Jon Gosselin has had one of the wildest and most tumultuous experiences in parenting, and it has all played out in front of our very eyes. It’s been over a decade since Jon and Kate Gosselin divorced after becoming America’s favorite family thanks to their TLC series Jon & Kate Plus 8. The episode where they announced their divorce drew over 10 million viewers.
When the marriage ended, the custody battle began. Jon was concerned for the children’s well-being in regard to filming, which was reportedly a major point of contention between him and Kate at the end of their marriage. He filed to keep the kids from filming in 2009, but he found himself up against both Kate and TLC in an uphill battle as they moved forward, rebranding the show as Kate Plus 8.
In 2010, Jon sued for custody of all eight children as Kate competed on Dancing With the Stars. He claimed the time spent away filming led Kate to neglect the kids. He also shared claims that Kate was “abusing” her authority in scheduling visitation and failed to provide documentation of the kids’ expenses as required. Their custody arrangement wasn’t changed as a result of the filing.
Five years later, their custody arrangement made headlines again when court documents obtained by Radar Online showed Jon’s claims that Kate was abusive toward the children. The documents showed that the children had reportedly told teachers they were being locked in their bedrooms at night, that they had appeared with marks from being hit, and that the kids were being instructed to keep things from their father.
The next two years were a roller coaster for the Gosselins. Jon filed for custody of Hannah in 2015, but a year later Kate revealed they weren’t allowed to publicly speak about custody or the kids. It was during that time that fans were inquiring about Collin, who was suddenly absent from family photos shared to social media. Collin had been put in a home for children with special needs, where he remained until Jon gained custody of him.
Jon continued to fight for custody of Hannah as he struggled to find out what was happening with Collin. Despite two appeals from Kate, Jon was awarded custody of Hannah in 2018. He filed and obtained custody of Collin by the year’s end.
That same year, a Pennsylvania judge ruled it was not in the kids’ best interest to continue filming, an order that would be defied by Kate and TLC.
Today, things remain contentious between Jon and Kate, though they no longer interact with each other. Jon recently explained that while Hannah still has a relationship with her siblings, the other six children are not in touch with Collin. In a recent interview with Entertainment Tonight, he explained what he would love to see happen.
“My wish is that all my kids would just be together, like, hang out together,” he shared.
“Kate and I don’t live that far away from each other and I feel like there’s an invisible wall. They should just be able to just get together. I mean, I have no qualms about it. If they wanna go meet each other, just go ahead. But I feel like it’s more on the other side,” he continued.
“I’m hoping that when my kids — and they will get their license, and when I say my kids I’m referring to Hannah and Collin — that they’ll just drive to school and pick up their siblings. And legally, no one can stop them from doing so.”
Jon shared a message for the kids he’s no longer in contact with. “Leah, Aaden, Joel, and Alexis, I love you. You’re welcome to come over, call Hannah, Collin,” he expressed.
“I don’t know what’s holding you up. I don’t know what the ill will is, but if you watch or don’t watch or see it on the internet, I love you, happy birthday.”
“Sorry I have to go through media channels,” he candidly said.
“I know no one likes that or whatever, but it’s kinda hard to reach out to you. But anyway, good luck and hopefully you call, or call Hannah, and you can walk to my house. It’s all good.”
Jon also explained that while he doesn’t have a relationship with the kids, he does see them every once in a while. They run into each other in their small town and exchange smiles and waves.
“If they’re with their mother, I don’t want to upset the balance … And it’s not my place to intervene. It’s up to them,” he explained. “You don’t wanna make it uncomfortable for the child. So, I just go about … and I’m comfortable with it myself.”
Mady and Cara are adults now at 19 years old, but they never chose to reach out to Jon. He believes it’s been “six or seven years” since he last spoke to them.
“I just give it time, maybe as adults they’ll come talk to me. I don’t know,” Jon said.
“The time has been so much, I mean, when I look back it is upsetting because I did spend a lot of time with my twins,” he continued. You can tell that Jon truly feels their absence but wants to respect their wishes.
“But they told me they don’t want me to talk about them in the press, so I try not to talk about them in the press because I don’t really know them.”
When asked what he thinks could get the whole family back in one room again, he speculates it could be a wedding in the future.
“Maybe a wedding, their weddings might be one of those,” he said.
“‘Hey, how are you?’ I have no idea. I’m more of an extroverted personality, I’m very outgoing. I tend to forgive easy. I don’t forget. We’re Korean, we don’t forget.”