Back in the day, I was completely captivated by the TLC series Jon & Kate Plus 8. I mean, not only did these guys struggle with infertility and then wind up having twins, but they went on to have sextuplets — six babies in one pregnancy! It completely blew my mind, even before I was a parent myself. How do you even begin to care for six babies at once? The amount of diapers, wipes, formula, etc. they went through in a week is mind-boggling. And potty training six toddlers at the same time? I can't even imagine how difficult that must have been. However, a lot has happened in the more than 10 years since the world was introduced to the Gosselins. And these photos and videos of Kate Gosselin then versus now prove the mom of twins and sextuplets has come a long way.
Some viewers may have caught the Gosselins on Home Delivery and their two Surviving Sextuplets specials, as E! News pointed out. However, it wasn't until 2007 that Jon & Kate Plus 8 debuted on TLC, according to IMDb. Back in the day, Kate was notoriously the high-strung germaphobe and Jon was the go-with-the-flow dad — who seemed resigned to the fact that Kate was calling the shots. The mom of eight was also rocking her signature, asymmetrical short hairdo during her Jon & Kate Plus 8 years.
If my memory serves me correctly, Jon and Kate's on-screen relationship seemed tense at times (and let's face it, with the chaos of raising eight young children, how could it not be?), the Gosselins typically found a way to resolve their disagreements. Most importantly they always appeared to have their kids' best interests at heart.
However, the parents of eight made an announcement in 2009 that they were calling it quits as a couple. "Kate and I have decided to separate," Jon said at the time. "... It's just not good for us to be arguing in front of our kids. We can't be cordial with one another, and we decided to separate."
The Gosselins were interviewed separately for the announcement, with Kate confirming the news. "Yes, we have decided that we will separate," she said. "I'm not very fond of the idea, personally, but I know that it's necessary because my goal is peace for the kids."
After a two-year hiatus, the Gosselins returned to TLC — this time, without Jon — with Kate Plus 8. It was like the kids grew up overnight. And Kate? She looked like a completely different person!
Kate herself has admitted that she's changed dramatically since Jon & Kate Plus 8. "You guys saw me at my worst first, and then I just kind of reversed in front of your eyes," Gosselin told E! News back in 2015. "It was nothing amazing, it was just...when you met me, who was that person?" In a July 2017 interview with People, Gosselin even addressed what she would have done differently during her kids' early years. Since hindsight is 20/20 and all. She told People at the time:
I wouldn’t spend so much time worrying about the messes and the obsessive-compulsiveness and needing to be so in control. I would spend more time nibbling little feet and cuddling up. I should have just rolled around on the floor some. I wouldn’t have melted down as much. When you’re younger, you may have more energy, but when you’re older, you’re wiser.
These days, the younger six children — Aaden, Alexis, Collin, Hannah, Leah, and Joel — are 13 and the older girls — Mady and Cara — are 17. (Side note: Collin no longer appears on the show; he's reportedly not living at home because he's at a facility for treatment for undisclosed special needs, In Touch Weekly reported.)
As for Kate, she is preparing for yet another season of her life: Her kids getting older and leaving the nest. It seems she's marking this impending era with a new show on TLC called Kate Plus Date, which premieres this fall, as People reported. “As we’re talking about Mady and Cara going off to college which is becoming more and more of a reality, it’s gonna happen, it almost became like a worry for them, too, like ‘Mommy, you’re gonna be all alone soon,’” Gosselin told People. “But it was very apparent, now that they’re older and talking about dating and how they’re all gonna get married someday … it became apparent: they want someone for me. They want me to have somebody in my life.” Gosselin continued:
If I’m going to date someone, I can’t just go out on a date — it’s creepy to me to think of just going out somewhere with some stranger, and so I actually feel like doing it like this is the best and safest way for me to go on a date — a camera crew will be there! I’ll be safe!” she says. “And the person will have been vetted by a matchmaker.
It's clear that Kate Gosselin has transformed in many ways since fans were first introduced to her family back in 2007 — from her appearance to the way she approaches life. It will be interesting to see what happens in her love life once Kate Plus Date starts up this fall. I can imagine navigating the dating world with eight teenagers will pose some challenges for this busy mama. But I have little doubt that she'll be able to tackle it head-on.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.