Jon and Kate Gosselin, the stars of the hit show Jon & Kate Plus 8, were once the king and queen of reality television. That isn’t the case any more, though – not least because the pair divorced acrimoniously in 2009.
And even after the name of the show was changed to simply Kate Plus Eight, more scandalous secrets came to light that made people start to question whether it should be on air at all. Indeed, there were certain details surrounding the care of the kids and the treatment of the staff that Kate and Jon likely didn’t want people to find out. And these are just 20 of the worst…
20. Kate may have planned her reality TV stardom
In 2014 an explosive tell-all book about Kate Gosselin was published, with one particularly damning claim contained within its pages. Specifically, in Robert Hoffman’s provocatively titled Kate Gosselin: How She Fooled the World, the author alleged that Kate had always planned to have a lot of children so that she could use them for fame and fortune. Unsurprisingly, Kate subsequently had the tome taken off the shelves.
19. Two of the kids were removed from school following some “post-divorce anger”
The Gosselin kids allegedly didn’t take their parents’ divorce well. In fact, in 2016 it was rumored that two of the children, Collin and Alexis, had acted out so much at school that they’d been expelled. Kate quickly denied this, however. Instead, she told People in 2010 that the school “did not feel like they could meet their needs anymore” and that the children were suffering from “post-divorce anger.”
18. The pair didn’t pay for their couples therapy
Jon and Kate’s divorce was expensive as well as difficult. But before calling it quits, they made an effort to salvage their relationship by going to couples therapy. The only problem was that they neglected to pay the bill. And so in 2011 their therapist, Sylvia Lafair, sued Kate for her unpaid expenses, and Kate was forced to pay Lafair $10,300.
17. Jon once fired a gun at a photographer
In 2013, post-divorce, Jon made headlines when he shot at a photographer. It was only a warning shot, he claimed, because the female journalist was both harassing him and trespassing on his land. And even though Jon maintained that he had been within his rights to do so, the whole episode was enough to make people wince at how far he’d fallen.
16. Kate allegedly doesn’t let her kids keep presents from their dad
The messy Jon-Kate divorce included a court case in which Jon accused Kate of abusing their children. Indeed, a 2010 court document apparently read, “[The] children have explained concern that they cannot safely bring any gifts, toys, pictures or stuffed animals home from [Jon]’s house. [Kate] takes them away and throws them out.” Yikes.
15. Jon and Kate were said to have faked their relationship for the sake of the show
What do you do if you’re a TV producer and the couple on your hit reality show have fallen out? Get them to fake it, of course. According to a source, even when Jon was living in an apartment away from Kate and the kids, he still had to play happy families in front of the cameras.
14. The kids were reportedly fed stale food
Some unpleasant details emerged during the court battles between Kate and Jon. In particular, it was revealed that Kate allegedly had a strange attitude towards feeding her children. If they refused to eat a lunch she’d packed for them, Jon claimed, she would simply keep putting the same items in their lunch boxes each day – even when mold started to grow and the food turned bad.
13. Jon was involved in a million-dollar company theft
After the divorce, life seemingly got worse and worse for Jon. But it often seemed like he brought it on himself. In 2015, for example, he was sued for $1 million by his former company, Securus, on the grounds that he’d secretly been working for a competitor on the side and had been asking clients to switch to them instead.
12. Kate filmed a talk show pilot, but it was canned
In 2009, keen to advance her career, Kate filmed a talk show pilot with celebrity chef Paula Deen. But the show was never brought to series – apparently because network executives thought that Kate was too controversial. Ironically, Paula Deen would later become very controversial herself after she was caught using racist language…
11. Jon may have cheated on Kate on her birthday
Jon & Kate Plus Eight rather glossed over the events of Kate’s 34th birthday. And as it turns out, there was a good reason for that. According to Us Weekly, Jon had actually been partying in Utah with a 23-year-old schoolteacher while his wife spent her birthday with their kids.
10. Kate once claimed that her children were disabled
According to Hoffman’s aforementioned book, Kate allegedly went to some bizarre lengths to ensure that she got childcare from social services. And it’s said that she bent the truth a little in doing so too. In particular, in 2005 the mom reportedly wrote a letter to the State of Pennsylvania stating that her six babies were disabled “in a sense.”
9. According to one businessman, Jon ruined a whole brand of clothing
Tattoo artist Ed Hardy once had his own fashion line… until Jon Gosselin came along. Why? Well, after the reality star was papped a few times wearing Hardy’s clothes, the brand apparently went down in people’s estimation. Certainly, Hardy himself thinks so, anyway. “That Jon Gosselin thing was the nail in the coffin [for the clothing line],” Hardy told the New York Post in 2013. “That’s what tanked it.”
8. Kate may have locked her children up
Claims of Kate’s child abuse just kept on coming in 2010. In court papers, Jon accused his ex of confining their children to their bedrooms and not allowing them to leave – even if they had to go to the toilet. She had switched the locks so they would only open from the outside, Jon said.
7. According to his exes, Jon’s manhood is not large
However, Jon also took a bit of a kicking in 2010. First, his ex-girlfriend Hailey Glassman told Steppin’ Out magazine that Jon was “tiny, tiny, tiny” in the pants department. Ouch. Not to be outdone, Kate joined in too; she informed Us Weekly that year that Jon’s private parts were “stubby.”
6. Kate reportedly had a bizarre list of rules for staff
In 2014 a former employee of Kate went to Radar Online to accuse her employer of making up ridiculous rules for staff to follow. These demands allegedly included orders to clean up the chicken droppings every day, to avoid placing purses or bags on kitchen counters and to limit their noise while walking.
5. Kate allegedly went through 40 nannies in just three months
And if the demeaning rules were indeed implemented, it’s perhaps not surprising that nannies hired by Kate didn’t tend to stick around for very long. Indeed, according to one former employee who went to Us Weekly with her story, Kate fired a whopping 40 nannies in three months. It’s said that the reality star even dismissed one employee for washing her hands in the kitchen instead of the bathroom.
4. Jon has claimed that his kids have “problems”
When Jon appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s Where Are They Now? in 2013, he admitted that bringing up his kids on TV may not have been the best idea. “They have problems with their peers, and they have problems with talking to other people,” he said. “They have problems with wants and needs and manners and morals and what’s right and what’s wrong.”
3. Kate has been accused of racism
In 2013 a photograph emerged online of Kate making what looked to be a racist gesture towards Asians; her ex-husband Jon is, of course, of Asian heritage. And while people weren’t impressed with the snap, Kate attempted to provide an explanation on her blog. It was a “happy memory,” she wrote, in which she was simply “show[ing Jon] my best Asian impression.”
2. Jon barely sees his two oldest kids anymore
In 2016 Jon told Entertainment Tonight that he barely even speaks to his two oldest children, Mady and Cara. Afterwards, though, the kids in question went to People to explain their side of the story. “He makes it seem like we’re being kept from him, which is insane,” Mady said. “He should maybe spend some time thinking about why we don’t want to see him.”
1. Kate’s own brother accused her of child abuse
In 2010 Kate’s brother Kevin testified against her at a hearing that discussed child labor on the set of Jon & Kate Plus Eight. Kevin claimed in particular that there were health and safety breaches on set, and that the children suffered “psychological damage.” The claims were refuted, however.