(born May 3, 1990) was the fiancé of Bristol Palin. He first received media attention in August 2008 when U.S. vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin announced that her daughter Bristol was five months pregnant and that Levi was the father. Levi and Bristol broke off their engagement in March 2009, and Levi had several public feuds with the Palin family for which he later apologized. The couple announced they were engaged again in July 2010.
After working in the Alaskan oil fields, Johnston began pursuing a career in the entertainment industry, aspiring to be a model and an actor.
Family life and education
Johnston is the eldest child of Keith and Sherry Johnston. He has a younger sister, Mercede "Sadie" Johnston. The family is of Mexican and Canadian descent.
Johnston attended Wasilla High School, playing on the hockey team, but dropping out of school in his junior year. He worked full-time on the Alaska North Slope oil fields as an apprentice electrician,quitting in January 2009.
According to Johnston, he and Bristol began dating during their freshman year of high school.After losing a promise ring on a caribou hunt, Johnston had Bristol's name tattooed on his finger.
On September 1, 2008, Sarah Palin announced that her daughter, Bristol, was pregnant by Johnston, and that the two would be married. Johnston denied claims that he was being pressured into a shotgun wedding, stating, "We were planning on getting married a long time ago with or without the kid. That was the plan from the start." The couple's son, Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston, was born on December 27, 2008, but the two broke off their engagement in March 2009.In May 2009, Johnston said that their relationship was improving and that they were determined to jointly raise Tripp.Later, Bristol began a child custody case against Johnston, seeking sole custody and child support.
In July 2010, Bristol Palin and Johnston announced that they had reunited and were engaged for the second time. The public statement was made before Bristol and Johnston's families were informed of the decision, and as of late July 2010, Sarah Palin had not given her blessing. The couple was reported to be seeking to star in a reality show together, with the possibility described as "slim" because of the potential that Palin family secrets would be aired.
During the 2008 U.S. presidential election
Johnston attended the 2008 Republican National Convention with the Palin family. While Sarah Palin was delivering her prime-time nomination acceptance speech, the cameras frequently cut away to Johnston and Bristol.Johnston shook hands onstage with Sarah Palin's running mate, Republican presidential candidate, Senator John McCain,and was treated as a member of Palin's family. Fox News commentator Dick Morris commented that McCain's decision to welcome Johnston to the stage was a good move, because it would help McCain show "a nonjudgmental", tolerant attitude, while still sending the message that unwed teens who become pregnant should marry.
After his 2009 breakup with Bristol, Johnston gave a series of nationally televised interviews.He appeared on The Tyra Banks Show with his mother and sister, saying he wanted to dispel rumors that he had "done steroids and drugs and cheated on Bristol". Remarking on Bristol's public appearances to promote sexual abstinence, Johnston told The Early Show that "abstinence is a great idea, but I also think you need to enforce, you know, condoms and birth control and other things like that to have safe sex. I don't just think telling young kids, 'you can't have sex' - it's not going to work. It's not realistic." In another interview he said that he was "pretty sure" Sarah had known that he and Bristol were having sex in the family's mansion.
The Palin family denounced Johnston's statements as lies, with one public statement reading, "Levi and his family... for fame, attention, and fortune, are engaging in flat-out lies, gross exaggeration..."
In August 2009, Johnston publicly speculated that Sarah Palin's early resignation from office was due to long-standing marital difficulties, the pressures of the job, and lucrative book and other media offers. In a September 2009 Vanity Fair interview, Johnston alleged that Sarah Palin initially wanted the couple to keep Bristol's pregnancy a secret and offered to adopt the baby and raise him as her own, but that he and Bristol rejected the plan. In response, Sarah told the media the statements were "untrue, malicious, and appalling", emphasizing that she highly appreciated her children and commenting that Johnston's photoshoots were "attention-seeking and desperate".
In July 2010, a week prior to the announcement that he and Bristol were engaged a second time, Johnston issued a statement expressing regret for his accusations against the Palins:
Last year, after Bristol and I broke up, I was unhappy and a little angry. Unfortunately, against my better judgment, I publicly said things about the Palins that were not completely true. I have already privately apologized to Todd and Sarah. Since my statements were public, I owe it to the Palins to publicly apologize.
Johnston hired Anchorage, Alaska, attorney Rex Butler (who was previously best-known for representing criminal defendants and handling civil litigation) to represent him in his pursuit of a career in the entertainment industry.
According to Tirdad Derakhshani of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Johnston was "shopping around a memoir" concerning his time with Bristol.Politico reported in April 2009 that focus of the memoir had been changed to show the true story of the Palin household.The Associated Press reported in July 2009 that Johnston was also pursuing a movie deal.
Johnston and comedienne Kathy Griffin attended the 2009 Teen Choice Awards together. She later stated that he was "surprisingly sweet and courteous" to her. Johnston and Griffin's acquaintanceship is documented in the sixth season of Griffin's reality television series, Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List.
In October 2009, Johnston appeared in a television commercial for Roll International makers of Wonderful Pistachios, as part of their "Get Crackin" advertising campaign. The commercial features Johnston, with a bodyguard, opening a pistachio as a voice-over states, "Now Levi Johnston does it with protection."
It was reported that Johnston would pose fully nude for Playgirl Magazine, however, following a statement by Sarah Palin that referred to Johnston's "aspiring porn career", it was announced that Johnston's photo shoot would not show full frontal nudity, but glimpses were possible.
Johnston is an avid hunter who has hunted bears, caribou, and elk. In September 2008, it was reported that there were "antlers scattered about the yard of the Johnston family home."