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The daughter of former governor of Alaska and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, Bristol Palin appeared as herself on The Secret Life of the American Teenager in 2010, and has participated on ABC's Dancing with the Stars.
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In August 2008, Republican nominee John McCain selected Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate in the 2008 presidential elections. Then, on September 1, 2008, the McCain-Palin campaign publicly announced that Bristol Palin, then only 17 years old, was pregnant with the child of her boyfriend Levi Johnston. The announcement immediately set off a media firestorm,
in part because of Sarah Palin's political stances against abortion and in favor of abstinence-only sex education.
Of breaking the news of her pregnancy to her parents, Bristol once recalled, "I remember sitting on the couch with one of my best friends and Levi, and I just couldn't spit it out. I was like, 'Mom, Mom.' I was bawling my eyes out. She was like, 'What's wrong?' And I was like, 'I'm pregnant.' And she was like, 'Oh my God. Holy crap.' But once that part was over with and Tripp was here, it was just like, this baby is a blessing." Describing her and Todd's reaction to their daughter's pregnancy in her memoir, Sarah Palin recalls, "We were not giddy happy that our unwed teenage daughter was pregnant, as the press release suggested. Todd and I were proud of Bristol's selfless decision to have her baby and her determination to deal with difficult circumstances by taking responsibility for her actions. But in no way did I want to send the message that teenage pregnancy was something to endorse, much less glamorize."
Bristol gave birth to her son, Tripp Palin, on December 27, 2008, and since then her life has been entirely transformed. "It didn't hit me that I was going to be a parent until Tripp was like four months old," Palin says. "And I was like, 'Oh yeah, this is reality. I haven't slept in a week and I'm exhausted.' It's a 24-hour job and that's a huge responsibility. Your priorities completely change once you have a baby." She added, "It's just, like, I'm not living for myself anymore."
Although Bristol and Johnston were briefly engaged, they soon split ways, with Johnston making tabloid headlines after posing nude for Playgirl magazine and having an affair with another young woman. Bristol recently told an interviewer that Johnston "is a stranger to me. I don't want to get into it. It's just dirty laundry."
Palin graduated from high school in 2009. Since then, she has embarked on a life that is decidedly more adult. She began working as a medical assistant in a dermatologist's office, and living on her own in a condo that she purchased herself. She also began taking community college courses in business.
Palin has not entirely relinquished the spotlight that was focused on her during her mother's 2008 campaign: She appeared as herself on The Secret Life of the American Teenager, and participated on the fall 2010 season of ABC's celebrity dance-competition show, Dancing with the Stars.
In 2012, Bristol was invited back to Dancing with the Stars for the show's 15th season: Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars.
Palin is also using her celebrity to promote a cause with which she feels a deep personal connection: Teen pregnancy prevention.
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The famous dance-competition show Dancing with the Stars has seen more than a dozen seasons and a gamut of stars, including Apolo Anton Ohno, Kirstie Alley, Joey Fatone, Jennifer Grey, David Hasselhoff, Buzz Aldrin, Brandy, Wynonna Judd, Dorothy Hamill, D.L. Hughley, Mýa, Jacoby Jones, Ingo Rademacher and Aly Raisman. Learn more about the show's contestants, who, for a period, swapped their skills as athletes, actors, musicians, comedians, TV personalities and politicians for a chance to show off their footwork on national TV.
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