Image: Larry King and Levi Johnston
Mathieu Young  /  AP
Levi Johnston told CNN's Larry King Live that it's an "uncomfortable thing" for him to visit his child Tripp, who is Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's grandson.
updated 4/23/2009 1:25:29 PM ET 2009-04-23T17:25:29

The father of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's grandson said Wednesday he would be willing to go to court for custody of the child, but he hoped it wouldn't come to that.

Levi Johnston said on CNN's "Larry King Live" that he and 18-year-old Bristol Palin do not have a formal court agreement over visitation rights for their baby son, Tripp.

Bristol Palin, the governor's oldest daughter, gave birth Dec. 27 and the unmarried teenage parents broke up soon after that. Johnston has claimed in several national TV interviews that Bristol has limited his access to the baby.

"I can go over there and see him," Johnston said. "But it's, now you know, it's kind of an uncomfortable thing for me to go over there. You know, I want to be able to take him and that kind of thing, go do the father thing with him and I can't."

Johnston said he is not in a "big fight with the Palins." He still likes the family and wants to work out an arrangement over Tripp, whom he said he hasn't seen in a couple of weeks.

"I don't think either one of us want to go and go to lawyers and try to fight for custody and stuff like this," he said.

But if the situation doesn't change, "I think we're going to have to."

'I don't want to stir anything up'
Johnston initially said he didn't have a lawyer, but recanted later. When asked if saying he had a lawyer might anger the Palins, Johnston said: "I don't want to stir anything up."

Johnston's mother, Sherry, who appeared on the show with Levi's sister, Mercede, said they are prepared to press legal action for his rights as the boy's father.

"That is what we're going to have to do next," Sherry Johnston said. "We were just hoping that we wouldn't have to."

The soap opera surrounding her grandson has been embarrassing for the governor, the Republican vice presidential candidate last year who has been trying to maintain a national profile and is a potential presidential candidate in 2012.

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Video: Johnston hits talk show circuit

Palin family spokeswoman Meghan Stapleton issued a statement on the Johnston interview, saying: "Bristol is focused on going to college, raising Tripp, and advocating abstinence."

However, in an interview earlier this year with Fox News, Bristol Palin said abstinence is "not realistic at all."

Levi Johnston agreed, telling King: "I think all teens, or most of them, are sexually active."

Johnston also said the couple never considered an abortion or adoption.

He said he was not seeking celebrity status by doing national television interviews, and said he hasn't been paid for any of them.

"I didn't ask to be thrown into this, so I'm not out here looking for fame. I'm just trying to get my story out," he said. "Let the people know what's really going on."

More on Sarah Palin   | Levi Johnston

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Levi taking the Palins to court?


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