Palin Family Bristles at Levi Johnston's Criticism of Teen Mom Bristol

Levi Johnston said he doesn't get to see son as he wishes, inciting the Palins.

April 6, 2009, 11:18 AM

April 6, 2009— -- The war of words, slights and raised eyebrows between the family of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Levi Johnston, the father of Palin's daughter Bristol's 3-month-old son, has escalated.

The latest salvo comes from Johnston who in a TV interview talks about how he's being snubbed by Alaska's first family.

In an interview airing today on "The Tyra Banks Show," Johnston says while he's still able to see his son, he's getting the distinct impression that Bristol Palin no longer wants him around much.

"She says that I can come see the baby and that kind of thing but won't let me take him anywhere," Johnston told Banks.

The 19-year-old also told Banks that Sarah Palin -- whose family values was part of her platform when she was the GOP vice presidential candidate -- almost certainly knew the two teens were having sex before her daughter got pregnant.

"I'm pretty sure she probably knew," he told Banks.

"Were you practicing safe sex?" she asked.

"Every time," he said.

But when pressed, "every time" turned into "most of the time."

In response to the remarks, the Palin family released a harsh statement, saying, in part, "We're disappointed that Levi and his family … are engaging in flat-out lies, gross exaggeration and even distortion of their relationship."

Johnston was almost son-in-law of the governor. He began dating her eldest daughter while the two were in high school just days after Sarah Palin's bid for vice president was announced, so it was a bombshell when it was revealed that the conservative candidate's daughter was pregnant with Johnston's child.

Now, months after the birth of son Tripp Easton Mitchell and just weeks after the couple's breakup, the Palins and the Johnstons have made no secret of the trouble between the families, a far cry from the campaign days and the talk of wedding plans.

Now, with this latest round of interviews, civil may be out the window.

"It is unfortunate that Levi finds it more appealing to exploit his previous relationship with Bristol than to contribute to the well-being of the child," the statement also said.

Levi Johnston says Gov. Sarah Palin's Daughter Bristol Is Giving Him the Cold Shoulder

Even after the teen couple ended their relationship, the two seemed cordial. In an ABC News interview outside his home last month, Johnston said he was still talking to Bristol Palin and seeing his son whenever he wanted. The two were civil "for the most part," he said then.

Johnston has had more troubles than his high-profile relationship with the daughter of a sitting governor.

His mother, Sherry Johnston, was arrested in December on drug charges.

Despite the hard times and more that may be to come, Johnston said Sarah Palin can count on his vote if she makes a run for the White House in the future even though, he said, it would not be easy on him.

"I'd be happy for her if she made it that far," he said, "but at the same time I think it would make things even harder than it is now."

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events