These days, discussion of Farrah Abraham mostly centers around how messy her life has become in the years since she got fired from Teen Mom OG.
And that makes sense, as Farrah might be the only reality star whose life became more bizarre — and, consequently, more interesting — after she left TV.
But Farrah’s life was beset by drama and tragedy even before MTV made her famous.
When she was first introduced to viewers, Farrah was pregnant with her first and only child, daughter Sophia.
During the pregnancy, Sophia’s father, Derek Underwood, was killed in a car accident.
He was just 18 years old.
Farrah and Derek were broken up at the time of the accident, but she says she was devastated by the news of his passing nonetheless.
Some people — most notably members of Derek’s family — have called Farrah’s grief into question and accused her of exploiting her ex’s memory to gain sympathy from the public.
That may sound like a ghoulish allegation — after all, no one really knows what Farrah is feeling except for Farrah — but it’s worth noting that the frequency of her social media tributes to Derek increased dramatically after she got fired and needed to revamp her image.
Most recently, Farrah and Sophia paid a visit to Derek’s grave and documented the occasion on Instagram with what many considered to be an inappropriately lighthearted tone.
The Underwood family was said to be deeply displeased.
Now, Derek’s sisters are speaking with the media about their departed brother, seemingly as part of an effort to prevent Farrah from having the final word on what sort of man he was.
“He would always cook for us, and all his friends, whenever they came to the house,” Kassy Underwood recently recalled.
“He loved to cook, he was going to go to culinary school.”
His other sister, Alissa, did not refute allegations that Derek had been driving recklessly that fateful night in Iowa in 2008 when his car struck an electric pole, killing him and his fellow passenger, Zachary Mendoza.
But she says his behavior that night did not reflect who Derek was as a person.
“He definitely lived on the edge, but he was responsible,” Alissa told a local media outlet.
“He went to work, came home.”
Over the years, many commenters have speculated that Sophia would enjoy a happier and more stable life if her father was still alive.
Most recently, Farrah found herself at the center of controversy once again when she wielded a vibrator in front of Sophia and then “playfully” smacked the girl in a video posted to her Instagram Story.
“Didn’t your mom hit you with a vibrator and have you film her butt injections too?” one user commented.
“God someone please take this child away from this woman,” another echoed.
“Can you imagine how f–ked up sophia’s going to be when it comes to sexuality and even just her own self image?” a third chimed in.
Despite claims that Farrah left Sophia alone for several days while she took a road back in February, it doesn’t appear as though the child will be taken away from her any time soon
Most recently, Farrah dated Daniel Ishag, a Morgan Stanley strategist who took her on a lavish vacation just before the coronavirus lockdown.
Her mother, Debra Danielsen, recently confirmed that Farrah and Daniel had broken up.
As for Derek, had he not been tragically struck down in his prime, he would likely be in frequent conflict with Farrah, as is just about everybody in her life.
There’s a good chance that she would have put him through the wringer publicly, airing their dirty laundty on reality TV and social media, as is her tendency.
No doubt there would be many ups and downs in his life — but the important thing is that he would still be here, and he would get to watch his little girl grow up.