It may be almost ten years since Jon & Kate Plus 8 premiered, but they former couple is still making headlines.
Thanks to a sextuplets and a very messy divorce caught on reality TV, this couple was the talk of town during their heyday. But Kate Gosselin refuses to leave the public eye, and Jon Gosselin can’t escape it.
A new feature on the family in People magazine catches up with them 10 years later and has spurred conversation about the kids’ relationship with Jon. Find out everything you need to know about the former reality TV stars below, from how they met to why they divorced, and all the drama in between.
1. They Have 8 Kids Together
On October 8, 2000, Kate gave birth to twin girls (Cara and Mady) who were five weeks premature, according to Kate’s website. She went through fertility treatments to get pregnant. Jon was hesitant about having more children, according to TODAY, but Kate wanted another. She underwent the treatments again to conceive a third child, only to learn that she was carrying seven embryos. One of those embryos did not develop and she gave birth to sextuplets (sons Aaden, Collin, and Joel, and daughters Leah, Alexis, and Hannah) on May 10, 2004, in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The sextuplets were born 10 weeks premature, so they had to be placed on ventilators, says CBS.
Their son Collin has special needs, according to E!
2. They Were Married for 10 Years
Jon and Kate met at a company picnic, according to TODAY. For Kate, it was infatuation at first sight.
Jon was walking across the grass and I saw him and was instantly intrigued!…Our eyes met and continued to meet from across the way all afternoon. Finally, I arranged for someone to introduce us … and the rest is history!
They got married two years after meeting, when Jon was 22 and Kate was 24. They had their first children a year later.
3. They Had a Very Public Divorce
On a June 22, 2009 episode of the show, the couple announced that they were separating and that divorce proceedings had begun. According to CBS, Kate told People magazine that Jon wanted a divorce.
He does not want to be married to me anymore…No questions asked, he went and hired a lawyer and said you better get one. So I did. I never would have made that step; I never would have done it.
The divorce was finalized Dec. 2009.
Then, Jon began dating Hailey Glassman, the daughter of Kate’s tummy-tuck surgeon. Rumors started swirling that they were dating while he was still with Kate, but Hailey promised that is not true in an interview with People.
Dismissing the speculation that her relationship with Jon played a part in ending his 10 year marriage to Kate Gosselin, Glassman, says the couple were separated for “months” before she became an item with Jon.
In February of 2016, Jon appeared on the Steve Harvey Show to tell his side of the divorce story.
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…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 parents.’
4. Kate Has Custody of Their Children
When they first got divorced, they had planned on spending equal time with their children at the $1.1 million house they moved into the year before they split. Kate would stay elsewhere when Jon had custody and vice versa according to a statement Jon released to the media obtained by CBS.
Things did not pan out that way, however. According to The Toronto Star, Kate is the primary caretaker of their eight children.
It hasn’t been that easy for them, though, with Jon making accusations about the way she raises their children. In an exclusive interview with E!, he expressed concern that his ex-wife allegedly “instills fear” and “controls” their kids.
I want temporary primary custody until Kate goes on a psychiatric evaluation…She uses them as her props…It’s a problem for her that she can’t afford our old lifestyle anymore. It’s so unfair to them. I work really hard to keep my kids safe and then she just goes and tweets about them all the time. I don’t have a Twitter anymore and even when I did, I never tweeted about my kids. I kept their lives private.
He was seeking full custody of one of their daughters, Hannah, because she expressed to him that she was “unhappy and uncomfortable in the house with Kate Gosselin,” according to E!
In a perfect world, Jon would take all the kids, but he’s not in a position to…For now, he’s at least trying to help Hannah. Out of all the children, she’s the one voicing her discomfort.
However, it didn’t work out for Jon. In his Steve Harvey interview, he said expressed that Kate keeps their children from him. “I haven’t seen all of my kids together in about three years,” he told Harvey. “I only get what I get. Whoever comes down the driveway, that’s who I get.”
According to his oldest daughters Mady and Cara Gosselin, now 15, recent interview with People magazine, it’s not that they are being kept from their father, it’s that they don’t want to see their father.
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…He doesn’t even know us—how can he dare to talk about us?
5. They Were on Multiple Reality Shows Together, Including the One They Starred In
You may think that all this drama started in 2007, when Jon & Kate Plus 8 premiered. But that’s not the case. That wasn’t the first reality show they appeared on together.
According to Philly Mag, the Gosselins were featured in the NBC reality TV show Home Delivery when their home in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, was renovated to accommodate the large family after the birth of the sextuplets.
Then, in September 2005, the Discovery Health cable channel broadcast a one-hour special on the family, Surviving Sextuplets and Twins, and followed up with another a year later. Because of the special’s success, Discovery created the weekly series, according to the Washington Post.
When they got divorced, it turned into Kate Plus 8.
Kate has been on multiple reality shows on her own since then including Dancing With the Stars and Celebrity Apprentice.