A superstar was born when the producers of TLC’s Toddlers & Tiaras caught Alana Thompson saying, “A dolla make me holla, honey boo boo,” in 2012. America could not get enough of Alana’s over-the-top antics — and her redneck family, including sisters Jessica “Chubbs” Shannon, Anna “Chickadee” Cardwell, Lauryn “Pumpkin” Shannon, her father Mike “Sugar Bear” Thompson, and of course, the beautimous matriarch, “Mama June” Shannon.
In August 2012, the family scored their own reality show, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, which ran for four seasons through 2014, introducing us Honey Boo Boo-isms like gay Uncle Poodle, sketti — butter, spaghetti noodles, and ketchup — and armpit fudge… until the show was canceled before its fifth season aired due to Mama June’s reported relationship with a convicted child molester, per TMZ. The family could not stay away from the airwaves for long, and Mama June began to document her weight-loss journey in 2017’s Mama June: From Not to Hot. The WE TV show ran for three seasons before it was rebranded in 2020 to include “Family Crisis” in its name following June’s 2019 arrest for drug possession.
It’s clear this family doesn’t mind hashing out their drama on the small screen, but at what cost? After legal battles, splurges, and personal crises, these Honey Boo Boo stars aren’t as rich as you’d think.
The Shannon family had a pretty sweet deal when their show started
Considering Alana Thompson went viral for her hilarious Toddlers & Tiaras appearance, it came as no surprise that Here Comes Honey Boo Boo was a massive, albeit controversial, hit upon its 2012 premiere. According to The Hollywood Reporter, its colorful debut episode netted 2.2 million viewers, with NJ.com deeming it a mixture of “offensive and outrageous” and “must-see TV.”
The series was a huge hit for TLC, but it was a pretty sweet deal for the Shannon-Thompson family, as well. Following reports that the family was only taking home $4000 an episode in its first season, TMZ reported that June Shannon scoffed and “[made] it clear her family is raking in a good deal more.” Although the money surely didn’t hurt, Shannon stressed that her daughter’s well-being was her first priority that year, telling Channel Guide Magazine, “I look at Alana as a 6-year-old child, bottom line. I don’t look at her as a celebrity … But we’re having fun. And when Alana says it’s not fun anymore, then we don’t do it anymore.” In 2020, The U.S. Sun estimated that the family made $2.75 million before taxes from its 55 episodes on TLC.
Honey Boo Boo was making 50 thousand per episode
A dollar may make her holler, but Alana Thompson certainly has more than a couple of bucks to her name. Honey Boo Boo herself is worth $500 thousand, according to Celebrity Net Worth, and Thompson reportedly took home $50 thousand an episode during her TLC show’s run. After Here Comes Honey Boo Boo ended in 2014, Thompson told Oprah Winfrey on Where Are They Now that she felt “kind of happy about that, but at the same time, [she] was sad.”
Her show biz hiatus didn’t last for long, though, as she released her own song “Movin’ Up” the next year, before joining her mother’s WE TV reality show Mama June: From Not to Hot in 2017. Thompson later bolstered her profile with a stint on Dancing With the Stars Juniors in 2018, placing eighth in the competition.
Although Mama June fell on hard times in 2019, Thompson’s assets are protected as the family hired an attorney to ensure Shannon couldn’t steal from her savings, according to TMZ. In addition to appearing on Mama June, Thompson sells her own merchandise on Instagram and runs her own Cameo account, which reportedly earned her thousands of dollars within her first few days on the platform in 2020, per Blast.
Mama June is worth a lot less than her daughter
Although Hollywood Life estimates June Shannon is worth over $1 million, Celebrity Net Worth pegs the reality TV star’s net worth down at $50 thousand. Despite Mama June’s infamous one-liners, spin-off reality show, and heavy media coverage on her weight loss transformation, her spending habits seem to suggest a figure somewhere closer to the latter.
However, it’s not for lack of trying. Between a gig on Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars in 2015 and a strip club tour in 2016 that reportedly netted her $20,000 (via TMZ), it’s clear that June Shannon knows how to cash out on her star status. After calling it quits with Alana Thompson’s father Mike “Sugar Bear” Thompson, in 2014 (via E!), Shannon began dating Geno Doak in 2015, according to The Sun. After spending $75 thousand on plastic surgery in 2017 (via People) and debuting a stunning slimmer look, it seems Mama June and her beau fell off the wagon. In a June 2020 episode of Mama June: From Not to Hot: Family Crisis, Shannon revealed that, at one time, the couple had a “$2,500 a day, if not more” meth habit.
Reports from TMZ in 2020 seem to suggest that Shannon and Doak remain homeless and are bouncing from hotel to hotel, but it seems this mama is working hard to get her finances together. She became a paid ambassador for the weight loss program Boombod and launched her own merchandise line on Instagram in 2020.
Mama June's indiscretions have cost the family
From their TLC show’s cancellation to the heated season four of Mama June, Mama June Shannon’s personal life has certainly dealt her family their fair share of drama and financial woes. In March 2019, Shannon and her boyfriend Geno Doak were arrested for possession of crack cocaine and drug paraphernalia in Alabama, according to People, and that was just the start of their problems.
Shannon’s drug addiction led to Alana Thompson, Lauryn, her husband Josh Efird, and their daughter getting evicted from their home in October 2019, according to The U.S. Sun. According to the outlet, June sold the house “at a huge loss for fast cash” the next month. On the show, June told her daughter that she only sold the house because she “was dead f**king broke.” Months later, in January 2020, June and Doak were kicked out of a Residence Inn Marriott in Georgia after racking up a $2,000 bill they couldn’t pay for, according to TMZ, and the outlet later reported that she had pawned a diamond ring for a quick $1,500 days later.
Mama June is trying to turn it around
At the time of this writing, June Shannon appears to still be with her boyfriend Geno Doak; however, it sounds like the two have made major moves to transform their life. Although Mama June: From Not to Hot: Family Crisis bore her name, TMZ reported that she didn’t receive any payment for most of the season as she was “not an active participant” and did not sit down for interviews. However, by the conclusion of the season, which finished airing in June 2020, Shannon and Doak had completed a 30-day rehabilitation program. According to The U.S. Sun, Shannon had also re-established communication with her daughters.
By the end of October 2020, she and Doak were 9 months clean, according to a post she made on Instagram. That month, Shannon celebrated with another makeover, this time getting her teeth fixed after losing most of her “back teeth” from her drug addiction, according to Inside Edition. Shannon told the outlet that at the peak of her addiction, she and Doak had blown through $700,000 “in seven or eight months.”
Although she is awaiting sentencing for her 2019 arrest, Shannon has a fresh smile to match her new lease on life and added that her relationship with her daughters is “a work in progress.”
Lauryn 'Pumpkin' Shannon has had to pick up the pieces
Between her starring roles in both Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and Mama June: From Not to Hot, Lauryn “Pumpkin” Shannon is reportedly worth $200 thousand, per Celebrity Net Worth. In 2018, she married boyfriend Joshua Efird in Vegas, according to People, after giving birth to their daughter, Ella Grace, in December 2017.
Although Shannon’s family is a household name, she and her husband’s financial problems have been a recurring topic on Mama June, especially after becoming sister Alana Thompson’s “de facto guardian” (via TMZ) following their mother’s arrest in 2019. “It’s obviously been a crazy experience because we went basically from raising a 2-year-old overnight to now raising a 2-year-old and a 14-year-old,” Shannon told ET in 2020. “It’s really stressful.”
However, the mother of one knows a good hustle. In addition to selling Cameos, Shannon is also a paid ambassador for the weight loss program Boombod, whom she advertises for on Instagram.
'Sugar Bear' Thompson and his new wife aren't doing much better
Although Mike “Sugar Bear” Thompson and June Shannon called it quits years ago, Honey Boo Boo’s father has remained in the limelight. While Here Comes Honey Boo Boo was canceled by TLC before its fifth season could air, TMZ reported in 2014 that Thompson got his full payout for the season. However, Thompson didn’t have much to work with after his split with Mama June, considering Shannon reportedly “hoarded all the money the family got and doled out an allowance for him,” per TMZ. When Honey Boo Boo’s family got a second shot at television with 2017’s Mama June: From Not to Hot, Thompson returned with his new wife Jennifer Lamb, allowing cameras to document their wedding for the show (via Us Weekly).
Thompson’s second happily ever after didn’t quite pan out: because he was not legally declared Alana’s father, Thompson couldn’t get visitation rights. While he began to pursue legal options in 2018, the prospect of having to pay child support appeared to be an issue for him and his new wife. “We can’t even finish saving up for our honeymoon,” Lamb said on the show. “So, how are we going to pay child support?” Later, when Thompson and Lamb moved to take over custody of Alana after Shannon’s arrest in 2019, Lauryn, Alana’s temporary guardian, questioned their motives on the show, calling Lamb “a shady a** b**ch.”
Uncle Poodle couldn't pay his hospital bills
Lee Thompson, Mike’s brother, is better known as Uncle Poodle after his hilarious appearances on Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, most notably when Alana made her family’s stance on the LGBTQ community — and her gay uncle — clear by stating, “Ain’t nothin’ wrong with bein’ a little gay. Everybody’s a little gay.” Unfortunately, Lee has had a rough time living his life as an openly gay man in the south and navigating life after reality television.
In 2013, Lee bravely opened up about being HIV-positive in an interview with Atlanta gay magazine Fenuxe (via Daily Mail) and was set to appear in the unaired fifth season of Honey Boo Boo. Although according to TMZ, he was reportedly paid for his part in the axed season, he did not take losing the source of income well. In 2014, R Online reported that Lauryn “Pumpkin” Shannon had accused Lee of selling fake stories to tabloids about June’s relationships in a smear campaign retaliating for the show’s cancellation.
Although the posts have since been deleted, it’s unclear whether or not the family has reconciled. Considering that Lee suffered from a health scare in January 2015 and TMZ reported that none of his family showed up, we’d say their relationship is still on the rocks, and things don’t sound great for Lee’s bank account: his $150,000 hospital bill for the incident and his lack of health insurance appeared to be a problem.
Anna Cardwell works at Walmart
Anna “Chickadee” Cardwell, Honey Boo Boo’s half-sister, has been hard at work to support her own family. According to The U.S. Sun, Cardwell is living in Georgia and dating Eldridge Toney as of 2020. The outlet reported that she separated from her husband Michael Cardwell in 2017 and has been focused on raising her two daughters: Kylee and Kaitlyn, whom audiences will remember was born with an extra thumb — although Us Weekly reported she had it removed in 2016.
Cardwell works at Walmart, and even though she promoted season four of Mama June: From Not to Hot: Family Crisis on Instagram, she seems to have separated herself from reality television. Ahead of the show’s premiere, June Shannon told ET (via Little Things) that her relationship with her eldest daughter has some “issues,” and she wanted Cardwell to “stop being so selfish.”
Despite her day job at Walmart, Cardwell seems to be doing just fine financially. According to TMZ, she spent over $47,000 on plastic surgery in early 2020, and like most of her family, she makes a few bucks hawking Boombod products on Instagram.
Jessica Shannon is making her family proud
Jessica “Chubbs” Shannon has worked hard to separate herself from her affectionate nickname during her Here Comes Honey Boo Boo days. In 2018, she became the first in the Shannon-Thompson clan to graduate college, according to a post from Mama June on Instagram. Shannon continues to make some money from her appearances on Mama June: From Not to Hot, although her involvement is rather limited. She appeared on season four of the show after her mother reportedly “pawned the title to her daughter’s car,” leading to its repossession, per Heavy.
Although her exact net worth is unknown, Jessica seems to be doing just fine. She works as a paid ambassador for Boombod on Instagram, and in 2020, she took her body transformation goals to the next level. According to TMZ, Jessica reportedly spent over $80,000 on plastic surgery and has plans to become “a plus-sized model and meet a man.” For her part, Jessica was especially candid about going under the knife on social media, writing, “[I] can’t wait for y’all to see my new look and weight loss.”
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