Mama June Pressures Anna to Declare Custody of Daughters

In the days ahead of Anna “Chickadee” Cardwell’s death, her mom, Mama June Shannon, was pressuring her daughter to declare a legal guardian for her eldest daughter. 

“We don’t have any say so over Kylee, we know that. I feel like the moment you take your last breath her dad, Michael, is going to be in the front yard, pulling her out of this house,” June, 44, said in the Friday, June 21, episode of Mama June: Family Crisis. “Would that suck for everybody involved? It most certainly will, but then we also have the situation with Kaitlyn.”

Anna – who died at age 29 in December 2023 after a battle with cancer – welcomed daughter Kaitlyn Elizabeth Shannon in July 2012, though she never identified the father. Kylee Madison Cardwell, whom Anna shares with ex Michael Cardwell, was born in December 2015. 

Despite Mama June’s urging, Anna insisted that she still had “plenty of time” to figure it all out. 

“I know what she’s talking about. She wants me to try to get a will together, try to figure it with the girls, what I want to do with Kaitlyn,” she said during a confessional, before declaring that she wants her current husband, Eldridge Toney, to take custody of her eldest daughter. 

Courtesy of Anna Cardwell/Instagram

The shocked Mama June: From Not to Hot star admitted, “I am surprised that she wants Eldridge on the paperwork. Kaitlyn will be better off with me, because there is stability. But Eldridge has been in Kaitlyn’s life since she was around 5 years old. Honestly, she needs to put this s–t on paper.”

Anna was diagnosed with stage 4 adrenal carcinoma in January 2023. One month later, TMZ broke the news of her condition, revealing that cancer was discovered after Anna complained of stomachaches and underwent a series of tests. Cancer was found in her liver, kidney and lung. 

The mother of four frequently updated fans on her daughter’s condition and fight, telling In Touch that May, “She is doing OK.” 

“She has had two rounds of chemo. She goes for her third round next week. The second round was a little bit rough on her,” she added. “She’s just going through the emotions like anyone would be [with] cancer. We’re going through emotions as a family.”

Anna died on December 9 after a 10-month battle. 

“With the breaking heart, we are announcing that [Anna] is no longer with us,” June shared. “She passed away in my home last night peacefully at 11:12 PM. She gave one hell of a fight for 10 months. She passed away with her family around her. We will be updating y’all with more information as we get it today. We love y’all and continued prayers and thoughts for our family [during] this difficult time.”

While it is unclear if Anna ever legally declared a guardian for her daughter, Mama June took Kaitlyn in after Anna’s death and “[planned] to become Kaitlyn’s legal guardian,” TMZ reported. 

However, one week later, Michael filed a lawsuit against Mama June for custody of Kaitlyn, In Touch confirmed. He argued that he has “fully and completely undertaken a permanent, unequivocal, committed, and responsible parental role” in Kaitlyn’s life and has “engaged in consistent caretaking of the child and established a bonded and dependent relationship with the child,” according to court documents obtained by In Touch. 

“At the end of the day, the girls have lost their mother so why put them through this,” June said about the custody battle. She was granted emergency temporary custody of Kaitlyn in January.

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