Levi Johnston, Caught in the Crossfire
It really stinks when your girlfriend and your sister hate each other.
That was the biggest insight to come out of Tyra Banks's much-hyped interview with Bristol Palin's ex-fiance, Levi Johnston, broadcast yesterday. Once we got past the talk about whether Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin knew her daughter was having sex ("probably") or forced him to propose ("no"), what emerged was a sad small-town teenage breakup story -- but one that made headlines worldwide.
Johnston, 19, said tension between the two girls have kept him from seeing much of newborn son Tripp. Sister Mercede also came on the show to explain:
"Bristol and I don't see eye to eye. That's mostly because I have a lot of girlfriends that Levi's previously dated, that's the main issue going on. 'Cause you know they can stop by the house, and she doesn't want her son around previous girlfriends."
The media glare also created problems. Mom Sherry Johnston alleged that the Palins wouldn't let her get photos of Tripp. The talk-show host voiced some sympathy for the Palins -- with celebrity "this crazy protection thing happens, 'Oh my God, I don't want it on TMZ.' " Said Sherry Johnston: "I am part grandma and I don't get no pictures. I don't want pictures to sell, I want pictures of him growing up, and I don't have any."
The Palin family blasted the interview -- which Banks said the Johnstons were not paid for -- in a statement: "We're disappointed that Levi and his family, in a quest for fame, attention and fortune, are engaging in flat-out lies, gross exaggeration and even distortion of their relationship."
A Palin rep told CNN last night that Johnston's claim to Banks that he lived with the governor's family while Bristol was expecting was an outright "lie."
The high school dropout and aspiring electrician came off as affable if not very articulate. On attending the Republican convention: "It was a weird experience." On his attraction to Bristol: "Her whole family is big-time hunting and fishing and the outdoors. ... She's not a big shopper city kind of girl. ... She's a pretty, intelligent woman, that's enough for me."
On getting his girlfriend's name tattooed on his ring finger: "I wouldn't recommend it." But he'd still vote for Sarah Palin if she runs for president in 2012.
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