The "Dog the Bounty Hunter" star gets real with momlogic.
"Baby" Lyssa Chapman, 22, is pregnant with her second child ... and bounty hunting with her dad on their reality show, "Dog the Bounty Hunter." She sat down with momlogic to talk about catching criminals while carrying a child, being a teen mother, and even "Jon and Kate Plus 8."
momlogic: Congrats on your pregnancy! How far along are you?
Lyssa: I'm 32 weeks pregnant as of Monday. August 17 is the due date, and I'm having a girl. I also have a 7-year-old daughter and my husband has a 4-year-old daughter, who is also mine. So we're going to have three little girls running around!
ML: How intense is it for you to bounty hunt when you are pregnant?
Lyssa: It's pretty crazy! It's such a high-stress job. You get so emotionally involved in it, you kind of forget you're pregnant because you get so focused on what you're doing. But I look at the video of my last bounty, where I'm so pregnant, and even I am like, "Wow!" It doesn't even seem real to me!
ML: Do you get scared during the bounties, being pregnant?
Lyssa: No more than I usually do. I get afraid a lot during the bounties -- when Dad's talking about it before we go out, he'll say something like, "This guy was arrested with a gun." I'm like, "Ohmigosh, don't you think you should leave me home on this one?" [laughs] But he says, "No, you'll be fine!" I'm just trying to be safe while trying to be useful at the same time. I don't want to put the people who are trying to protect me in harm's way.
ML: Has your dad been more protective of you while you're pregnant?
Lyssa: No, not really. Beth always says, "There's Duane and then there's Dog." I agree with that. I say, "Dad, I'm pregnant," and he says, "I don't care -- just do it!" Dog doesn't take my pregnancy into account. He'll say: "You'll be good bait ... go in there!"
ML: Can you tell us about your first pregnancy?
Lyssa: While living with my biological mother, I was abused. I got pregnant. I was 14 years old, and he was 24. I thought I was in love. He knew a lot better than I what he was doing -- I didn't. He went to jail for sexual abuse of a minor. It was an odd situation, but I got my daughter out of it.
ML: How was it for you, being such a young mother?
Lyssa: It's all I've ever really known my whole life. I got pregnant soon after I turned 14, and I had her the day after my 15th birthday. I never got to sleep in, go to prom, finish high school -- I was so young that being a parent was just it for me -- that's all I knew. When this happens to you, I think you can either try to continue on with your childhood and let your parents raise the kid, or give it up, or you can become a parent. I chose to become a parent.
ML: Do you think things like "Juno," MTV's "16 and Pregnant," and Jamie Lynn Spears glamorize teen pregnancy?
Lyssa: I think they definitely glamorize it and make it seem easier. I gave up on my dad when I was 11 years old, and my mother was living out her childhood when I had my baby, so I really had no one. I babysat the town kids to make ends meet. I had a daughter to support at 15, and it was hard. If you have endless amounts of money at your disposal, maybe it's easier, but for me it was very difficult to be a teen mom.
I mean, look at Sarah Palin saying abstinence is the way, then her daughter is holding her baby on the cover of People. It sends such a mixed message. I really want to teach my children to respect their bodies. Even though I got my daughter out of it, if I had to do it all over again, I would have kept my legs shut, finished high school, and done things the right way, in the right order.
People would look at me in the grocery store and stare. They'd say, "Ohmigosh, is that your little sister?" or "What is such a young girl doing with a little baby?" It was shaming.
I don't think it was until I was 18 that I could understand what happened. I'm still understanding every day what has happened.
ML: How has this pregnancy been different?
Lyssa: Pregnancy this time around is a totally different experience. I did not mentally understand what I was going through the first time. I hid my pregnancy until I was six months back then. I stayed bundled up in sweaters, and I was living in Alaska, so that was easy to do. This time, I have a husband who I love who is sharing this with me. The pregnancy seems so much longer this time since I had hidden mine before!
ML: What's it like being on a reality show now?
Lyssa: It's like having your home videos aired! When we're out and about, people want a picture with my dad and want to shake his hand. But he's always been famous in his own mind!
ML: What do you think about the Jon and Kate breakup?
Lyssa: It's so sad. Everyone was really hoping they could pull through this. Kate really seemed like she loved Jon to me. But it's another couple who's gone down doing a reality show, and it's very sad. People say they broke up because they had cameras on them 24/7, but what people forget is that you've known the people holding the cameras for so long that you just kind of get used to them. You just go about your day, and it's almost like they're not even there. They're like flies on the wall after a while. I really don't think the cameras are what broke them up. My dad and Beth are on a reality show, and they seem to do fine!
ML: Tell us about your relationship with your stepmom, Beth.
Lyssa: Beth has been in my life since I was 2 years old. We don't use the word "stepmom." I also have a daughter who is not biologically mine, but we don't use that word with her, either. Blood is not something that affects love!
Beth is a great role model. The other day, I asked her advice. That morning, I had gotten the kids ready, had run my daughter to camp, came back home and cleaned up, made a meal for my husband, and then had to go film at noon. By the time 12 rolled around, I was totally exhausted. I looked at Beth and said, "How do you do this?" She just looked at me and said, "Oh, I'm Supermom!" I seriously get advice from her day to day. She gives me little time-saving tips, like throwing something in the Crock-Pot for a quick dinner or putting my hair in curlers so I can get something else done while I do my hair ... she teaches me to use my time wisely.
ML: Can you talk more about why you don't use the term "stepmom"?
Lyssa: We just don't use the term. You see the cards on Mother's Day that say "stepmom," and it's kind of insulting. I see Beth as my mom, plain and simple. When I started dating my husband, Bo, I kind of put this block in front of his baby daughter, Serene, because I am not her mom. But I realized, "You cannot do this ... you cannot get into this relationship with this man and have this wall up." So I look at her as my daughter. Maybe I didn't give birth to her, but I do everything else!
ML: Where is Serene's biological mom?
Lyssa: She sporadically pops in and out. She lives on another island in Hawaii, about a twenty-minute plane ride away. The last time she visited us was in September. I welcome her to come and visit, but she knows you can't be a half-mom. Our door is always open to her. I thank her for going through the labor and carrying my daughter for nine months. She has three other daughters of her own. She and Bo broke up when Serene was 3 months, and Bo took the baby with him and said, "This is my baby!"
When I first started dating Bo, he was trying to feed her baby food and she wouldn't eat it. She was only three months! I said, "Honey, she doesn't need food, she just needs milk. Give that baby to me!" I took over!
ML: How was it dating a guy with a new baby?
Lyssa: It was intense! He had this new baby, and he did construction on the show. At the time, I wasn't on the show a lot so I was babysitting my dad's two young children, my sister's son, and my daughter. I had these 4 kids I carted around and had them all hold hands at the grocery store. Bo thought I was Superwoman, and was instantly in love!
See Lyssa tonight on "Dog the Bounty Hunter" at 9:00 PM on A&E.