NEW YORK – Jon and Kate Gosselin arrived separately for their sextuplets’ fifth birthday party. During the party, the spouses barely spoke to each other.
Clearly, the Gosselin marriage was under a strain as the new season started for the TLC series, “Jon & Kate Plus 8.” No wonder. The daily challenges of a super-size family with eight kids in the house have recently been overshadowed by reports that Jon and Kate cheated on each other. Both of them have denied the allegations.
But on Monday’s premiere (along with scenes of the party), Kate and Jon addressed the media firestorm that has engulfed them from beyond the carefully tended boundaries of their own reality show.
“Did I ever think I’d see myself on the front of the tabloids?” said Kate indignantly. “Or see those words that are there? No. It kills me!”
And Jon, who insisted he was “being innocent and hanging out” despite reports of an affair with a 23-year-old schoolteacher, said, “I never read a tabloid magazine until I was in one. And the first one I bought was the last one I bought.”
As they reflected on the scandals that have made their lives so difficult and put their marriage in peril, the Gosselins were filmed individually, each seated alone on a sofa – in itself, a revealing touch.
“Very swiftly we turned into two different people,” Kate said at one point, as she described how she has grown apart from her husband of 10 years, “and it’s just hard.”
While Kate has spent a lot of time on the road, making personal appearances for the show, Jon has mostly stayed home.
“So he’s angry with me that he’s home and I’m not,” Kate said. “Yet he doesn’t really feel great about me, so he wants me to travel.
“It is so involved I almost can’t put it into words,” she added wearily.
Kate expressed her own share of anger.
“I think the thing that makes me the maddest is: Jon made some mistakes and he was out and whatever, and that made people question him,” she said. “I’m doing what I’m SUPPOSED to be doing. I’m working and travelling” – which led to reports that she was having an affair with her bodyguard.
Declaring that she was only doing her job by travelling, she said, “I’ll be darned if they’re going to take me down with that.
“I have a lot of anger,” she summed up, “because this is not where we were supposed to be, this is not what I envisioned for us.”
Premiering two years ago, “Jon & Kate” is TLC’s most-watched show, and has made the Gosselins famous. The arrival of its new season was highly anticipated and highly promoted.
“Jon and Kate face each other for the first time,” an announcer teased on an ad that aired repeatedly beforehand.
And so they did, sort of, as they sat side-by-side on the sofa in the episode’s final seconds.
An off-camera voice asked, “Do you guys know what the future holds?”
Both of them looked puzzled. Neither replied. Then the episode was over. The season had started with lots of suspense.