Viewers have enjoyed watching “7 Little Johnstons” since the reality TV show premiered on TLC in January 2015. As the name suggests, it focuses on the Johnston family, all of whom have a form of dwarfism, achondroplasia; the condition is identical to that which many of the Roloffs in “Little People, Big World” have. That show aired on TLC in March 2006, and is one of the reasons that the production company wanted to follow dad Joseph Trent and mom Amber and their five children, during their daily lives. Two, Jonah and Elizabeth, are their biological children, while three, Emma Lee, Alex and Anna, were adopted from China, South Korea and Russia, respectively.
Regardless, the family treats everyone equally; their Instagram bio describes them as ‘full of love, determination, laughter, hard work and always up for an adventure!’ The parents stated that the primary reason that viewers tune in is that they are ‘raw and relatable’ and don’t feel uncomfortable in front of cameras because they live their lives as they would without them. With that in mind, some children have married, became engaged, or started dating over 13 seasons that aired until 20 June 2023, and the show featured some extended family members, so the number of cast members has increased.
For instance, Emma and Anna introduced their boyfriends last year, a few months before Elizabeth became engaged to her boyfriend, Brice Bolden. That happened when Alex went to Ohio to spend time with his girlfriend, Allie, for her birthday. As for the parents, Trent has three older siblings, an older brother and two sisters, one of whom is Heidi Johnston, who has made infrequent appearances as early as season 11. On the other hand, Amber has two siblings, brother Andrew Stormer and sister Sarah. With the fate of season 14 hanging in the balance and Heidi having more screen time in the previous one, fans understandably want to know more about her in case TLC renews the show, presumably between July and September 2023. Here’s what you should know about Heidi.
Heidi is a loving aunt and mother
She is Trent’s older sister, and they have a tight-knit relationship. She said that Trent is ‘the kind of man more men should be like; good to the family and friends, generous and thoughtful, and true to his word.’ She also loves Amber ‘like crazy,’ and her rare appearances in “7 Little Johnstons” showed that she loves her nieces and nephews as much.
She made a brief appearance in the 11th season, but visiting Trent and Amber for Thanksgiving towards the end of season 13 sparked the viewers’ interest in her life. People quickly found her Facebook profile, and learned that she had two daughters and was married twice. Perhaps the most relevant fact was that she was divorcing her second husband, because she mentioned it in the show. Although the episode aired in 2023, it was filmed the year before, so apparently Heidi has been single for several months. TLC may have brought her as part of their strategy to put her in front of their cameras more often in the yet unconfirmed season 14.
Dear Sister-In-Law Amber, My brother has done many crazy things in his life, but the moment he brought you into this…
She joined in season 11
Although Heidi may have made an uncredited cameo in previous seasons, usually towards the season finale, which often includes a family gathering or celebration, most fans remember the 11th season as her debut; she showed up at the Johnston house in the sixth episode, as they were organizing the Christmas festivities. Viewers immediately saw that Heidi matched Trent’s energy and sense of humor, and it was apparent that they had a history and a great connection. Viewers later learned that she is one of two middle sisters and is close in age. His birthday posts on social media revealed 29 January 1975, meaning that they were born about 15 months apart.
Additionally, fans saw that she was very passionate about her brother’s children when Anna told her that she was interested in someone romantically in the episode. Although Heidi didn’t know all the details, she advised her niece to take things slowly, and go with the flow.
Heidi returned two seasons later
Viewers learned more about Heidi in season 13, which premiered in April 2022 and was on TV for two months. She came around the house to help Amber and Trent with the family’s preparations for Thanksgiving. Her and Trent’s father, Peter “Poppy,” who turned 88 on 1 September 2021, was in a wheelchair for several years, while their mother, Mary “Nonna” Alice, could walk but struggled with co-ordination, including getting dressed. They celebrated their 49th marriage anniversary in December 2022 but were mostly stuck at home due to their health.
Trent mentioned that the family had to help their father get out of the wheelchair and into the car, then take them both on a one-hour ride to the Johnstons family home for celebrations of this kind. This time, they sought professional help to make things more convenient, so they set up a driving service to pick-up their parents, bring them and return them home afterwards.
The family had fun and sad moments
However, the struggle with transport wasn’t the only unfortunate situation at the get-together. Heidi announced that she was divorcing her husband, while Trent reminded everyone that he couldn’t eat everything on the menu. Trent disclosed that he was diagnosed with borderline diabetes or prediabetes, meaning that he had high blood sugar, and would become a type 2 diabetic if he didn’t regulate it.
Thankfully, the positivity returned as they fell into their old habits, such as gathering in one room to chat and play board games. Heidi showed her cooking skills, and she and Trent said that they host most family gatherings and love the experience. They were saddened that Amber’s family couldn’t join, as they lived seven to eight hours away in North Carolina.
She was married twice
After the episode aired, many viewers concluded that she should be a more significant cast member, if the new season gets a green light. Many started looking at the details about her life available online, and she luckily shared many personal things on her Facebook profile, @heidi.johnstonlee, including her birth date, in case they missed Trent’s birthday posts.
Her fans could learn that Heidi matriculated from Stockbridge High School in Georgia, USA, then studied at Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville. She’s worked as a realtor at Southern Classic Realtors in Bogart since 2018 and was a director at Serenity Adult Day Health senior center in Warner Robins. Heidi was also a nurse and a legal nurse consultant at CVS Minute Clinic and The Law Office of Monica Wilburn, LLC, respectively. According to her Zillow platform account, she bought a house at 212 Utah Ave in Warner Robins for $52,000 in 2018.
However, her past marriage attracted the most attention, and the profile allowed people to see her romantic history. She was first married to Barry Lee, but divorced him at some point, and he now lives in Florida. Heidi then started dating Jason Irving, who may be British, in 2016, when they worked as real estate agents at Keller Williams Realty Middle Georgia; they announced their marriage in July 2019 but divorced in 2022. People who dug deeper found Jason’s Facebook profile, and learned that he had a son with his ex-wife, Kristian Irving, when he met Heidi. They also discovered that after splitting from Heidi, he moved on with Shannon Hinson Porter.
Heidi has two children
Jason wasn’t the only person who had children when he got in touch with Heidi. She was a single mother and dedicated her life to her two daughters from her marriage with Barry. Carrington Lee, her first, earned an Exercise Science degree from Georgia Southern University in Statesboro in May 2022. She is active on Facebook on her profile, @carrington.lee.98. Heidi commented, ‘Continue to believe in yourself and live the life you’ve always imagined … We love you bunches,” when Carrington informed her Facebook friends of her plans to get a doctorate in Occupational Therapy from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. She is of average stature, unlike her youngest sister and mom.
Heidi’s other daughter, Ella Grace Lee, completed her sophomore year at Houston County High School in Warner Robins, from which her older sister matriculated in 2019. Ella was born with dwarfism and had a typical symptom, leg bowing, so she underwent a leg straightening surgical operation in 2013. Heidi’s daughters may also have the same birthday, as she wished both at once a happy birthday in October 2022. She wrote on Facebook, ‘To my beautiful daughters, YOU make me see life in full color. You add sparkle and pizzazz to everything. Today I celebrate the fun firecrackers that YOU are!’
She could be a regular cast member
Heidi’s Facebook profile also reveals that she now resides in Warner Robins, likely because her daughter attends a high school there. However, she lists Ellenwood as her hometown. Fans continue to tell TLC that they are curious about Heidi’s life now that she’s a single mother of two who may be ready to mingle.
The production company may upgrade her to a prominent cast member if the demand is high. If that happens, Heidi may have to move closer to her brother’s family, who live in the rural Georgia town of Forysth. Their property measures 10 acres or 40,470m2, and their house is a sizable 3,660sqft or 340m2, so Heidi has plenty of space to stay during filming.
However, she may need more time or a bigger incentive to give up her day job as a realtor. Besides money, Heidi would also start missing the massive parties that she frequently hosts, as she is an extrovert. Outside of family gatherings, she recently shared pictures of a fun-filled 2023 Super Bowl Party with about 15 guests on Facebook.