Once upon a time, the TLC reality show Kate Plus 8 was titled Jon & Kate Plus 8 and featured a married couple managing a family of sextuplets and two older twins. Midway through Season 5, however, Jon and Kate Gosselin announced their decision to separate. And we're not even sure they agree on the reasons behind the split, considering the contradictory explanations they've given over the years…
For example, Kate gave her take in a 2016 issue of People. "I really would have thought [Jon would] have been here for the long haul," she said. "The weirdest thing is that overnight he became a different person."
In what ways? Jon had begun buying motorcycles and cars and staying out late instead of taking care of the kids, Kate said. "People closest to me thought I was crazy and making it up," she added. "When they saw it for themselves, they were like, 'Whoa.' They saw the proof."
At the time of the breakup, rumors of infidelity ran rampant, but Jon has long maintained he was faithful to his wife of 10 years. "The biggest misconception is the reason for the divorce is that I cheated on my wife, but I didn't," he said on a 2014 episode of the reality show Couples Therapy. He also said his marriage was "very non-affectionate" and "just kind of like 10 years of a business transaction."
Jon explained, "I always felt like I did Kate's task list. 'Here's the Post-it note. This is what you have to do. This is how you're a good husband. This is how you're going to behave.' [I thought], 'OK … I'm going to complete these tasks, and she'll love me because I do these things.' Jan. 16 was when I did all my stuff. I went out to a bar and stayed out till 4:00 in the morning. When I came home that morning, she said nothing. So I did it the next night."
And by the time of that next night, Jon had realized his relationship with Kate was ending. "I knew [the marriage] was over [on] Jan. 17, 2009," he said. "That was the definitive day. I just knew."
In a 2016 appearance on The Steve Harvey Show, Jon said he lost "everything" in the divorce and alleged TLC had sided with Kate and had even paid for her divorce attorneys. "We knew we were going to get divorced, and then the network tried to keep us together for the benefit of the show, so I quit," he explained. "I said, 'I'm not having my divorce filmed. I'm not having it aired out for the public's consumption. And I'm not having reruns so my children can keep on watching the demise of their parent.' … I just took a moral stance versus a business stance. I lost everything. I lost all my money."
These days, as the show continues airing as Kate Plus 8, it seems like Kate does most of the parenting while Jon sees the eight children sporadically. "I haven't seen all of my kids together in about three years," he told Steve Harvey in that 2016 interview. "I only get what I get. Whoever comes down the driveway, that's who I get."
In the People story that same year, though, twins Cara and Mady revealed their estrangement from their father. "This year I'm going to turn 16," Mady said. "I'm going to be learning to drive, taking the PSATs, thinking about college… So much is going on in my life. And the last thing I have time for is a toxic relationship."
She added, "He makes it seem like we're being kept from him, which is insane. 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."
Long story short, the stress of this large family has only intensified over the past 11 years in the public spotlight. With any luck, Jon and Kate figure out an amicable co-parenting arrangement. But with all this bad blood, we're not feeling entirely optimistic…