Is 15 minutes of fame worth a lifetime of repercussions? Jon and Kate Gosselin learned the hard way that there’s a dark side to living in the spotlight. In a Nov. 3 interview for Oprah Winfrey’s OWN show “Where Are They Now?,” Jon opened up about how filming his family’s reality TV series Jon and Kate Plus 8 damaged his marriage, his reputation, and his eight young children.
“It just became stressful on the kids and stressful on me,” the former star, 36, said of the show, which aired from 2007 to 2011 on TLC. (In its last two seasons, after the Gosselins’ 2009 divorce, it was renamed “Kate Plus 8”.) “You’re trying to keep your marriage together, and you’re trying to keep your family ties together.”
Now making ends meet as a waiter in rural Pennsylvania, Jon said his children — twins Cara and Mady, 13, and 9-year-old sextuplets Alexis, Hannah, Aaden, Collin, Leah, and Joel — may have suffered the most. “I saw my kids not growing up normally, like I grew up, and having community,” he confessed.
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“Yes, they got to travel the world, and yes, they got these fabulous things, and yes, they have trust funds, and they’re taken care of educationally. Great,” he continued. “But developmentally, they have problems with their peers, and they have problems with talking to other people, and they have problems with wants and needs and manners and morals and what’s right and what’s wrong. I think more so than someone who grows up off TV.”
Jon’s own sense of self was shredded, too, by rumors that he had an affair while still married to Kate. “The most common misperception [is] that I cheated on my wife, that I left my family, that I’m a party boy,” he told Winfrey. “But my family knows the truth.”