Pumpkin Shannon Opens Up About Her and Honey Boo Boo's 'Emotional' Reunion with Mama June: She 'Was a Complete 360'
After more than a year of not seeing their mother, Lauryn "Pumpkin" Shannon is opening up about the "emotional" reunion she and sister Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson had with June "Mama June" Shannon.
"Before when mom called us and [said], 'You want to meet up?' it had been a year. It had been a year since we've seen her and the last time I seen her was when you all saw last season, me sit down on the couch with her, and that was not the same person that I met this time," Pumpkin, 21, tells PEOPLE.
On Friday's episode of We tv's Mama June: Road to Redemption, Pumpkin and Alana came face-to-face with Mama June, 41. During a tearful sit-down chat, the two daughters reconciled with their mother while also discussing the pain she had caused due to her past drug addiction.
In March 2019, June was arrested on charges of possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia after she allegedly had crack cocaine and a crack pipe on her. Her boyfriend, Eugene Edward "Geno" Doak, was also arrested, PEOPLE previously reported.
Both were hit with felony charges for drug possession in September 2019. The couple's attorney entered not guilty pleas on their behalf the following month, a rep for the Macon County District Attorney's Office confirmed to PEOPLE at the time.
In April 2020, The Blast reported that an Alabama judge had ordered June's criminal trial to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, all hearings were reportedly pushed to the fall.
To help overcome her struggle with addiction, Mama June went to rehab to get sober — something she proved to be when her urine drug screen came back clean during her reunion with her daughters.
"This person was a complete 360 from that person. She had gained weight, she had on decent-looking clothes. She actually looked put together instead of just a shambled mess," says Pumpkin.
The reunion "was definitely a big day full of emotions for not only myself, but for Alana too, because it had been longer than over a year for Alana being able to see her," she explains.
"Because I tried to protect Alana from that type of person, because even me being now 21 years old, at the time, me physically going and doing that, that was already a toll on myself, on my mental health, on my physical health, seeing my mom like that and knowing there's nothing that I could do," she shares.
While the siblings were pleased to see their mother taking positive steps towards getting healthy, Pumpkin says time is necessary to get back to the place they once were as a family.
"Now that she's been in a sober mind, and she's been sober for at least a couple of months, and we knew that for a fact, I think it was very hard to just pick up where we left off, not for her, but for me and Alana it was," says Pumpkin.
She continues: "Because it's not like, overnight, she become an addict, she cause all this chaos overnight. She didn't do that. It took time. It took months to me to get Alana out of the house, her addiction to really start up and kick in. And it's going to take time to repair that, but mama just kind of expects it to go back to like, 'Oh, we're the same loving family and we're the same girls.' And it's just kind of not like that for us anymore."
"So it definitely was, I think, a lot more emotional for Alana just because I'd kind of shut myself off from that situation," adds Pumpkin.
Following Mama June's arrest, Pumpkin became 15-year-old Alana's legal guardian — a role that the older sister says "is very hard" to juggle.
"In the beginning," Pumpkin says "it was super hard to function" playing both sister and mom to Alana. "Because like I said, the sister is supposed to let you get away with everything, and that's where you're supposed to come when mom is getting on your nerves."
"And then it turned into me having to be a parent also, which is very complicated for me because I'm used to raising a 3-year-old. Alana's 15, that's completely different. And I know how I was at 15 and everything," shares Pumpkin, who is mom to 3-year-old daughter Ella with husband Joshua Efird.
But as time has passed, "now I feel like it's so much easier," says Pumpkin. "Because in the beginning when I got Alana, she was just this shutdown teenager who didn't want to speak about her feelings. And that was very hard for at least a couple of months. She stayed angry at me because of mama's addiction and things like that, but we've definitely worked past that."
Now, Pumpkin and Mama June are working towards mending their relationship and creating news memories.
"For two years, we were on my mom's time. We were on Geno's time. We were on the addiction clock basically. So now I just kind of feel like she had to give us that space. And now I do feel like mentally, physically, emotionally, I'm in a place to make amends with my mom and be able to call her up and be like, 'Oh, Ella started school today.' Or, 'Hey, we're taking Ella fishing,' or something like that," she says. "It's definitely a lot easier having her around than it was not having her around."
Since reconciling, Pumpkin's daughter Ella is also making new memories with grandma Mama June, who lives in Florida.
"It does suck because she does live six hours away. She lives in Florida. And it not only sucks for me, but it sucks for Ella too, because she's now gotten used to Gigi being around. And before, Gigi wasn't around. And now that she has that, she's kind of like, 'Why does Gigi have to go back?'" says Pumpkin.
And although Pumpkin still doesn't see eye-to-eye with Mama June's boyfriend Doak, she's come to terms with their relationship.
"I just had to come to terms with the fact that my mom and him are going to be a thing. And if that is who she's going to continue to choose, not necessarily that I have to get over it, but I play nice because that is who she's with," she says. "But I also know at the end of the day, I'm not too concerned with talking with him about what he did in the past, because honestly I don't care anymore."
Ultimately, "I'm just at a place where I just want to fix things with my mom and move on," says Pumpkin.
Mama June: Road to Redemption airs Fridays (9 p.m. ET) on We tv.
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