The E! Channel has been airing an episode of E! True Hollywood Stories entitled "Biggest Scandals Ever" over the past week. The Gosselins were included, placing them right up there alongside Charlie Sheen, Tiger Woods, Mel Gibson and Arnold Schwarzenegger. It's less than a year after Kate Plus 8 was cancelled and already the Gosselin shows have been reduced to a gossipy "where are they now" kind of show.
My readers may recall that I was a guest on the the E! True Hollywood Story "Kate Gosselin" which aired early in 2011, along with fellow author and Berks County local Al Walentis. E! used some of their footage of Al in this week's "Scandals" show but I didn't make the cut which is just fine with me. (Who likes seeing themselves on TV? Oh yeah...never mind.)
Funny how the Gosselins are referred to in the show as "America's favorite family." I never even heard of them until they moved to my small PA town in late 2008 and they'd already been on TV for a few years before then. In fact they didn't become a household word until the scandals began in the spring of 2009 and if it weren't for all the mud slinging and tabloid headlines their show would have probably been cancelled and they would have faded into obscurity wihout most Americans even being aware of their existance. Kate may have complained about the tabs and the paps but financially they were the best thing that ever happened to her. For a while, at least...
Here's a transcript of this week's show kindly provided by blog reader L.
Reality TV loves a train wreck, but the Gosselin family seemed to be an exception to that rule. Until off camera scandals made headlines. In April 2004, big news came out of the small town of Hershey Pennsylvania. A local nurse, 29 year old Kate Gosselin, was pregnant with sextuplets.
Kate: I cried. Not tears of happiness, no. Tears of fear. It was scary. They kept counting and counting and counting and counting and I thought they would never stop.
Jon: The fear at the beginning, yeah, how are you going to do this? How are you going to support them?
The Gosselins were already proud parents of twins. Then, on May 10, 2004, Kate gave birth to three boys and three girls via Caesarean section.
Kate: A very great experience. Wonderful friends made. Awesome nurses, awesome doctors and I am just very thankful for this day. They're healthy babies.
TV Host commentator Michael Kosta: They had to deal with eight kids at once, so there was just naturally a sense of, “We're rooting for you."
But Jon and Kate needed more than good wishes.
Kate (looks like she's on the GMA set): We were in a position after our sextuplets were born that we could not pay our bills.
Ken Baker (E! News Chief Correspondent): Producers at the Discovery Health Channel did a couple documentaries about their life. and they were such a big hit, that they decided to do an entire TV series on the family.
Becoming reality TV stars paid off in perks.
Al Walentis: Clothing, Cribs, strollers, car seats, different amusement parks. Just about everything in Gosselin world was being paid for by someone else.
Alison Rosen: People began to feel like maybe the fame is going to Kate's head.
Ken Baker: Kate got a tummy tuck, she also got her teeth whitened, and mind you most of this was documented on the TV show.
By 2008, the demands of shooting the series took a toll on the young couple.
Stephanie Santoro, former Gosselin nanny: Kate always wanted things her way or no way at all. She always wanted Jon to do things for her. If he didn't do it right she would flip out on him.
Kate: Anyone who has to watch themselves on TV, and how they talk, um, you think, oh, that came out a lot harsher than I meant it too. Or louder or meaner.
Ken Baker: Fame really changed their lives. She was spending most weekends away traveling, doing speaking engagements. She really enjoyed the attention.
Although the Gosselins kept a lid on their marital problems. Rumors began to spread about tension between Jon and Kate. Then in January 2009, photos surfaced of Jon partying with various women at singles bars.
Ken Baker: He would hit all the local clubs. People were telling me that he'd go out dancing, having fun.
At the same time, Jon and Kate remained under contract to film their show. Ken Baker: They were really living totally separate lives, barely communicating. And when the cameras would come they would turn it on and pretend they were together. Jon (Chris Cuomo interview?): I mean, I am sleeping in an apartment above my garage. I am paying a mortgage on a house I don't even sleep in anymore.
At the same time, Jon and Kate remained under contract to film their show.
Ken Baker: They were really living totally separate lives, barely communicating. And when the cameras would come they would turn it on and pretend they were together.
Jon (Chris Cuomo interview?): I mean, I am sleeping in an apartment above my garage. I am paying a mortgage on a house I don't even sleep in anymore.
Finally, on June 22, 2009, in a move that stunned fans, the Gosselins decided to end their marriage on national television.
Howard Bragman (Vice Chairman, Reputation.com): Jon and Kate probably would have split up eventually. It just happens a lot quicker in a reality TV world.
Al Walentis: The divorce papers were filed the day that the episode ran.
Ken Baker: At the peak of all the drama they got over 10 million viewers. They were more than doubling their viewership by finally exposing the true reality of their lives.
Kate wanted to continue filming the show, but Jon was ready to quit.
Al Walentis: He had a sign made up that said TLC is not allowed here under penalty of law, signed 'Jonathan Gosselin.'
Kate Gosselin: TLC has always said if one of us didn't want it to happen it anymore... and obviously they're not going to stand in the way... Jon is a parent. But, I wish he would think harder about it because it has ended our income, and our paychecks, and our opportunities. It is a terribly hard situation to be in.
America's favorite family was in turmoil. Scandalous stories about the Gosselin's divorce dominated the media, fueled by the couple's custody battle.
Kate Gosselin: It is very clear that we are two different people at this point, with two different sets of goals.
Ken Baker: After a lot of back and forth, a lot of posturing in the media. Kate won primary custody of all the kids. As a result, she continued to shoot the series which was retitled Kate Plus 8.
Kate Gosselin: I don't feel like it is time to end it if we are all enjoying it. I just feel the nine of us who want to do it should be able to do it.
But Kate was having problems coping. During one episode of the show, she lost her temper when the babysitter and the kids took a piece of pizza that Gosselin said was for her bodyguard. “I am so tired of your dramatics,” the nanny told Kate on camera, and then quit. Due to negative publicity and low ratings Kate Plus 8 was canceled in August 2011.
Howard Bragman: Kate Gosselin needs to focus on being a good mother and making a living and supporting her family.
Alison Rosen (entertainment journalist): Those eight kids are better off without the show. Having a reality show means your life is different and is interrupted. It was a like a tiny child star factory.
Where the Gosselins go from here is anybody's guess.
Alison Rosen: Kate got a new haircut and now she's involved in extreme couponing, but no one cares.
Dr. Charles Sophy (psychologist): When you are a reality person who was Average Joe, and now you're going back to that person, it's a very tough road.
Alison Rosen: Perhaps Jon and Kate can have success in the public eye again. But, I don't think there are that many people who are clamoring for more Gosselin anything. Except for news of how they are having a tough time and they are in trouble.
Kate Gosselin: In everybody's life you make sacrifices. Everybody has to work, everybody has a job. Ours is a very unique job. It has taught us many things. It's given our kids many opportunities they would not have otherwise had.
Thanks to L. for providing this transcript. :)