Levi Johnston: Out of the Great White North Comes This Son of Alaska Telling His Side of the Story About His Son Tripp, His Ex-Girlfriend Bristol Palin, Former Governor of Alaska and 2008 Republican Veep Candidate Sarah Palin and More; From his Book Deer in The Headlights: My Life in Sarah Palin’s Crosshairs
Levi Johnston fathered a son, Tripp, with Bristol Palin, daughter of the former Governor of Alaska and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
Mr. Johnston’s last few years have been drama packed. He came to the public’s attention at the 2008 Republican National Convention, when the Palin family was introduced to the nation. Recently, Levi put out a memoir titled Deer in The Headlights: My Life in Sarah Palin’s Crosshairs, where he takes us through his account of his life and experiences with then girlfriend Bristol as well as the former Governor and the entire Palin family.
In Levi’s CYInterview, he shares his experiences and frustrations regarding various topics. Whatever your prior impression of Levi might be, it is possible your view of him may change after reading or listen to the entire CYInterview below:
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Chris Yandek: After finishing the book and closing it, one word came to mind to describe your life and the word is mess. Is that how you’ve felt these last few years?
Levi Johnston: “Definitely. That’s a good way to explain it. It’s been a tough ride. It’s been very difficult for not only myself, but my family as well.”
CY: You know, I understand you go through things and you have to go through experiences growing up. Life can’t prepare two young, immature people who are growing and trying to learn through their own experiences, but isn’t there part of you that says to yourself, ‘What was I thinking? and that both of you in some ways were naive?
LJ: “Yeah. I mean, a little bit. Sure.”
CY: Do you feel like no matter what, there was no way you could be ready for any of this and through it all, these things, you say to yourself, you know, I’m gonna be regretting some things for a very long time?
LJ: “Yeah. It has been tough. But, you know, a lot of hard decisions I’ve had to make, but at the same time you know I still, I don’t regret any of them.”
CY: As you mentioned in the book, you know, had Sarah Palin never became John McCain’s running mate, you and Bristol would probably be living the quiet life together and you would probably still be together and you and me wouldn’t be sitting here today. Do you agree with that assessment?
LJ: “Oh yeah. I definitely strongly feel that way. The media’s put, made it very hard for us to live a normal life and has put a lot of stress and it’s just been a big problem.”
CY: Continuing to move along here, I just wonder you know if you look back on this entire experience and you say to yourself, you know, maybe I shouldn’t have done this or maybe I shouldn’t have done that, is there anything that comes to mind?
LJ: “Oh you know, even like Playgirl. There’s a lot of decisions I’ve made that probably weren’t exactly the right ones. I wouldn’t say they’re the wrong ones, but you know, I did everything for a reason and it’s been quite the ride.”
CY: In this book, you talk about that numerous jobs you had before Bristol delivered Tripp. I knew none of this about you, you know, that you had these jobs, that you were supporting Bristol, that you were trying to be the best man you can, make the best of the situation. Do you feel like the media never really took time to learn your side of the story?
LJ: “No. They definitely didn’t and that’s you know, most definitely why I wrote the book. They didn’t know who I was. They thought I was just thrown out there and I was looking for fame, but you know, I was raised a lot differently at a very young age to work. I had to work for everything I ever got. I was an electrician and I worked on the North Slope just like most Alaskans do. You know, so they definitely made me out to just look like a fool.”
CY: Was the only reason you started talking to the media and started going on shows like Tyra Banks because you didn’t want people thinking you were a deadbeat dad and you just wanted to get your side of the story out? Was that the main reason?
LJ: “That was a lot of it. Yes. And for my son to read when he’s older, you know, I didn’t want them feeding him lies and telling them that I’m a deadbeat father, I’m this, I’m that. I don’t want to see him, whatever the case may be. Then they started talking bad about my mother and my sister. That’s really when it hits home with me and that’s not ok.”
CY: Looking at this entire scenario, you’re saying to yourself, the reason I went out and I went into the media is because I want my son to know that I stuck up for what I believe for him and I didn’t want him to think that I was one thing. You wanted him when he grows up to see both sides of the story correct?
LJ: “Definitely. That’s the main reason you know for my son and for you know for my mother and sister to stick up for them who had completely no part of this and didn’t ask for any of it. You know, so I felt like I needed to support my whole family.”
CY: Is your plan to make as much money as possible you know off your name with this book and other things because you’ve dealt with drama and then when it’s finally over you’re gonna go work with your dad on a business plan and leave the spotlight altogether correct? Do you think, is that’s what your plan is? Is that what your thinking is?
LJ: “Well, it’s all great. I mean, I get different offers like the reality show that I’ve been filming. You know if that happens great, if it doesn’t it doesn’t. And you know, my all time ultimate goal since I was little is to become a pilot and become a hunting guide. And if that’s the life that I’m going to be living soon that’s great. That’s what I’ve always wanted. So as far as milking the whole money thing from all this, if it happens great, if not, then I’m still gonna live a good life back in Alaska.”
CY: So what do you say to the people who say hasn’t this guy said his piece already? Why doesn’t he go away quietly? It seems you have a lot of critics out there definitely as far as that goes.
LJ: “There’s a lot of people who hate me and there’s a lot of people who support me just like everybody else in this world. You know, the minute I shut up is the minute Sarah and Bristol started talking or writing another book and slamming me again. So it really as much as I’d like it to be it really is an almost never ending process and it is very frustrating to. People gotta understand, I don’t like waking up and going and talking about my ex-girlfriend. You know, it causes problems with my new girlfriend that I’ve been dating for 11 months. My family doesn’t like it. So it’s not fun to do this and people need to understand that. I’m doing it for the right reasons and not so much the money and fame.”
CY: So you’ve had a girlfriend for 11 months? You’ve moved on?
LJ: “I have. Yes.”
CY: I think that people would be quite surprised to know that, that haven’t heard this, you know. So you’re basically saying to the world is you know what, I don’t want to be out there every day, I don’t want to be on these media programs, I don’t want to have to be talking about these things, but the minute that I stop talking Bristol, Sarah or whoever else from the Palin camp is talking about me knocking me one way or another direction. So I feel like I have to, you know stand up for myself and comment on every statement. Is that you’re thinking?
LJ: “Yeah definitely. I mean, there’s only so much you can take of somebody talking bad about you and this isn’t only coming from only Bristol and Sarah, the Palin’s family, it’s coming from all the bloggers and everybody else in this world who have never once met me or my family or have no clue about anybody. They don’t know me, they don’t know Bristol, they don’t know anything. And they sit there and love to believe that they know everything about me and I’m just this horrible, bad guy and it’s ridiculous. And there comes a time where you really gotta just stand up on your own two feet and kind of take control over this. I mean, when everybody else in this world and this town, I live in a small town and they start hearing all this and believing this it’s not good.”
CY: You and others who lived and knew the Palins personally, describe both Sarah and Todd as parents who don’t really parent. They live with their kids, but it’s not like there always there to take care of them. The parents and the kids kind of just do their own thing separately is how you describe it. You tell many stories about how they would just leave money for the kids for food and Bristol was a parent to her younger siblings. Are you saying to me that Todd and Sarah have kids, of course, but there is no parenting to these kids?
LJ: “Yeah. I wasn’t saying, I’m sure there are times that they do parent. But more than not when I was there for the many years, I was there dating Bristol, Todd was either on the slope, screwing around with his snow machine, you know, getting ready for the Iron Dog. Sarah was off running around a lot and Bristol was the mother of that family. She took care of Willow. She took care of Piper, they did homework, we cooked, we hung out, we watched TV together and that was it.
I mean, Sarah and them were gone. When they were home, she was on her blackberry, she was in her bedroom. She was there but she wasn’t around if you know what I mean? She wasn’t social with the kids. She didn’t. It was different. I didn’t grow up like that at all. I came home; both parents were there to help me with my homework; we had a family dinner; we watched a movie; we did everything together. It was just so much different then how I grew up.”
CY: In the book you describe Sarah Palin as ‘stupid-smart’ is what you say. What did you mean by that?
LJ: “Well, Sarah is a very, very intelligent, intelligent woman. To a certain point I respect her in a big way. She has accomplished something that nobody can really say they have. I mean, she’s one of very few people. And, but at the same time, I mean, she gets caught in so many small lies even as far as to what newspaper you read, what TV shows you read [sic], just little stuff like that and especially stuff I caught her in like I wasn’t there for my son being born. Like, really? I was there on the other side of Bristol holding her other hand. Like, she’s, just as far as the stupid part, she just makes up the smallest lies that make no sense to why would you even try it, why would you do that.”
CY: You mentioned that, you know say you’re in the delivery room with Sarah and Bristol is about to give birth, you two are the only ones there, no one else is there and Sarah says down the road in a statement you’re not even there. How does that happen?
LJ: “I honestly don’t see how that happens. I mean, I go through it all in the book. Long story short, I was at their cabin with Todd and Willow and we get a phone call Sarah and Bristol are heading to the hospital, she’s going into Labor. Todd and I jet back on our snow machines in the middle of the night in the pitch black, get to my truck, I leave. Todd goes back to the cabin for Willow, the younger girl. I drive all the way two hours in the dark all the way to the hospital. I get there, she ends up having Tripp at like 5:53 in the morning. I was there four, five hours in time, so I was plenty good. Sarah was on the left hand side of Bristol holding her hand and I was on the right and we had Tripp. So for her to come out and say some sh** that something that’s so, such a big lie and just so stupid, why when I could literally go to the hospital and prove that I was there. I don’t know why she would do that.”
CY: The way you describe it, it would seem Bristol wanted to get back at her mom. Did she want to get pregnant and have a child to get even with Sarah?
LJ: “I mean, part of it might have been that and a lot of it was. That’s the whole reason we got pregnant is we talk about it previous knowing Sarah’s pregnant again with Trigg, but that really sparked Bristol. We had Trigg now, she had another little baby, she loved kids. That’s really what got us going on this.”
CY: Do you think Bristol has identity issues? That she has no idea who she is or what she wants for herself? It seems that way, the best way you describe it in the book.
LJ: “Definitely. I mean, she’s always been kind of uncomfortable with herself as much as I told her she’s beautiful and I loved her and we were getting married. She was never comfortable with herself. She tries four jobs; she’d quit; she’d do a different one. She never had her mindset set on one thing in life. She just kind of bounced around and kind of did what her mom told her. You know now she’s apparently got all the plastic surgery done. She’s trying to do other Hollywood things and I think she’s definitely lost and that’s another big thing. I wanted to write this book, they say I’m in Hollywood and L.A. I have never. I’ve had the same house for three or four years now. I wear flannels. I’m nothing but camouflage, big pickup truck. I’m still a country boy and you know, that Hollywood thing is not me at all. That’s not who I am.”
CY: How often do you talk to Bristol today and how often do you see your son?
LJ: “I don’t see me son near often as I’d like to. Fortunately we will be going to court soon and I’m looking forward to that so we can get everything set in stone with my son and as far as Bristol, you know I don’t talk to her much. When I do we keep it to about Tripp and that’s it.”
CY: So you’re telling me the custody has not been worked out yet?
CY: You know, Looking at politics and America today Levi, I just wonder if you feel like that maybe this country lacks leadership and me and my colleague [Jay Bildstein] have been talking with members of Congress, political figures and he’s brought up a proposal that he believes you know that the members of Congress, the president, the vice president of the United States of America should take a 50 percent pay cut of their salary to lead by example. Do you think the government should take some kind of pay cut to lead by example to show leadership?
LJ: “You know, that’s hard to say. I don’t follow politics much. But there’s no difference than any other job out here I’m gonna go with. I mean, electricians and that’s how I’m looking at it. It’s just a job. It’s the path they choose. So, they’re entitled to what they were, their, money, they’re entitled to everything they signed up for. If they’re doing their job then I don’t think they should.”
CY: What do you hope people take away from your life story and what is your message?
LJ: “I wrote it just to kind of to give them an idea of you know where I was, what I came from and what I kind of got thrown into, you know without choice and basically what I made out of it and to kind of clear up everything that was told about my family and myself, about all the lies. You know, then a little bit about Alaska, I mean it’s all in there and I think it’s, it took me a long time to write it and I think it’s a good book.”
CY: It’s an interesting story definitely. You know, we get to learn about the fishing and all the jobs that you had. Again, I just think the most interesting thing in closing with you Levi is that you were working all these jobs; you were actually being responsible; you were getting ready for the birth of your son; you weren’t just playing around, not being responsible and the media really painted you that way.
LJ: “Yeah. That’s, the media, I’ve learned a lot these last few years. I’ve really grown up and seen kinda how the world works in that kind of light. So it’s definitely a frustrating thing to see. They definitely did me for the wrong.”
You can find more information and purchase a copy of Levi Johnston’s book Here
You can email Chris Yandek at ChrisYandek@CYInterview.com
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