They were one of TV’s biggest stories of the year, maybe the biggest. We’re talking about Jon and Kate Gosselin, who starred for five seasons in ‘Jon & Kate Plus 8’, a tame reality series on TLC about their lives as a happily married couple raising eight children – that is until real life intruded upon reality. Now they’re divorcing (you’re saying, “duh”), Kate’s developing a new show, Jon’s being raked over in the tabloids…both of them are likely wondering what the heck hit them. Well, here’s what happened (along with some satirical interpretation of events in hindsight):
June 12, 1999: After meeting at a picnic two years earlier, Jon and Kate get married. Sure, they said for better or for worse, but who really thinks about that?
October 8, 2000: Following fertility treatments, Kate gives birth to twins, Cara and Madelyn. They are born six minutes apart. What a deal – two for the price of one!
May 10, 2004: Although they considered adopting another child, Kate became pregnant again, again using fertility treatments, and then delivered sextuplets. Said Kate, “I think to myself all the time, how did God know I wanted these exact eight kids? They’re eight of the best kids in the world.” And so photogenic! What is the number of the William Morris Agency?
March 23, 2009 – The first sign of trouble emerges. Photos of Jon partying with a group of college kids, er, hot young coeds, surface on the Internet but the couple brush off rumors of a split. Jon does tell People magazine that “Kate’s career is taking off and I’m a bit lost. This struggle has definitely put some tension in our marriage.” What he really meant to say was that girl was hot and he can’t find her number.
April 29, 2009 – Jon continues to squash rumors that he’s cheating on Kate and is surprisingly contrite about the drama. “Being out with [other women] late at night showed poor judgment on my part,” he says. “My family is the most important thing in my life and it kills me that these allegations have hurt them.” Actually, it was Kate who said, “I’m going to kill you,” right after Jon said, “I have no idea what that thong is doing in my pocket.”
May 6, 2009 – Stories surface that Jon is having an affair with 23-year-old elementary school teacher Deanna Hummel. The story is perpetuated by Hummel’s estranged brother Jason, who tries to capitalize on the alleged affair by putting Deanna’s bed up for sale on eBay. Both Jon and Deanna deny the story. But the real question is, how much did he get for the bed?
May 12, 2009 – Now it’s Kate’s turn in the fire as rumors surface she’s having an affair with her bodyguard, Steve Neild. “The allegations they’re making about me are disgusting, unthinkable, unfathomable, and I am horrified.” Ditto.
June 22, 2009 – After months of speculation, Jon and Kate announced a legal separation (watch the tease that hooked nearly 10 million people) and file for divorce. “Jon’s activities have left me no choice but to file legal procedures in order to protect myself and our children,” says Kate. “It’s no secret that the past six months or so have been very difficult for Kate and me,” says Jon in a statement. “I am of course deeply saddened that we are divorcing.” Editors at People, US, Star and the National Enquirer are seen dancing up and down New York’s Sixth Avenue.
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July 11, 2009 – Oblivious to the PR backlash, Jon takes new girlfriend Hailey Glassman to the South of France with Ed Hardy designer Christian Audigier. Glassman (whose father performed Kate’s tummy tuck operation for free) met Jon while he was crashing at her parent’s house. During an appearance on ‘Today’, Kate breaks down, saying that Jon’s romance with Glassman is “very hurtful.” With a tummy tuck, they knock you out; when your ex is with a younger chick, you want to knock him out.
July 23, 2009 – He went in for an interview and came out with a girlfriend! Beautiful blond Star magazine reporter Kate Major professes her love for Jon Gosselin, explaining, “I didn’t mean it to happen; it just did.” They were spotted vacationing in Southampton, NY, with Jon’s new pal, Michael Lohan. Jon insists that he and Kate are “just friends.” This is just icky, icky, icky. Where’s the Purell?
August 12, 2009 – Kate and the American viewing public endure a seriously awkward interview with Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa on ‘Live With Regis and Kelly’. The talk show host tells Kate, “I think you [and your husband] will get back together and live happily ever after. I think everything is going to work itself out — he’ll say he’s sorry, that he loves you and everything will be good.” Critics speculate that Regis has lost his mind. He didn’t know about the thong in Jon’s pocket.
August 19, 2009 – Jon, in a bid to strike out without Kate or the kids, is reportedly teaming up Michael Lohan to star in a new TV show called ‘The Divorced Dad’s Club.’ “Sometimes I feel like it’s a 15-year-old I’m getting divorced from,” Kate tells People magazine. A 15-year-old? Are you sure he’s that old?
August 30, 2009 — God knows why, but Jon hosts a pool party at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and raises eyebrows for partying it up while Kate’s at home with the kids. Days later, in an interview with ‘Good Morning America’, an oh-so-mature Jon tells the world that he “despises” Kate. And that “I feel like I love [Hailey] more than I did Kate.” Yes! That’s what a weekend in Vegas will do.
September 16, 2009 – Egads, the couple’s former nanny Stephanie Santoro claims she had a short-lived affair with Jon. She says the couple would have sex. In the hot tub. While the children slept. And he allegedly told her, “Whatever you do, don’t fall in love with me … because it’s going to be impossible for me not to fall in love with you.” Jon denies her story. Did that hot tub end up on eBay?
September 29, 2009 – Jon asks to suspend his divorce from Kate for 90 days, noting that “I used poor judgment in publicly socializing with other women so soon … I would like to get back with Kate as a partner in parenting.” However, days later, he attempts to stop production of ‘Jon and Kate Plus 8,’ after learning that TLC is planning to continue the show without him. Suddenly, the infamous father claims that being on a reality TV show is “not healthy” for his children. What is in that Pennsylvania water?
October 4, 2009 –With tears in her eyes, Kate tells the world that Jon has raided the couple’s joint bank account and made off with $230,000. Days later, a judge orders Jon to return $180,000 he siphoned from the couple’s joint bank account. Who’s doing the math here?
October 16, 2009 – TLC sues Jon Gosselin for breach of contract, claiming he made television appearances without the network’s permission. According to his contract, Jon is barred from appearing on “any media including any online or print…without the Company’s or Producer’s prior written consent.” A month later, Jon files a $5 million lawsuit against TLC for damaging his reputation and career, and preventing him from working with other media. Now it’s obvious why lawyers always drive nice cars and wear expensive clothes.
October 28, 2009 – Jon’s girlfriend du jour Hailey Glassman appears on ‘The Insider’ and claims that Jon has raging “mantrums” and is often a total jerk to her. In response, Jon releases a statement saying that Hailey, “has been the best friend I have ever had and I only wish the world could get to know her and see what an amazing person she is, instead of constantly judging her of lies and things that are NOT true.” Wasn’t that similar to an episode of Flavor of Love?
October 29, 2009 – Jon feels a glimmer of remorse and consults with celebrity rabbi Shmuley Boteach about his behavior and publicly apologizes at Boteach’s New York synagogue. “Ultimately I will be judged not by my words but my actions … I understand that if a spotlight is shined on me, especially as a father of a large family, that I have to inspire others to do the right thing always.” Tell me Rabbi Shmuley, as the author of the book ‘Kosher Sex,’ does this mean no more pool parties in Vegas?
November 3, 2009 – Jon and girlfriend Hailey Glassman conduct a TMI interview with ‘Entertainment Tonight’, in which Jon practically breaks up with Hailey on the air. “I wanted to discuss this in private, but now it’s public,” he tells her. “I’m getting frustrated, because it’s uncomfortable. This whole thing’s uncomfortable. I don’t like it.” Translation: the rabbi said not only could he go back to Vegas, he should.
November 18, 2009 – Disgraced Star reporter Kate Major sues Jon for breach of contract, claiming that Jon hired her to be his personal assistant but never followed through. The pair allegedly sealed the deal with a handwritten note. Did the note end up on eBay?
November 23, 2009 – TLC airs the final episode of ‘Jon and Kate Plus 8,’ which features one last interview with the estranged couple. Plans are revealed for a spin-off series, ‘Kate Plus 8,’ though no filming didn’t begain before execs announced it was nixed. Not to worry. There’s also a porn movie called ‘Kate Plus 8’. Filming took 45 minutes. It’s playing in hotels across America. Kidding, but…