Jon and Kate Gosselin celebrated their children on their special day. On May 10, 2004, the then-couple welcomed their sextuplets, Collin, Aaden, Joel, Alexis, Hannah, and Leah. Their birth and the fascination with the couple, who were already parents to twins Mady and Cara, shot the family into stardom.
Jon and Kate’s lives as parents of sets of twins and sextuplets became the subject of two documentaries. Surviving Sextuplets and Twins aired in 2006. It was followed by Surviving Sextuplets and Twins: One Year Later in January 2007. The family of 10 generated so much interest that by that April, Jon & Kate Plus 8 premiered.
The show was a tremendous hit. At its height in season five, it drew in over 10 million viewers. While people were falling in love with the family, behind the scenes things were quickly unraveling. A combination of rumors about cheating and desires to participate in the show came to a head when the couple announced their split in June 2009.
The court battles began almost immediately. Kate negotiated to go forward with the show, rebranded as Kate Plus 8. However, Jon’s concerns about the impact of filming the show were among the reasons for the split. He tried to fight to bar the children from participating in filming. TLC rallied behind Kate, but Kate’s brother filed a lawsuit against her a year later that sided with Jon’s version of events.
Kate was allowed to move forward with filming. Kate Plus 8 went on for six seasons after the divorce. Fans seemed disenchanted with the family, however. Ratings never reached their previous heights, and the show came to a halt in 2017. Kate was later able to parlay the show into the dating series Kate Plus Date in 2019.
On December 19, 2019, Kate was found in contempt of court for filming with Aaden, Joel, Leah, and Alexis in a special about twins Mady and Cara leaving for college.
This was in violation of a previous court order, which stated that Kate was allowed to film her children if she or the TV company provided Jon with a filming schedule and obtained his consent. During the court appearance, Kate revealed that TLC has cut all ties with her as a result of the violation.
Hannah and Collin were not in the special because Jon has had full custody of them since 2018. Sadly, separate living situations seem to have also caused stress on the relationship between Collin and his siblings. While Hannah is able to see her other four siblings, Jon detailed that Kate will not allow them to see Collin.
“I got sole custody of Collin, Kate has a no-contact [order] with him, so there’s a whole bunch of stuff that happened with him,” Jon revealed on the First Class Fatherhood podcast. He went on to explain that the no-contact order has led to both “parental alienation” and “sibling alienation.”
“Right now, it’s very tumultuous, pretty much because there’s no contact between Collin and his other siblings. There’s contact between Hannah and the other siblings, [but not with Collin].”
Collin seems to have strong feelings on the matter. His relationship with Kate has been strained since she put him in a special needs boarding school, where he remained for nearly four years before Jon was able to get custody. In an Instagram post about Mother’s Day, he subtly unleashed on Kate. He also took the post as an opportunity to celebrate Colleen Conrad, Jon’s girlfriend of about six years.
“Turns out today is Mother’s Day, today we pay love forward to our mothers, but I don’t think mother can describe all the things Colleen has done for me,” Collin wrote on the post. The account has since been made private.
“Yes a mother clothes her children and cooks for them but it’s the best feeling when your mother or mother figure is one of your best friends and always has your back, the one who always shares that laugh of the humor only you guys get,” Collin continued.
“I could call it Mother’s Day, but it’s more than that, Colleen, you are so much more than a mother to me, you are one of my guidelines and one of my guiding lights. Thank you doesn’t say enough, I love you so much and you’ve done so much for me that claims you my strong, happy, loving and awesome mother figure, you’re irreplaceable. Thank you so much Colleen love you so much!!!”
Collin also posted about his 16th birthday. “Another year down. I have so much gratitude towards the fact that I’ve lived another great year of my life, and even more gratitude towards those who have made it a great reality,” he wrote.
“To my amazing friends and family, I love you guys so much and can’t express how happy I am to have taken on my 16th year as a struggle or a party, but regardless a good year with you guys. We’ve had good times and bad, we’ve strived and thrived, but regardless we always make up and love each other even more. Here I come 17…. taking my permit test this week wish me luck!!!”
Jon also posted to celebrate the sextuplets on their 16th birthday. He posted an image with a message to the kids. “Happy 16th birthday to Hannah and Collin!!! I miss you Leah, Joel, Alexis, and Aaden. I hope your 16th birthday is just as memorable. Love, Dad,” the image said.
“Happy 16th to my six wonderful kids!! Been a long road I wish all the best!!! Wow 16!!!! Love you all!!!”
Kate didn’t acknowledge any separation among the kids in her birthday post. “Happy 16th Birthday to my half a dozen ‘Hershey Kisses’, as they were called at birth! I love you so much!” she wrote.
“You’re 6 of the sweetest things to happen to my life! Thanks for making every Mother’s Day extra memorable! (They requested ‘junk cereals’ for their birthday lunch (?!) so I got a bit carried away, as usual, and got them 21 different kinds! 😂😂😂.”
Mady shared scenes from a birthday picnic celebrating Aaden, Alexis, Joel, and Leah, as well as Mother’s Day. She captioned the images, “the most special birthday/mother’s day celebration in the park :).” Regardless of which home they are in, hopefully the sextuplets are all happy and fulfilled as they charge forward into their 17th year.