend, can't convince pregnant girl friend to marry him, can't handle rejection, and whoooopee he's going to be a model, writer and sex symbol. What a guy, what a man. I see him as a model for Welchs....The sour grapes Guy. Levi take a hint and get lost before you distroy your worthless little self.

I would love to be our man servant, and I know how to keep secrets

Since this article did not involve abortion or homos, I am surprised they gave it to Abcarian. When are we going to read about Little Johnny Edwards and his love child?

This is news? Somebody should put this kid in the corner for awhile. What a great dad..... I can see exactly why the Palin family threw this guy out. Nothing like a scorned, adolescent lover, and a hungry liberal media to listen to him. I can't believe people print what this guy says, when it so clearly smacks of bitter revenge.

Dude, your 15 minutes is almost up, and when people tire of you, you'll go back to what you have always been, a loser (uh, a loser estranged dad).

I can't wait for about 10 years from now, one of those "where are they now" shows on this loser.... Anybody want to bet? Prison? Drug death? TV remote and beer-gut in the trailer? Or the super-long-shot, back in the family?

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A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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