Bristol Palin biography
Bristol Palin was born on October 18, 1990, in Wasilla, Alaska. Bristol is the eldest daughter, and second of four children, of Todd Palin and Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee. Bristol appeared as herself on The Secret Life of the American Teenager in 2010, and participated on the fall 2010 season of ABC's Dancing with the Stars. In 2012, she was invited back to the dance-competiton show for its 15th season: Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars.
Bristol Palin was born Bristol Sheeran Marie Palin on October 18, 1990, in Wasilla, Alaska. Bristol is the eldest daughter, and second of four children, of Todd Palin and Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee. Bristol's father, Todd Palin, worked for BP as an oil field production operator, and is currently a commercial fisherman and champion snowmobile racer.
Bristol Palin's first name carries a web of associations for both her parents: Of her daughter's name, Sarah Palin explained, "I worked at the Bristol Inn, and Todd grew up in Bristol Bay. But also, Bristol, Connecticut, is the home of ESPN. And when I was in high school, my desire was to be a sportscaster. ESPN was just kicking off, just getting off the ground, and I thought that's what I was going to do in life, is be one of the first woman sportscasters. Until I learned that you'd have to move to Bristol, Connecticut. It was far away. So instead, I had a daughter and named her Bristol."
According to her mother, as a child, Bristol Palin was "a neat freak and perfectionist," and is "kind of an old soul, mature beyond her years." Growing up with an uncommon work ethic and a great disdain for drama, Bristol potty trained herself at 14 months. She possessed an adult personality and strong motherly instincts from a very young age. "She didn't like gossip or wasting time," Sarah Palin once recalled, adding that just before her seventh birthday, Bristol said to her mother, "You are going to rent me a baby for my birthday."
For the first 16 years of her life, up to 2006, Bristol lived a fairly typical Alaskan childhood. She was a diligent and hardworking student who is described by her friends as fun and free-spirited. In 2006, Sarah Palin was elected governor of Alaska, and began splitting her time between Wasilla and Juneau, the state capital. This family upheaval caused Bristol to attend three different high schools—Juneau-Douglas High School in the capital; West Anchorage High School in Alaska's largest city (where Bristol briefly lived with an aunt); and Wasilla High School in her hometown.
Bristol's boyfriend throughout much of high school was Levi Johnston, the precociously handsome and well-liked star of the Wasilla Warriors hockey team. Outside of school hours, Palin worked at a local coffee shop for $7.25 an hour and dreamed of one day opening her own cafe with one of her cousins.
The year 2008, however, was filled with dramatic changes for Bristol that would transform her from an anonymous high school student into a national celebrity, stalked by paparazzi and subjected to speculation on gossip pages all across the country.
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.
'Dancing with the Stars'
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.
Palin has emerged as one of the top spokespeople for The Candie's Foundation, an organization dedicated to preventing teen pregnancy by encouraging abstinence. While some have called Palin's new role as an abstinence advocate ironic and hypocritical, Palin has a different take: "I don't think it's hypocritical at all. If you get lung cancer from smoking, why wouldn't you want to tell people, 'Hey, look, don't smoke.' Why wouldn't you want to be productive and share your story and do something positive with it?"
In 2011, Bristol published a memoir, Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far. In June 2012, she debuted as the star of a Lifetime reality show, Bristol Palin: Life's a Tripp, documenting her life as a single mother in Alaska.
Despite her many diverse pursuits—work, school, television, abstinence advocacy, writing a memoir and, in recent years, running a successful blog—Palin says that from now on her own life will always come second to her son Tripp's. "I just want Tripp to be happy and healthy," she has stated. However, her mother's daughter and an Alaskan through and through, Bristol has said of her son, "but it would be fun if he was an athlete. I know I'll be a hockey mom."