Jon & Kate Plus 8: Looking Back & What's Next
Sad, Sad News
On June 22, 2009, after 10 years of marriage, Jon and Kate Gosselin filed for divorce.
They have eight adorable children: twins Cara and Mady, 8; the healthy and super cute sextuplets, Alexis, Aaden, Hannah, Leah, Collin and Joel, now 5.
If you've glanced at entertainment magazines on newsstands lately, I am sure you have seen their faces on the covers in the recent months. Besides the ongoing TLC reality show the family has chosen to serve as their main source of income (estimates say about $50,000 per episode), the paparazzi have and are still relentlessly following these folks around. As with any popular topic of interest, controversy has haunted the family and they are constantly defending themselves in terms of allowing the cameras to follow their children, and of course the very unclear details of the reasons behind the divorce.
In recent interviews both on camera and with People magazine, Kate has said that she did "not want to do this alone" and that it was Jon that told her to get a lawyer and asked for divorce. Jon, who underwent "media training", has been very good at dodging questions and giving vague answers. However he did say that he and Kate have communication problems, and that he was "too passive" during their relationship; it's only now that he started standing up for himself. (Audiences that watched the first three seasons of the show would have seen Kate often berating Jon, an issue that has made Kate a popular internet hate-blog target.) Neither party has mentioned marriage counseling, but Kate blatantly told the cameras that Jon would not discuss their issues with her.
Through all the tabloid rumors and media attention, it is hard to tell if infidelity on Jon's part was one of the reasons for divorce. He and the alleged mistress, Deanna Hummel, have both denied any truth to an affair. Jon has been spotted apartment-hunting in Manahattan, a few hours away from the family's Pennsylvania home, but both he and Kate have made it clear that they will be following a take-turns schedule on spending time with their kids at home. Thankfully, the couple still seems to agree to be amicable and spend holidays together for the sake of the children.
Why All the Fuss? A Look Back
People who are new to this topic could use a little background info from fans like me.
Jon & Kate both met in their early twenties at a party. They got married when Jon was 22 and Kate 24. A year later they had twins Cara and Madelyn ("Mady"). When time came that they wanted one more child, the couple went back to fertility treatments. Fortunately or unforunately, depending on your beliefs, the couple ended up with not one, but six babies! Having an unusual case, the family was treated to special medical care and were helped by many kind-hearted folks. The sextuplets were born and through the magical work of doctors and nurses in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit), they have grown up to be very healthy and normal children.
Jon & Kate were approached by TLC to create a documentary to tell their story--from how they met to how they manage their household to what a woman's belly looks like after giving birth to six babies. They welcomed the opportunity, in large part to document their children's lives. The first episode aired, and a plastic surgeon's wife happened to see Kate reveal her stretched out belly during a commercial preview on television. To her surprise, Kate got a call and was offered a free tummy tuck. She was so grateful and relieved at this opportunity.
One year later a second episode aired, showing the family in their new home. Jon was still working in IT and Kate was a part-time nurse. Shortly after the couple was offered a regular TV series. Kate stayed home with the kids, and for a while, Jon kept a regular job. The show became TLC's highest rated series, with some 2 million viewers each week. As more episodes were filmed, the couple decided to devote all their time to the show (which, besides being followed around by the cameras about 4 days a week, includes promotions and appearances).
Audiences fell in love with the show for several reasons. First, it's a peephole into the lives of a family that has two sets of multiples. The struggles, the chaos, and the organization of their daily lives was very interesting to watch. Second, the kids' antics are just precious and hilarious! Each of the children have distinct personalities that shine on screen. And third, the relationship between Jon and Kate was something many people could relate to, especially married couples and parents of small children.
For the first 3 seasons of the show, audiences saw a very humble, kind, and sweet family just living their lives and being grateful and thankful to every opportunity presented to them. And by every opportunity, I mean free rides to a variety of activities, such as free trips to the zoo, theme parks and vacation resorts among many.
So What's Next?
The show is currently on hiatus until new episodes air on August 3, 2009. Jon and Kate are working out a schedule to each take turns being with their kids in their Pennsylvania farm house. TLC has stated that for now, they will continue to tell the Gosselin family story, with Jon and Kate being interviewed separately.
Jon and Kate told their children of the situation without, as Kate said, "using the d-word or the s-word" (divorce and separation). They explained to the kids that their dad will be gone some of the time and mom will be gone the other half of the time. Cara, the eldest of the 8, was tearful, Mady said she expected it to happen, and the sextuplets, only 5, were pretty much too naive to have any real reaction to the news.
The couple have sworn to do everything they can to protect their family and assure that their children grow up with the least amount of dysfunction as possible.
So, for fans like myself, who have watched the show since the beginning, I am truly rooting for Jon & Kate and wished to God that they had found a way to work out their marriage. But now, with the divorce, all one can hope for is that they will be able to continue to successfully raise their children and ultimately lead long, happy lives.