Bristol Palin, daughter of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and a former Republican vice- presidential candidate, is seen in 2008 with Levi Johnston, the father of her son, Tripp. Palin and Johnston have reunited and say they're engaged. ((Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press))

Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston say they're engaged and hope to get married within six weeks in Alaska, just a few months after fighting over child support and Johnston's critical comments about the family.

Palin, the daughter of 2008 vice-presidential candidate and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, is featured on the cover of Us Weekly with Johnston, holding their 18-month-old son, Tripp. 

The couple tells the magazine they reconnected while working out a custody plan and became engaged two weeks ago.

Palin, 19, told Us Weekly she found the idea of telling her mother about the engagement "intimidating and scary."

But Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd, said in a statement on NBC's Today show Tuesday that they want what's best for their children and that Bristol believes in "redemption and forgiveness."

Representatives for Palin did not immediately return messages from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Earlier this month, Johnston, 20, acknowledged telling lies about the Palin family after he and Bristol broke up last year. He says he has apologized.

After the young couple broke up in late 2008, shortly after the birth of their son, Johnston gave a series of interviews criticizing the Palin family, maligning Sarah Palin's parenting skills and saying she wanted to adopt his child so people wouldn't know her daughter was pregnant.

He also posed on the February cover of Playgirl magazine sporting nothing but a sultry gaze.

Johnston told People magazine he was "unhappy and a little angry" after breaking up with his former fiance. He said that against his better judgment, he said things about the Palins that "were not completely true."

'A lot of work to do'

A representative for Johnston said last month that the two were spending more time together for Tripp's sake, but were not a couple. 

Us Weekly executive editor Caroline Schaefer told NBC's Today show that Bristol Palin approached the magazine looking for a platform to explain why she got engaged.

Palin and Johnston are ready to get married, but Palin told the magazine they'll probably see a marriage counsellor, Schaefer said, adding that Palin made it clear that Levi will have "a lot of work to do."

Asked whether the magazine paid for the interview, Schaefer would not discuss details of the arrangement, except to say that the magazine paid for the expenses of the photo shoot.