Jon & Kate Plus 8 - The First 10 Years

Filed under: Celeb Parents

Before we move onto the next chapter in the life of the Gosselin family, it's time to look back and reminisce about how we got here. Last night's episode of "Jon & Kate Plus 8" took us back in time -- 10 years, in fact, to the very beginning of the couple's marriage. This retrospective could provide Jon and Kate answers as to what has gone wrong in their marriage, giving them points to focus on if they decide to try again.

On the other hand, some of these memories seemed to highlight exactly why they don't want to be together anymore.

Kate Gosselin of Jon and Kate Plus 8

    Is it splitsville for the Gosselins?
    Kate Gosselin, star of TLC's hit show "Jon & Kate Plus 8," speaks Wednesday May 13, 2009, at the Frauenthal Center in Muskegon, Mich. We may be seeing a lot more of Kate solo, now that her marriage is collapsing.

    Dave Raczkowski, / AP

    Jon and Kate Gosselin of the hit TLC show "Jon & Kate Plus 8" film an episode where they receive their own choppers (motorcycles) from the Orange County Choppers of the other TLC show, "American Chopper." The Gosselins go for a ride with the "American Chopper" cast before Kate later takes her custom pink bike for a ride of her own. All the while their children wander about the front lawn, not receiving much attention.


    Over the past five years, Kate Gosselin's life has gone from miracle mom to reality TV train wreck. What's next for Gosselin and her family? Maybe a return to something closer to normal. Here, Gosselin is spotted pushing around one of her daughters in a shopping cart at Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond.


    Kate Gosselin, seen here promoting her book "Multiple Blessings," seems to have made a life for herself that doesn't include husband Jon, who is reported to have been having an affair. But what about the kids?

    David Livingston, Getty Images

    Once upon a time, not so long ago, the Gosselins were our favorite reality tv family. It was hard not to love them -- after all, we all know how parenting changes us.

    Do you ever wonder what life would be like if you had one more child? How about two more? How about SIX more?

    Four years ago, Jon and Kate Gosselin went from being parents of two to parents of eight, and their lives have never been the same.

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    Today we all have a window into that life on TLC's Jon and Kate Plus 8. And of course, part of peeking into someone else's life is hypothesizing how we might do things differently or better, because it's always easy to imagine what you would do in someone else's shoes.

    What is harder to imagine is what it would really be like to walk in those other shoes -- what's it like to wake up every morning and be Kate Gosselin? ParentDish had a chance to ask her just that recently.

    In a normal week, the Gosselins have a television crew in their house about half the time, which is a lot, if you think about it. And while they will occasionally opt out of filming specific moments with their kids, the Gosselins have no editorial control over the show -- what you see is what you get, packaged by a team of folks at Discovery and TLC. But, Kate says, this is reality TV, and it accurately reflects life at the Gosselin house; nothing is pre-planned or made up. "We don't have time to memorize scripts," she jokes.

    I believe that.

    "We set out to show the truth," Kate says, "I couldn't watch it if it weren't true." What you see, in every televised moment, is precisely what is happening -- no stage directions or do-overs. This is life at the Gosselin house.

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    Kate Gosselin has gotten quite a bit of flak, both from the media and from viewers, for the way she treats her husband; the two are often shown bickering during the show. Kate says the criticisms don't bother her; she doesn't Google herself or make a practice of reading about herself on or off line. "Everyone has an opinion," she says, "and I'm only paying attention to my own." But she does admit that the way the show is edited affects how people see her family and her marriage. "If Jon and I have three spats over a two day period, they're going to edit it to make it look like those happened in the 22 minute period." The show is just a small slice of her family's life, after all.

    Kate is clearly focused not on what goes on outside her family but on her children. Her goal, she says, is to treat each child like an only child -- a hard thing to do when you're the mom of eight. "I hold myself to a very high standard," she says. At the same time, though, she's not trying to be perfect, or even to appear perfect to viewers of the show. She's just living her life.

    And yes, she's living it with television cameras in her house, but it's still her real life. Kate says that while the experience of being on television has changed her life, it hasn't changed who she is. She says the same about having eight children -- "It's hard to live through what we have lived through and not change. We are the same -- it's how people treat us" that is different.

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    One of the hardest things about her family, Kate says, is the noise; there are days when the older girls, Cara and Mady, come home from school and their reports about what they have done are drowned out by the noise of the sextuplets. More than anything, she says, she longs for peace and quiet -- otherwise, she would not change a thing about her life.

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High school sweethearts who married very young, Jon and Kate almost immediately became parents to twins, Cara and Mady. Kate loved the whirlwind of being a newlywed mom of twins, but Jon seemed to wish he were elsewhere (a frat house, possibly).

As soon as the twins turn one, Kate wants another baby, although Jon mutters he was getting sick of hearing her talk about it. Maybe he should have spoken up a bit more forcefully, because Kate is already down at the fertility doctor's office, and then next thing they know they're looking at an ultrasound of six babies.

Kate was hospitalized and on bed rest during her pregnancy with the sextuplets, but even then Jon doesn't seem to get it. When she goes into labor and calls him, at 4:00 a.m., to ask if he's ready, he replies, "For what?"

As the sextuplets become toddlers, we see how each child's personality differs from the others. Alexis is loud and takes charge. Hannah is always there to help. Aaden loves animals. Collin is a bit obsessive-compulsive. Leah is cute and little. Joel whines and loves fashion, and he inspires Kate to say that she is sure he will find "a woman someday who falls in love with his looks, and then she'll marry him, and then she'll realize how clueless he is." Was she talking about Joel or Jon?

TLC gave us a look back back at quality family time last night: We remember when Jon made a Korean dinner for his first attempt at cooking anything besides breakfast for the whole family, to introduce his heritage to the kids. Discouraged by having to spend $100 to take the entire family to the movies, they have a chaotic movie night at home, complete with popcorn (Newman's Own organic, of course!).

There's also family camping fun with an adorable montage of the kids roasting marshmallows and eating s'mores. Both Jon and Kate comment on how much fun they had camping out in the backyard. Maybe if they had done that more often, things might be different today.

Then there are the family trips: The Utah ski trip and the infernal plane ride to get there, Hawaii (notice there were no reminders of their vow renewal there), the beach in North Carolina, and the visit to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis where the kids picked out Christmas gifts for the St. Jude patients.

We also revisited the the children's milestones: First poops (complete with pictures that gross Jon out), first bike rides, first words and first dentist visits. More changes include Kate's hair (lighter and lighter), houses (bigger and bigger), and dogs (Kate's attitude gets snootier and snootier).

The biggest change in the Gosselins' lives, of course, is the failure of Jon and Kate's marriage. Scenes from the past of Jon complaining that he can't be himself and Kate saying they're in an "odd place" illustrate how they came to the decision to end their marriage. Kate hopes this will bring peace for the kids. Maybe the best way to bring peace for the kids is to quit having a camera crew follow them around all the time, but since, as Kate said, "the show must go on," that doesn't seem to be a possibility.

"Jon & Kate Plus 8" is on hiatus until August, while the Gosselins sort out their family issues. Will you be tuning in when the show returns, or have you seen enough?

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