After June “Mama June” Shannon shot to fame with Toddlers & Tiaras and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, her looks, and everything else about her, came under some pretty intense scrutiny. This was a woman, after all, who appeared on TV with “neck crust.” But, come 2017, she decided to transform herself.
During her Honey Boo Boo days, Mama June, 37, was actually quite proud of her weight, or at least not unhappy about it. “Granted, I ain’t the most beautimous out of the box,” she said during the show’s 2012 premiere. She then added, “but put a little paint on this barn and shine it back onto its original condition ’cause it shines up and looks like it’s brand new.”
However, people weren’t happy about the unhealthy lifestyle she and her family seemed to be promoting. On the show, they were all seen happily making and eating “sketti,” a combination of noodles, ketchup and butter, melted in the microwave. At that point, June weighed in excess of 300 pounds.
People were angry that June not only seemed unconcerned about her own health, but the health of her children as well. Sometimes she gave her daughter, Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson, a concoction called “Go Go Juice,” a combination of Mountain Dew and Red Bull. June defended herself by simply saying there were worse things she could give her.
At one point June revealed on the show that she would have liked to reduce her weight to 270 pounds. Indeed, maybe Here Comes Honey Boo Boo would have shown more of her weight loss journey. However, in 2014 the smash hit reality show was suddenly canceled in a storm of unpleasant controversy.
In 2014 it transpired that Mama June was most likely romantically involved with a man who had been found guilty of child molestation. But not just any child. Molestation of June’s eldest daughter, Anna Cardwell, no less. This was, of course, a very serious allegation, and one June denied.
“The statement of me dating a sex offender is totally untrue,” June claimed in a Facebook video in 2014. “I would not ever, ever, ever, ever put my kids in danger. I love them too much.” Her other daughter, Lauryn “Pumpkin” Shannon, also denied the claims. But the damage was done. TLC canceled all production of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.
That could have killed her career, but Mama June was just too good a reality TV star for the world to really let go of. Though her spotlight dimmed a little, she continued to be famous. When she and her partner, Mike Thompson, a.k.a “Sugar Bear,” split up, it still made headlines. It was at this point Mama June decided to lose some weight.
June, now considering herself a woman scorned, began her quest for the “revenge body.” Cameras and the media, naturally, were still following her around at all times, and in July 2015 she revealed to them that she had dropped 60 pounds after hiring a personal trainer. But she wasn’t going to stop there.
In May 2016 June opted to get a gastric sleeve, a surgical weight-loss procedure which reduces the stomach size by an incredible 85 percent. After that came the plastic surgery. In August 2016 she appeared on the reality TV show Botched, to seek removal of the excess skin left over from the weight loss.
However, June was told by the Botched doctors Dr. Paul Nassif and Dr. Terry Dubrow that she had to lose an extra 75 pounds before she could have a tummy tuck. She agreed, saying, “This will be my reward for everything that I’ve done.” June was clearly on a mission to make positive changes in her life.
In the end, Mama June ended up having a lot of operations. She underwent the tummy tuck she wanted, but she also had excess skin removed on her stomach, neck and arms, had a breast lift, and had liposuction. The cost of all those procedures came to over $50,000, and she paid for them herself.
During all of these operations, cameras had been trained on Mama June. The reason? Another reality TV show, of course. This one was called Mama June: From Not to Hot, and it would be aired in February 2017. Advertising for the show promised viewers would “see the impossible become possible.”
In order to keep the shocks and surprises of the TV show a secret, June had to essentially go into hiding before the reveal of her new body took place. Her daughter Pumpkin told ET that her mother wasn’t even able to go out to the store to shop in case someone spotted her and snapped a picture.
But not everyone necessarily wanted to see the further adventures of Mama June, least of all her estranged daughter, Anna. Speaking to E! News in March 2017, Anna questioned her mother’s motivations. “I think she did it just to be more famous. I don’t think she did it just for her because she never mentioned anything ever before about getting plastic surgery.”
Mama June didn’t see it that way, of course. “With or without cameras, I was going to do this journey no matter what,” she told iHeartRadio that same month. She also revealed that she would happily let her own daughters have plastic surgery if it would help them be “more confident.”
Whatever her true motivations were, no one can deny her hard work has paid off. Indeed, she came out the other side looking astoundingly different. From Not to Hot even filmed her turning up at Sugar Bear’s wedding to humiliate him, clad in a sexy red dress.
Unfortunately, shortly after that event, things took a turn for Mama June. She woke up from her bed in agony. She called her bodyguard and her daughters, telling them that the pain was “excruciating” and worse than anything she had ever felt in her life. Her concerned family immediately rushed her to the hospital.
The exact reason for June’s pain will, in true reality TV show style, not be revealed until the moment she wants it to be revealed. But her social media activity since the hospitalization indicates that whatever went wrong isn’t permanent or something to be overly concerned about.
June is now down to a size four. That’s a size that would have seemed unthinkable when she first showed up on Toddlers & Tiaras. “I thought of myself as being sexy before,” she told People in April 2017. “Now, I’m the sh*t.” In fact, to use her earlier turn of phrase, she shined up.