"She is getting a lot of hate because she's in an interracial relationship, he is older."
Mama June Shannon sees nothing wrong with her daughter, 16-year-old Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson, dating someone four years her senior.
The young reality star has been dating 20-year-old Dralin Carswell since early 2021 and, speaking with TooFab, her mother defended her daughter from those who believe she's too young to be with him.
"Yes, I've met Dralin. They've been together for over a year," June said when we asked whether she's met him yet. "People need to realize that she's going to be 17 in August and that [Alana's older sister] Pumpkin and Josh were the same age as they were."
"She is getting a lot of hate because she's in an interracial relationship, he is older, but at the end of the day, Alana's not that 6-7 year old child y'all fell in love with 11 years ago," Shannon continued. "Alana has grown up, she's graduating high school next year, guys!"
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That echoes what Thompson told PEOPLE earlier this year, when she and her mom did a joint interview with the publication following their "Masked Singer" elimination.
"I feel like so many people still look at me as that little girl that very first came on TV," Alana said at the time. "Even when the posts about me and my boyfriend coming out, I feel like there was so many people that were still treating me like I was 6 years old."
A teaser for the new season of "Mama June: Road to Redemption" also shows June threatening to try to regain custody of Alana from Lauryn "Pumpkin" Shannon, who is now her legal guardian. June wouldn't get into specifics, but said told TooFab that viewers will "see that coming along during the season and it is an emotional thing because, you know, a lot of things are real." She added, "A lot of real life issues are going on behind the cameras, so when we come in front of the cameras and talk about it, it is still raw. It's like ripping that Band-Aid off."
She also said she hopes the show gets renewed for another season, so "the family that keeps giving" can keep doing just that -- and show Alana graduate high school.
"Mama June: Road to Redemption" premieres May 13 on WE tv.