For 7 Little Johnstons stars Amber and Trent Johnston, it isn't staying grounded that's a challenge as their TLC show prepares to return for more episodes on Tuesday, May 25 — it's being so vulnerable with millions of people. Amber and Trent opened up to PopCulture ahead of 7 Little Johnstons' return, clearing up some of the misconceptions people have about their family of seven after watching their reality show for so many years.
"I think more than anything, [the difficulty is] the vulnerability and the living with what everyone thinks and thinks they know about your family," Amber shared, adding that while there are lots of positive comments directed their way, there are also "some hardcore negative ones" that tend to stick with them.
The toughest ones to handle are the ones about their children, especially Amber's relationship with 21-year-old daughter Anna over the years. The TV show only shows a "fraction" of what's happened between the two, Amber shared, and it's a much more complicated journey than viewers might understand. "Anna, it's an ongoing, growing journey with her," Amber explained. "We go a little bit deeper this season regarding the last 14 years with her. ... I'm not some hard-ass mom who only likes some of my kids."
Anna has "grown up a lot" over the last year, Amber continued, and each of her five children has had their "struggles" and "celebrations," as it is with any family not being filmed for TV. "We have to keep life as real as possible," Amber explained of sharing the not-so "Instagram happy" moments on camera. "We are everyday people, and we happen to be little people, but the show is not something we wanted in order to create celebrities out of us." Trent added that it's because of that he and his wife always agreed from the start to keep their day jobs: "We are not TV stars. ... We weren't when we began this, and we aren't when this ride is over."
As for the importance of showing their lives on such a broad scope, it comes down to representation. "It's a platform where we can entertain and relate with the families watching us, but also throw in bits of education," Amber continued. "The little people community, as well as being a minority community, we have a long, long way to go for our civil rights." While she and Trent originally hoped their children would grow up in a world free from discrimination, Amber said she now hopes for her grandchildren so they can "show the world to stop treating little people as objects," adding, "We're simply human beings who have hearts and feelings." 7 Little Johnstons returns to TLC on Tuesday, May 25 at 8 p.m. ET.