Bristol Palin: A Life of Ups and Downs in the Spotlight

With her recent marriage, we’re taking a look back at the ups and downs in the life of Bristol Palin: reality star, mom and daughter of politician Sarah Palin.

Palin rises to the spotlight when her mother, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, was named as John McCain’s vice presidential pick. However, she received more attention than the average prospective vice presidential child when it was announced, just days after her mother’s addition to the ticket was revealed, that 17-year-old Bristol was pregnant. Her pregnancy sparked controversy due to her mother’s stance on abstinence-only sex education. At the time, Bristol said she planned to marry the baby’s father, Levi Johnston.

Her mom’s ticket may have lost the election, but the Palin family had something else to celebrate in late 2008: the birth of Bristol’s first child, son Tripp.

MARCH 2009
Bristol and fiancé Johnston split.

Bristol is sued by her ex-fiancé for joint custody. At the time, Johnston said that the Palin family was limiting his time with his son. “It’s not working. I’m done,” he said. “It’s going to have to go to court. They just finally pushed me over the edge.”

Bristol becomes an advocate for teen abstinence, but faces a lot of backlash from those who call her a “hypocrite” due to her own past actions.

Two years after her mother’s campaign lost the election for president, Bristol gets her own moment in the spotlight: She competed on Dancing with the Stars, coming in third place with partner Mark Ballas.

APRIL 2011
Levi Johnston announces he’s penning a Palin family tell-all.

Bristol landed a reality gig with the show Bristol Palin: Life’s a Tripp, but the show ultimately only lasted for 14 episodes and less than two months on air.

Bristol returned to Dancing with the Stars on the show’s all-star season. “This is a new, confident me,” she said of her second turn on the show.

Bristol entered into what would become a years-long battle with ex Johnston over custody of their son, Tripp.

Bristol and the rest of the Palin family were allegedly involved in a brawl at a party in Anchorage, Alaska. “ was punching in the face like six times; it was an assault if I’ve ever seen one,” Eric Thompson, a guest at the party, told ABC News.

MARCH 2015
Bristol’s engagement to former U.S. Marine and U.S. Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer is announced. Her famous mother said she “couldn’t be happier” for the couple.

MAY 2015
Just five days before they were set to walk down the aisle, Bristol and Meyer announced that they were calling their wedding off. “Bristol and Dakota couldn’t be more thankful for the love and support of family and friends over the past months while preparing for their wedding,” the former Alaska governor wrote on Facebook at the time. “They have informed loved ones that unfortunately the announced celebration planned for May 23 will not be held.”

JUNE 2015
One month after calling off their wedding, Bristol announced she was expecting her second child. In what should be a joyous occasion, Bristol admitted that she knew people would be disappointed in her. “I know this has been, and will be, a huge disappointment to my family, to my close friends, and to many of you,” she wrote in a blog post. “But please respect Tripp’s and my privacy during this time. I do not want any lectures, and I do not want any sympathy.”

Bristol welcomed her second child, daughter Sailor Grace.

Things finally became settled between Johnston and Bristol when their years-long custody battle was settled, with Johnston and Bristol having joint custody of their son, Tripp. After the news broke, Bristol posted an Instagram reading: “The best security blanket a child can have is parents who respect each other.”

MARCH 2016
After months fighting over custody of daughter Sailor, Meyer was granted joint physical and legal custody. Tensions between the two seemed to fade after this order came down, with both Bristol and Meyer posting a number Instagrams together and of their daughter. http://www.people.com/article/bristol-palin-ex-fiance-dakota-meyer-joint-custody-baby-sailor

MAY 2016
Johnston, Bristol’s ex-fiancé and the father of her first child, was ordered to pay $61,915.20 in back child support.

MAY 2016
After a broken engagement and a bitter custody battle, things are looking up for Bristol and Meyer: They tied the knot last week and are currently on their honeymoon. “Life is full of ups and downs, but in the end, you’ll end up where you’re supposed to be,” they told Entertainment Tonight. “We are so happy to share with loved ones the wonderful news that we got married!”


Meyer filed for divorce after nearly two years of marriage. A source with knowledge of the situation told PEOPLE Meyer moved out of their home in Austin, Texas, around Christmas and filed for divorce two weeks ago.

He has also blocked Palin on social media.