Fans of the hit TLC reality show Here Comes Honey Boo Boo were shocked yesterday to learn that series matriarch Mama June and her long time partner, Sugar Bear, recently separated. Photographs published by TMZ that showed Here Comes Honey Boo Boo star Mama June without her “wedding” ring only served to confirm the split.
TMZ initially reported that sources close to the family at the center of Honey Boo Boo said that Mama June, whose real name is June Shannon, is convinced Sugar Bear, whose real name is Mike Thompson, is cheating on her. TMZ points Sugar Bear’s alleged plentyoffish.com profile as proof of his infidelity. Initial reports were that Mama June intended to see through the rest of filming, then take the children and move out to be closer to her family.
Later, Mama June and Sugar Bear confirmed the split. June said, “Sugar Bear and I have decided to take some time apart to figure out some things in our relationship. We are taking things day by day but regardless of what happens the girls will always be our #1 priority. We want to thank ya’ll for your support.”
So that means that the next season of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo won’t include Sugar Bear, right?
Not according to TLC. TMZ reports that the network, which has aired Here Comes Honey Boo Boo since the family’s popularity led to a spin-off from Toddlers & Tiaras in 2012, says they have no intention of firing Sugar Bear. Sources with inside knowledge of the production say that the network feels “Sugar Bear is the father of the show’s star, and the story line would be “ridiculously incomplete without including him.”
The network executives may be right not to fire Sugar Bear. A poll conducted by TMZ reveals that 66 percent of readers think Here Comes Honey Boo Boo can’t survive the split, especially not if Sugar Bear leaves the show.
Predictably, Season 5 and Season 6 of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo will deal with the separation, as well as “dating, single parenting, breakups.”
Meanwhile, sources connected to the show say the production team is scrambling to make sure the children and Mama June are in the emotional shape to continue. Sources cite the difficulties with another high profile TLC family reality show, Jon & Kate Plus 8, as the main cause for concern. Jon & Kate did not survive the titular couple’s divorce after subsequent seasons focused on the emotional turmoil it placed on their children. Recent photographs of 6-year-old series star Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson seem to show the stress is already effecting her.
There’s been no word yet from TLC on when the season of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo currently in production will air.