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Leah Messer has found love again with boyfriend Jaylan Mobley.
But that wouldn’t have been possible had she not found herself throughout the “liberating” process of navigating two divorces on “Teen Mom 2.”
“I didn’t realize until much later that I wasn’t myself,” the TV personality, 29, tells Page Six in an exclusive interview, reflecting on her previous marriages with ex-husbands Corey Simms and Jeremy Calvert.
“I thought once you got married, you had to stay married, period,” she continues. “For me, divorce was liberating. I got to find who I truly was at the end of the day.”
As fans of MTV’s long-running reality show will recall, Messer finalized her divorce from Simms, 32, in 2011 after less than a year of marriage. Following their April 2012 nuptials, the “16 and Pregnant” alum legally dissolved her union with Calvert, 33, in June 2015.
The proud mother of three daughters — who shares twins Ali and Aleeah, 12, with Simms and Addie, 9, with Calvert — maintains amicable co-parenting relationships with both men, but now realizes there was hardly a spark when wed to either of them.
“There wasn’t even chemistry in these relationships,” she says. “I think I just moved so fast because I was looking for love. For me personally, it was like I wanted to be loved. It was just some sort of comfort for me.”
After an extended break from dating, Messer took another shot at meeting Mr. Right at the behest of her girls. The trio notably offered their full-throated support for their mom to meet a man on Tuesday night’s Season 11 premiere of “Teen Mom 2.”
“It definitely mattered, 100 percent, how my kids are feeling,” the “Hope, Grace & Faith” author says, though she admits having their blessing wasn’t ultimately necessary for her to move forward.
“It was on my own terms and my own time when I was ready to get back out there into the dating world.”
Messer notes that she dated several guys before meeting Mobley, 25, at a music festival in 2021. While she initially had her “guard up” with the handsome U.S. Army cyber officer and was reticent to express her feelings for him, he steadily proved that he had potential to be The One.
“I dated a few guys for a minute until I wanted to be exclusive, until I knew this is it, this feels right to me and we got something here. It kind of just evolved from there,” she says, adding that Mobley’s “natural” connection with her children further confirmed her love for him.
“It’s real. They way they are with him, too, it’s like, ‘Jay, Jay, Jay.’ That’s all I hear. Just to see that bond is … what I want,” she says. “That’s what I want [my daughters] to have.”
Still, Messer isn’t rushing into expanding her brood anytime soon with Mobley: “I just want to love him and get to know him even more before we add anymore kids to the picture.”
Another marriage, however, seems closer in reach as their long-distance relationship progresses. (Mobley resides in Charlotte, North Carolina, while Messer resides in her native West Virginia.)
“We talk about what we want out of the future. Of course, Jaylan’s never been married. He wants that experience and I would never take that away from him,” she acknowledges.
“At the same time, for me, I don’t feel like marriage should change anything. I want to keep what we have now … I don’t want it to change our love for each other, but I don’t think it’s going to either. I’m open to it.”
No matter what happens with Mobley, Messer is grateful to have settled into “such a good place” in her life after overcoming significant challenges during her decade-plus in the public eye.
“I came into the person that I want to be and the woman I want to be,” she says of the personal evolution fans have witnessed on the “Teen Mom” franchise, as she appeared on the “Teen Mom Family Reunion” spinoff this year.
“Before, it was hard. There were so many obstacles and challenges and the kids were young. I had struggled with addiction [to prescription pills] and different divorces. All of that’s aired on TV. It’s not that dramatic for me now.”
“Teen Mom 2” airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on MTV.
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