ByEsme Mazzeo/Feb. 1, 2021 8:46 am EST
It seems like the only requirement TLC has for its reality show families these days is that they have a lot of kids. But back in the early aughts, the network sought out families with multiple sets of multiples. That's how we met Jon and Kate Gosselin in the Discovery Health special Surviving Sextuplets and Twins in 2006 and the follow-up Surviving Sextuplets and Twins: One Year Later in 2007.
The show then became an official docuseries, titled Jon & Kate Plus 8, and moved to TLC. At the height of its popularity, the show brought in almost 10 million viewers for its Season 5 premiere, perIn Touch. Jon and Kate divorced in 2009, and the title of the show was changed to Kate Plus 8. Thus began more than a decade of insults thrown at each other through the press, as well as some intense custody battles. It makes us wonder — where do all of Jon and Kate's kids live now? The answers are not simple, because sextuplets Collin, Joel, Aaden, Hannah, Alexis, and Leah turned 16 years oldin May 2020. Their older sisters Cara and Madelyn "Mady" Gosselin are 20, as of this writing, so everyone is old enough to make decisions about their custody arrangements, and the kids are not on the same side.
Jon and Kate Gosselin were in love once
Before TLC cameras started rolling in the Gosselin household, capturing every toddler tantrum and marital spat, Jon and Kate Gosselin only captured moments on special occasions like their wedding day on June 12, 1999. "I realize how young we were — but also how in love and ecstatic we were on that day," Kate reminisced for Good Housekeeping in 2008, adding, "Life was a lot more simple back then, that's for sure! But not as fulfilling as our lives today!" On Jon & Kate Plus 8, they said they had met two years earlier at a corporate picnic event at a hotel where Jon was working. Kate had agreed to go with a friend. "There was this guy walking across the grass ... he caught my attention," Kate said. "I was like, 'I'm not leaving here today until I meet him.' I declared that fact."
"I didn't have any goals, didn't want to get married, didn't want to have kids," Jon admitted of his life before Kate. Erm, maybe he should've listened to his gut more? Still, things moved fast, and they got serious the day after meeting, even though Jon was dating someone else at the time. "We were the couple that people always said, like, we were sickening sweet. Can you believe that?" Kate asked the cameras. Because you asked, Kate, we actually can't.
Jon and Kate separate
Dr. Billy Ingram, Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images
After 10 years of marriage, and at the height of their reality TV fame, Jon and Kate Gosselin's divorce became official on Dec. 18, 2009.The exes publicly announced their separation six months earlier. At the time, rumors swirled that Jon was allegedly cheating while Kate was traveling for speaking engagements. Upon filing for divorce, Kate released a statement that supported the rumors that Jon was at fault for the split.
"Over the course of this weekend, Jon's activities have left me no choice but to file legal procedures in order to protect myself and our children," she said in a statement via People. "While there are reasons why it was appropriate and necessary for me to initiate this proceeding, I do not wish to discuss those reasons at this time, in the hope that all issues will be resolved amicably between Jon and myself. As always, my first priority remains our children."
Jon's statement shifted focus to Kate but echoed concern for his children. "This afternoon, Kate filed for divorce. Our kids are still my number one priority. I love them and want to make sure they stay happy, healthy and safe. My job is being the best, most supportive and loving father that I can be to my kids, and not being married to Kate doesn't change that," it read, in part, (via People). Unfortunately for the Gosselin children, "amicable" was almost never possible for their parents.
Did the custody battle for Hannah Gosselin get physical?
Hannah Gosselin is the second-born Gosselin sextuplet, and the first one to be in the middle of an individual custody battle between her parents. Per E!, Jon filed for full custody of Hannah in May 2015, "because Hannah has expressed she is unhappy and uncomfortable in the house with Kate," a source reportedly said.
The custody battle took a drastic turn in 2017, according to anIn Touch report on an alleged physical altercation that took place between Kate and Hannah, when Hannah was meant to leave her father's care and go with her mother. As Kate supposedly tried to "pull" Hannah from Jon's car, Hannah is said to have "screamed, sobbed, and violently resisted." The alleged incident was reportedly witnessed by police, who intervened and called an ambulance after Hannah complained of an injury to her arm. The parents had equal custody of Hannah at the time.
That later changed, as Jon explained on theFirst Class Fatherhood podcast in February 2020 that while he had "primary" custody of Hannah at the time, he and Kate allow the kids to make their own decision on custody. But Hannah seems happy with that arrangement, considering she told the Daily Mail in September 2020, "My dad has been there for me and Collin no matter what. He's been a very loving and supportive dad throughout everything."
Collin Gosselin hasn't always lived with his parents
To say Jon and Kate Gosselin's custody battles have been a rollercoaster ride is an understatement, particularly when it comes to their son, Collin Gosselin. In 2016, Kate Gosselin toldPeoplethat Collin has "special needs," and that she sent him to "a program that is helping him learn the skills he needs to be the best him he can be."Jon saw it differently,telling Dr. Oz in 2019 that Collin was "wrongfully institutionalized," but because he had physical custody but not legal custody of his kids, it took him "two-and-a-half years" to learn where Collin was living, and even longer to get him out of the facility. Jon further alleged, "Kate institutionalized him without a diagnosis and then created a diagnosis."
Jon claimed that he only found out where Collin was living because of a note that Collin's roommate snuck to Jon's manager. In the letter, obtained by theDailyMail, Collin claimed he told Kate he wanted to live with Jon but Kate allegedly refused to agree to his request. Collin also alleged in the letter that Kate "was abusive" him. Jon was awarded "sole physical and legal custody" of Collin in December 2018, when Kate and her lawyers did not attend Collin's custody hearing (via Us Weekly). Jon told the First Class Fatherhood podcast in February 2020, "Kate has a no contact [order]" with Collin and that there is no communication between Collin and the six siblings that live with Kate.
Collin Gosselin alleged that his father physically abused him
In November 2020, Jon Gosselin appeared on The Dr. Oz Show to explain the circumstances that led Collin Gosselin to make a now-deleted Instagram post claiming that Jon physically abused him. When Dr. Oz asked Jon if he's ever physically hurt his kids, he said, "I raise my voice, I do get angry. But I've never been violent with my children at all." Multiple sources, including The Dr. Oz Show and ET,obtained a letter from Pennsylvania Children and Youth Services which stated that Collin's accusations of abuse at his father's hands were "unfounded."
So, why would he make such serious claims so publicly? He may have just made an irresponsible decision after an argument. "He was blackmailing me to change my parental decision," Jon told Dr. Oz. Jon also claimed that because Collin was institutionalized for so long, parenting him involves a lot of "playing catch-up" to help his son get on the same level as his peers. Jon said that Collin has a medical team that is treating him for "a couple" unnamed diagnoses. We just wish Collin the best.
Mady and Cara Gosselin are all grown up
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images
Jon and Kate Gosselin's oldest daughters, twins Madelyn "Mady" and Cara Gosselin, were five years old when they were introduced to the world in the family's first documentary. As of this writing, they're 20-year-old, college-attending adults. Although they haven't publicly confirmed their universities, the Fordham University Athletics websitestates that Mady attends Syracuse University and Cara is at Fordham. When they're not at school, they presumably live with their mother, and don't appear to want any contact with Jon.
"He makes it seem like we're being kept from him, which is insane," Mady told People in 2016, adding, "He should maybe spend some time thinking about why we don't want to see him, and maybe realize that if he ever does want a relationship with us, talking about us on TV is not the way to make that happen." Cara, a woman of fewer words, added, "I wouldn't even know what to say about him."
In 2020, Jon said on The Dr. Oz Show that he hadn't seen the six children that don't live with him (including Mady and Cara) since about 2018, because of "parent alienation." "I don't know what's going on with [Mady and Cara], because I don't have any communication with them. I've reached out a couple times to see [if they wanted to] grab coffee... But, I've heard nothing back." Jon said Mady and Cara do speak to Hannah, but did not mention Collin.
Four of the sextuplets had a very sweet sixteen
Four of the Gosselin sextuplets — Alexis, Aaden, Leah, and Joel Gosselin — live with their mom, Kate Gosselin. They don't have social media accounts and recent pictures of them are rare (above they are 13), even on Kate's Instagram account. So, they've had time out of the spotlight since Kate's shows have ended.
But they celebrated their 16th birthdays on May 10, 2020 and had an odd (yet sweet) lunch request. "Happy 16th Birthday to my half a dozen 'Hershey Kisses', as they were called at birth!" Kate wrote in anInstagram post. "They requested 'junk cereals' for their birthday lunch (?!) so I got a bit carried away, as usual, and got them 21 different kinds!" That wouldn't be our choice, but to each their own.
Jon wished all of his sextuplets happy birthday on Instagram, too, and spoke directly to the kids that live with Kate. "Happy 16th birthday to Hannah and Collin," the post read. "I miss you Leah, Joel, Alexis and Aaden. I hope your 16th Birthday is just as memorable!!! Love, Dad," the post read. " Been a long road I wish all the best!!! Wow 16!!!! Love you all!!!" he wrote in the caption. We also wish them all the best.
Kate Gosselin might be struggling financially
Amanda Edwards/Getty Images
Kate Gosselin hasn't been on TV since her TLC show Kate + Date ended in 2019. She did not find love on the show and was still single, as of a June 2019 report froR Online. She told Fox Newsaround the same time that she's unsure if she'll ever get married again. "I don't like the 'M' word. Everybody keeps saying that and that actually gives me like anxiety and panic honestly," the former reality TV star confessed.
Honestly, she has bigger things to worry about. In October 2020,The U.S. Sun reported that Gosselin was "struggling with money,"and listed her home for sale at $815,000 — a significant drop from its $1.2 million price tag in2008. The price was later dropped even further, to an estimated $585,100. Earlier in the year,R Online reported that Kate was allegedly fired from TLC after being found in contempt of court for allowing Leah, Joel, Aaden, and Alexis to appear on camera without legal work permits. TLC has not confirmed anything other than the cancellation of Kate + Date, as of this writing, however, a source toldR Online, "Kate stated in court that TLC has terminated their relationship with her."
Jon Gosselin told Dr. Oz that Kate that when Hannah called Kate on Hannah's birthday in 2020, "her mom pretty much hung up on her." As for Collin, "In five years, she's had an hour and a half [of] contact with him."
Jon Gosselin had a severe case of COVID-19
Amanda Edwards/Getty Images
Jon Gosselin has been in a committed relationship with his girlfriend, nurse practitioner Colleen Conrad, for many years. From a December 2019 post on an unverified Instagram account that appears to belong toCollin Gosselin,Jon, Hannah, Collin, Colleen and her two kids can be seen celebrating the holidays together. The next year was rougher for the blended family.
In December 2020, Jon appeared on The Dr. Oz Show to describe his life-threatening experience with COVID-19, including how he spent 10 days in the hospital and lost 17 pounds. He had to use an oxygen mask and high-flow oxygen, and was delirious for a few days as he suffered high fevers. "I didn't know how bad it was until I met with my doctor," the IT specialist said. "He said one more day [and] I probably would've been vented." According to Dr. Oz, if he did go on a vent, Jon's chances of dying would've gone "up dramatically."
As for his relationships with his kids, Jon laments his estrangement from the twins and four of his sextuplets, however, the siblings' relationships with each other take precedent. "I want all the kids to communicate with each other, love each other, do things together," he said during another Dr. Oz appearance, adding, "And hopefully down the road that will work out." We hope so too because this whole situation sounds heartbreaking.