The world first got to know Jon and Kate Gosselin as new parents to sextuplets, in what had originally been a one-hour TLC special showing how the young couple from Pennsylvania was adjusting to life as parents of eight — their six infants, plus a set of then-4-year-old twins. The special's success eventually led to a hugely popular reality show, Jon & Kate Plus 8, in April 2007, but now, 10 years (and one highly-publicized divorce) later, the once-tiny Gosselin kids are all grown up. What do Jon and Kate Gosselin's kids look like now? Life for the family definitely seems a lot different than it did in the early days.
It's hard to imagine a time when reality television shows weren't a permanent fixture on pretty much every network, but when the Gosselins first debuted a decade ago, the family was definitely blazing a trail — according to E! News, Jon & Kate Plus 8 actually premiered six months before Keeping Up With The Kardashians hit the air. At the time, the sextuplets were just shy of their third birthday, and the series followed the large family as they navigated the ups and downs of life with eight kids under the age of seven (gulp). The Gosselin sextuplets are officially teenagers now though, and in July, cameras captured their milestone birthday for three special episodes of their (now Jon-less) reality show, Kate Plus 8.
In one of the episodes earlier this year, Kate took five of her six kids — Aaden, Alexis, Hannah, Leah and Joel — camping (or "glamping," depending on which of the sextuplets you ask), according to People, and the siblings enjoyed a game of archery tag before starting a bonfire and making s'mores. And though their dad didn't appear to be invited, four of the sextuplets also opted to have a separate celebration with Jon, according to AOL, which included burgers and hot dogs, presents, a backyard football game, and birthday cake.
While it's unclear when new episodes of Kate Plus 8 will be coming, fans of the show don't actually have to look far for family updates: Kate regularly shares photos of the kids on Instagram.
Her still-strained relationship with Jon means that he is notably absent from the majority of Gosselin family updates, but he's not the only one fans rarely get to see: in November 2016, Kate explained to People that their son, Collin, has a disability, and that he has been living at a residential learning facility since August of that year. She told the magazine,
I don’t know what the road ahead entails, but I’m very happy with the care that he’s getting, and am still completely comforted by the fact that he is so clearly exactly where he needs to be, getting precisely what he needs — it comforts me as a mother, because when you, as a mom, can’t give your kids what they need, it is a huge comfort to find people who can.
Ahead of the sextuplets' milestone birthday, Kate unsurprisingly seemed pretty emotional, and took to Instagram to share throwback photos and sweet messages to her kids. In one post, Kate shared a photo of one of the sextuplets' preemie diapers from their days in the NICU, and explained, "[I keep it] to always remind me of how far we've come!!"
In another post, Kate shared a photo collage showing how her kids had grown from the show's early days, and wrote,
I'll always be your biggest cheerleader, your role model by example, your shoulder to cry on, the hug and laugh you need, and your mommy and friend! I love you guys! I got six times what I planned on, but I'd NEVER EVER go back! You're the six final pieces of my heart that I never knew I was looking for.
The Gosselin family may no longer be the same bunch many of us faithfully watched years ago in the Jon & Kate Plus 8 days, but it's pretty cool to see the kids who were once little babies not long ago turn into happy, thriving teens. And who knows, maybe a "Gosselins Head To College" special might be in the future in five years.
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