This interview is about 1.5 pages of the 15 page interview with Al Walentis, the rest of which will be in my book. Al is a local journalist who worked for US Weekly covering the Gosselin story during the summer of 2009. I included some of your questions to Al here, and since Al and I had an actual discussion during this interview you'll see that the three interview participants are Al (AW) Me (WG) and "Reader." Reader, of course, represents your questions to Al. This interview took place on December 20, 2010, the week after the Alaska episode aired.
Al is a local journalist who worked for US Weekly covering the Gosselin story during the summer of 2009. His book, which covers those months of working for US, can be found at the link to the right. It's the only book written about the Gosselins other than those with Kate's name attached to them. If he were to write the book today, I'm sure it would be a completely different story.
Al Walentis, cap on, is looking toward the house to the right, right before the paps on the milk crate blocked me from taking his picture. Many paparazzi don't like to have their pictures taken because it hinders their work when they're recognized. (A picture of Milk Crate Guy blocking my shot can be seen in Al's book.)
Reader: Do you think Kate or her people throw money at tabloids or paparazzi to make them go away or hush them up?
AW: No, I think the alternative is that Kate herself can be a source of information directly. It could go one of two ways. If it's a source close to Kate and it's something positive, she could have someone else pass it along, or she could be just like Jon and she could contact the tabloids directly.
Reader: Do the Gosselins attract a lot of gawkers when they go out in public?
WG: I don't think so, and I never understood why she needed a bodyguard [at home or when shopping locally] in the first place, do you?
AW: During that summer, June, July and part of August 2009, when there was a media hoard at the house, she probably did. Before that, she didn't have the media camping out down in front, and she could come and go and they could call a photographer if they wanted to have their picture taken. Then I think Kate thought it got out of control because the photographers were there, and she probably asked TLC to provide a bodyguard [other than Steve] to keep people outside of the gate and to keep people from coming inside.
The gawkers would come to the house because they deliberately sought the Gosselins out, but otherwise you don't see people gathering around when they're out in public.
WG: Kate had ample room behind the house where they could have picnics or play without any photographers being able to see them. If she hated the photographers as much as she said, why not just go back there?
AW: That was always the case, and begged the question, why would Jon sit in the bay of his garage, when he could go twenty feet and dip his feet into the swimming pool, or put a lounge chair back there? Both of them knew exactly what they were doing and where the photographers were. Jon, during the summer when he was represented by Mike Heller, decided to let the photographers in on everything, whereas Kate always likes to control what she's doing, and she always looked concerned when they would get photos of her shopping. Maybe that was because then, photographers could actually get in her space rather then being behind the fence where she could control them. Here she was, out in public, and her response was to absolutely ignore everything.
WG: Act like she was pretending it wasn't happening, make no eye contact or anything. That's how she was with everyone at the corn maze. She would walk right by people and literally act like they weren't even there.
AW: Oh yeah, that's how she's always had been since the beginning of my involvement with the story. She was that way to everyone. There was one exception, when Chris got the video of her at the grocery store and she did respond to him verbally. There was one other time, it might have been when the dogs got out, and my partner waited for her at the gate and said something to her about getting them back inside, and she said, “thank you.” But nothing beyond that.
Reader: Why did you treat Kate so kindly and treat Jon so shabbily?
AW: I don't think I treated Kate kindly, but the Kate camp is very close-mouthed and you're not going to get anything other than the instances of people having encounters with her in public, like her wanting $20 for an autograph and things like that.
Reader: Were you ever contacted by TLC, Figure 8 films, or a PR rep or anyone in regards to telling you that you shouldn't be writing the book?
AW: No, never. I think TLC doesn't want to call attention to it, and their concern might be that if they read it and could see that someone from TLC cooperated with it, it would be in violation of their internal policies.
Reader: Did your source pull out of your book because he was intimidated by Kate?
AW: No. Jon and Kate didn't even know I was writing the book, other than when I tried to approach Jon to comment on it. Approaching Kate would've been futile, and that would've only been pretense anyway, because she would have called TLC and TLC would have said “absolutely not.”
Jon at that point didn't care if I was writing it or not, but at that time he was operating under the assumption that he was going to get his own book deal and also be able to sell his life story.
WG: It seems to me that people have the impression you're still in the loop. They're not understanding that this was a temporary thing for you because you worked for a couple of months for US Weekly during the summer of 2009.
AW: Even if my US Weekly partner and I were still friendly, he's probably out of the loop now. At the time he was telling me that Jon was a friend, but he also seemed to realize that Jon could drop him in an instant, and each one was using the other and as soon as it was not to either's advantage to be so-called friends, that was going to end.
Do you think that Jon is being sincere now?
WG: I really do. I've always thought that goofy summer of 2009 was just Jon acting out and having his second childhood, and I still think that. From my perspective, I think the whole experience he went through was traumatic, not only the reality TV show but the marriage, the relationship was very abusive and traumatic to him, so I think he was shell-shocked, and that wasn't the real Jon. I think the Jon we're seeing now is the real Jon. I think by nature he's probably monogamous and faithful, and he went just haywire for a while.
AW: If Jon chose to talk about his life today and how he's a changed man, I would be happy to write an addendum and update the edition.