Bristol and Levi - Splitting Up?

Filed under: Celeb Parents

It's the news we were hoping not to hear: Rumor has it that Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston are splitting up. The teen parents are reportedly going through a tough time, according to Johnston's sister, Mercede. She claims that Palin is refusing to let Johnston see the couple's two-month-old son. "Levi tries to visit Tripp every single day," Mercede told Star magazine, "but Bristol makes it nearly impossible. She tells him he can't take the baby to our house because she doesn't want him around 'white trash'!"

Mercede adds that Tripp's grandmother, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, is on board with her daughter's decision to keep Johnston out of Tripp's life. "I used to love Sarah," Mercede says. "But I've lost lots of respect for her."

Palin Family Album

    Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her husband Todd have five children with short, masculine and certainly unique names: Track, 19, Bristol, 18, (with Levi Johnston), Willow, 14, Piper, 7, and Trig, 8 months (not pictured). Read More

    Fredy Perojo, AOL

    "We both love each other," Levi Johnston, 18, told the AP in a rare interview about his relationship with 18-year-old Bristol Palin. "We both want to marry each other. And that's what we are going to do."

    Paul Sancya, AP

    Levi Johnston called himself a "redneck' on his MySpace page.

    Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

    Sarah Palin initially hid her pregnancy with Trig from the public, causing rumors that Trig was her grandson via Bristol.

    Win McNamee, Getty Images

    Gov. Sarah Palin, her husband Todd, and daughters Bristol,16, right, and Piper, 5, at the end of a 2006 inauguration ceremony in Fairbanks. Palin, 42, is the first female and youngest governor of Alaska.

    Al Grillo, AP

    "Trig is beautiful and already adored by us," read a statement by the Palin when Trig was born on April 18. "We knew through early testing he would face special challenges, and we feel privileged that God would entrust us with this gift and allow us unspeakable joy as he entered our lives. We have faith that every baby is created for good purpose and has potential to make this world a better place. We are truly blessed."

    Paul J. Richards, AFP / Getty Images

    "Our beautiful daughter Bristol came to us with news that as parents we knew would make her grow up faster than we had ever planned," the Palins's statement said when they announced her pregnancy. "As Bristol faces the responsibilities of adulthood, she knows that she has our unconditional love and support."

    Robyn Beck, AFP/Getty Images

    Chuck Heath, 70, (pictured with wife Sally), Sarah Palin's father, said gift boxes for his newest grandson are piling up in the governor's mail room from all over the world. There's no way the family will ever be able to answer every letter, he said, although they are trying.

    Charlie Neibergall, AP

    Then-Republican U.S. vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, her daughters, Piper, Willow, and husband Todd walk out onto the ice to drop the ceremonial first puck before a St. Louis Blues and Los Angeles Kings hockey game.

    Whitney Curtis, Getty Images

    Sherry Johnston, Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston's other grandma -- besides Sarah Palin -- pled not guilty for charges of selling OxyContin. "I was in pain, and I'm still in pain," she told

    Al Grillo, AP

Johnston's sister is being a little tough on Sarah Palin; Bristol's family has publicly pledged to stand by her, but that doesn't necessarily mean they will stand by Levi Johnston or his relatives. Parents put their own kids first, honestly, and Sarah Palin may be supporting Bristol's choice to end things with Levi because she agrees that this is best for her daughter and grandson. And in light of Sherry Johnston's recent arrest for drug dealing, she may have a point.

Bristol's views may be changing as well -- she recently told Greta Van Susteren that abstinence is "not realistic at all," which is a far cry from her mother's abstinence-only beliefs. Maybe now she's decided that she and the baby would be better off with her family, or maybe, at 18, she's just not in love with Johnston any more. Who knows?

The bottom line is this: A new baby can strain a relationship under the best of circumstances; for young, unmarried parents, this stress can be even harder to manage. We hope, for baby Tripp's sake, that Bristol and Levi can have a healthy relationship.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.