The Chester County Coroner has confirmed the death of a young woman from one of MTV's most popular reality shows. Valerie Fairman of 16 and Pregnant was found dead this week, E! News reported early on Thursday. She was 23 years old.
Fairman has a 7-year-old daughter, Nevaeh Lynn, whose birth was documented on the reality series. The cause of Fairman's death is currently under investigation.
Fairman was found dead at a friend's home in Coatesville, Pennsylvania according to TMZ. Reports indicate that she was found by friends after they broke down the bathroom door to find her unresponsive. Fairman had been struggling with drug addiction, which was highlighted in her story on 16 and Pregnant, and investigators reportedly believe she may have died of an overdose.
The third episode of the second season of the popular MTV show, which first aired back in 2010, introduced viewers to Fairman and her boyfriend, Matt. A viral video from the time, which had been used as an episode teaser trailer, showed Fairman talking to Matt on the phone, emphatically telling him that the baby was definitely his: "We had sex A LOT!" Fairman, who had been adopted and had at least ten adopted siblings, lived in Pennsylvania.
In 2015, Fairman made headlines after being arrested during a police sting in Delaware that was investigating suspected prostitution. TMZ reported that she had also been in custody this year after resisting arrest, and was out on bail at the time of her death. Other sources reported that she had been sentenced to two years of parole.
16 and Pregnant, which has been on the air since 2009, is heading into its sixth season. Throughout the show's run, it hasn't been uncommon for participants to have run-ins with the law that are chronicled by the camera crew — even long after the episode aired. Other young women from the show, like Jenelle Evans, have had their ongoing legal troubles, marital problems, and custody battles splashed across the internet in recent years. Several former stars of the show have been in jail, rehab, or had other intimate details of their lives relentlessly and viciously covered by tabloids.
It's hard enough to be coming of age in this world, and it seems that instead of helping young women who have to make tough adult decisions in challenging socioeconomic situations, it's more entertaining to exploit them for other's enjoyment — and of that, no one single person or entity is guilty. Perhaps as a society, we all are. This isn't to claim, of course, that Fairman's death was a result of her participation in reality television. But in the end, it gave the public a reason to parrot her struggles to their own followers and friends, at Fairman's — and so many other young women's — expense.