Jon and Kate Gosselin once had a fairy-tale romance: they met at a picnic in 1997, and were married by 1999. Due to Kate’s polycystic ovarian syndrome, the young couple turned to fertility treatments to start a family — which more than worked! They welcomed twins Cara Nicole and Madelyn “Mady” Kate in 2000, and then sextuplets — Alexis, Hannah, Leah, Aaden, Collin, and Joel — in 2004. Thanks to Jon and Kate’s unique situation of being parents of eight children, they proceeded to land a reality television on TLC called Jon & Kate Plus 8, which premiered in 2007.
The show made Jon and Kate household names, but unfortunately, the family time on-screen didn’t last for long. Learn more about how the family split up, and the many wars that have waged between the parents of eight since the show’s end:
Jon Is Accused Of Having An Affair
Jon was accused of having an affair with a third-grade school teacher named Deanna Hummel, per a report from Us Weekly that ran in May of 2009. The outlet even talked to the teacher’s brother, who insisted the affair happened. However, both Jon and Deanna denied the allegation — although Jon did issue an apologetic statement.
“I am sorry for putting my family in this awkward position, given some poor decisions and bad judgments I’ve made recently. I am working through this difficult time with my family. My family is my top priority,” Jon wrote. Meanwhile, Kate had also been rumored to be cheating with the family bodyguard, Steve Neild, an allegation that she too denied.
Jon & Kate Divorce In 2009
Just a month after Jon faced cheating speculation, Kate filed for divorce from her husband of 10 years in June of 2009, which was finalized in December of that year. “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,” Kate explained in a statement at the time. She added, “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.”
Kate later claimed that it was Jon who wanted the divorce. “Jon has been asking for this for a long time,” Kate told PEOPLE for her July 2009 cover story. She added, “He does not want to be married to me anymore. No questions asked, he went and hired a lawyer and said, ‘You’d better get one.’ So I did. I never would’ve made that step; I never would have done it. But I did, because he told me to do it.” Kate also told the outlet that Jon, at that point, was “not the same person I married.” At the time, the freshly broken up couple had agreed to “rotate in and out of the house while the children stay put,” according to the outlet — a much different arrangement than the one the exes have today.
A few years later, Jon insisted that infidelity had nothing to do with their split. “The biggest misconception is the reason for the divorce is that I cheated on my wife. But I didn’t. I mean, I knew [my marriage] was over January 17, 2009. That was the definitive day. I just knew,” Jon said on an episode of the VH1 show Couples Therapy that aired in 2014. He also described their marriage as “just kind of like 10 years of a business transaction.”
Jon Wants His & Kate’s Kids Off TV After The Split
TLC slapped Jon with a $5 million lawsuit for breach of contract after he stopped filming Jon & Kate Plus 8 in Oct. 2009, and renamed the show Kate Plus 8. Jon tried to fight back with a countersuit by alleging that the network was breaking Pennsylvania’s child labor laws in Nov. 2009.
Jon explained why he no longer wanted his eight children to be reality television stars, telling Larry King on CNN in Oct. 2009, “The reason I don’t think it’s healthy for them is that we’re going through a divorce right now, and I don’t think it should be televised, and I think my kids should be taken off the show.”
Jon Wants Custody Of All Eight Of Their Children In 2010
Jon sued Kate for primary custody of their eight children in April of 2010 and claimed his ex-wife “abuses” her authority “when it comes to scheduling visits with the kids,” according to CTV News. Jon later dropped the lawsuit.
Kate Accuses Jon Of ‘Illegal’ Hacking In 2013
In 2012, tabloid reporter Robert Hoffman published the tell-all book Kate Gosselin: How She Fooled the World — and Kate later accused Jon of feeding the author with information that he allegedly dug up from illegal hacking! The mother of eight filed a lawsuit against her ex-husband in Aug. 2013, in which she accused Jon of “illegally hacked into Kate’s email account and her phone and bank accounts” and of stealing “a hard drive from Kate’s house, which contained “private and confidential material,” according to a report from Radar Online. Kate claimed that Jon gave this “illegally” sourced information to the book author, but the suit was eventually dropped in Nov. 2013.
Jon Wants Custody Of Their Sextuplets In 2014
Jon announces his plans to file for an emergency petition for contempt and then “fight for custody” of his sextuplets Alexis, Hannah, Leah, Aaden, Collin, and Joel, which he told InTouch magazine in a since-deleted article that was originally published in Jan. 2014. The father was upset at how Kate was parenting their children.
“You can’t breathe the wrong way without upsetting her,” he claimed in the interview with InTouch. “The kids have to ask before they get a drink, before they get a snack, before they open the fridge, before they got to the bathroom. It’s ridiculous.”
Jon Reveals His Limited Time With His Kids In 2016
In Jan. 2016, Jon infamously told Steve Harvey that he hasn’t “seen all [his] kids together in about three years” and usually gets “four” kids during his visitation time. These meetings usually involved a once a week dinner and a hangout every other weekend, according to Jon.
Later that year, Jon’s two oldest daughters — twins Cara and Mady — infamously called out their father in a 2016 interview. “He makes it seem like we’re being kept from him, which is insane,” Mady told PEOPLE at the time. She added, “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.” Her twin sister chimed in, saying she “wouldn’t even know what to say about him.”
Jon Wins Custody Of Both Hannah & Collin In 2018
Jon revealed that Hannah was living with him full-time in Aug. 2018, and proceeded to seek custody of Collin — one of his sextuplets with Kate — in Nov. 2018. The father was desperately trying to remove the young teen from a treatment center for children with special needs that Kate had sent Collin to in 2016 (Jon would go on to later say that their son was “wrongly institutionalized,” and has repeatedly slammed Kate for sending away their son). He won custody of Collin in Dec. 2018, who joined his sister at Jon’s home.
Before Jon’s court victory, a source close to the former TLC star EXCLUSIVELY told HollywoodLife, “Jon has been visiting Collin consistently at his live-in school. He’s been incredibly dedicated to his son. His efforts have paid off because when Collin was home for his weekend visit there was clearly a very strong bond between father and son. Jon, Collin and Hannah make a great little family unit.”
Jon Is ‘Furious’ That Some Of His Sextuplets Reappeared On TV
Jon told DailyMailTV that he was “absolutely furious” at Kate and TLC for allowing his minor children Alexis, Aaden, Joel and Leah to be filmed in a TV special about Cara and Mady going to college, which aired in Oct. 2019. Kate Plus 8 had already ended in 2017, and since then, a judge had reportedly ruled that it was not in the “best interests’ of the Gosselin children to allow them to be filmed for the show,” according to the outlet. So, Jon was blindsided by the special.
“They put profits and ratings ahead of the well being of my children and filmed illegally without work permits,” Jon told DailyMailTV, and reportedly showed the outlet a court order that proved he shared joint legal custody of his minor kids with Kate. The TLC star was reportedly found in contempt of court afterwards and ordered to pay Jon $1,500 in legal costs to her ex-husband, according to a report from Daily Mail published in Dec. 2019.
Jon Tells HollywoodLife That Kate Set Up ‘Roadblocks’ To See His Kids In 2019
Right after the drama involving the TLC TV special, Jon went on to claim that Kate was making it difficult for Collin and Hannah — who were living with their father — to see their other siblings. Jon EXCLUSIVELY told HollywoodLife that “there are roadblocks from their mother for my children to see them,” but that “as long as the kids are all happy, I am cool with that,” which he shared while speaking with us at the Victoria’s Voice – An Evening To Save Lives event in Las Vegas in Oct. 2019.
Kate Confirms Jon Is Being Investigated For Abuse
Kate confirmed in an interview that Jon was being investigated for alleged abuse against their son, Collin, who accused his dad of punching and kicking him in Aug. 2020 (Collin made the allegations in a since-deleted Instagram post). “I don’t want my children around him. Enough is enough,” Kate had told PEOPLE.
Jon Is Cleared In The Abuse Investigation & Slams Kate
Jon made it clear that he was NOT happy about Kate’s comments amid the abuse investigation, which had been dropped since the County of Berks, Pennsylvania Child & Youth Services (CYS) confirmed that “the report of suspected child abuse on Collin was unfounded.”
“[Kate] wanted to ride the coattails of this article. She wants to be famous. She suffers from narcissistic personality disorder,” Jon claimed during an interview on The Dr. Oz Show that aired in Nov. 2020, and also alleged during the interview that his ex-wife has had only 1.5 hours of contact with her son, Collin, in the past five years.