It’s hard to believe that it’s been 12 years since we were first introduced to the Gosselin family. Their reality show, Jon & Kate Plus 8, first premiered in April 2007.
The reality series gave us an inside look at parents Jon and Kate Gosselin as they tackled raising a set of twins and a set of sextuplets.
Now those twins are all grown up! Jon and Kate’s oldest daughters, Mady and Cara, are 18 years old. They just celebrated their high school graduation and are headed off to separate colleges in the fall.
Having your kids head off to college is a very emotional experience. Kate is tackling the project twice over, while also getting four of the sextuplets ready for their first year of high school.
Kate’s also back on TV, giving love another chance on the recently premiered Kate Plus Date. It’s a very transformative time for the family, and their matriarch reflected on all the changes ahead in a recent interview with People.
Kate Gosselin’s life has been full of twists and turns. After being told that she would never be able to conceive due to polycystic ovarian syndrome, Kate underwent fertility treatments. She gave birth to twin daughters Mady and Cara on October 8, 2000.
Three years later, Kate and Jon wanted to grow their family. After further fertility treatments, she became pregnant with sextuplets. Kate gave birth to Aaden, Alexis, Collin, Hannah, Joel, and Leah on May 10, 2004. The sextuplets were born 10 weeks premature.
The family’s story first came into the public eye when they were featured on the reality series Home Delivery, where their house was converted to accommodate their growing family. A year later, the Discovery Health Channel did a special on the family called Surviving Sextuplets and Twins.
A year after that, they did a follow-up special called Sextuplets and Twins: One Year Later. The ratings on the two specials were so high that Discovery Health offered the family their own reality show. In April 2007, Jon & Kate Plus 8 premiered.
Fast-forward to present day, and a lot of things have changed for this big family. Jon and Kate went through an ugly divorce that began in 2009 amid rumors of infidelities by both parties. Their divorce finalized later that year, but custody battles continued up until last year.
Today, Kate has Mady, Cara, Aaden, Alexis, Joel, and Leah living with her. Jon has Collin and Hannah. Kate’s house is about to get a bit emptier, though, as her oldest two are heading off to college this fall.
“It is the biggest mixed bag of emotions and stress I have ever faced,” Kate told People. The twins will be 19 this October. They recently celebrated their high school graduation and will be heading off to two different schools in the fall.
“Mady and Cara really steered the ship in terms of applying to colleges; they knew what they wanted, and I trusted them,” Kate explained. “That same feeling is going to have to carry me through my fears now when I think about them going off on their own, fending for themselves, being alone for the first time.”
As the days of summer fly by fast, the kids have no problem teasing mom about their upcoming departure.
“They think it’s hilarious to make me cry at a moment’s notice,” Kate said. “They’ll say things like, ‘You know this is the last Christmas we’ll spend here while we’re living at home,’ just to catch me off guard.”
“It’s just too overwhelming to think in terms of ‘I’m not going to see them for so so long.’ You have to take it in increments,” she explains. Her feelings are amplified by the fact that each of the girls has decided to strike out on her own.
“They agreed all along that they don’t want to go to the same school,” Kate revealed. “Their ambitions are so different that they really felt, there’s not one college that would fully answer what each of them wanted.”
She’s proud that the girls are following their dreams, but the logistics of getting everyone to school will be a little tough on her. She said, “Within six days, Mady has to be dropped off, Cara has to be dropped off and the little kids begin their first day of high school.”
With just four kids in the house, Kate knows the dynamics will change. “One thing I’m really going to miss is having them to guide their younger siblings,” she noted. “They’ve gotten so much closer with each passing year. I worry about how much we are all going to miss them.”
Venturing into new territory can be a lot for any mom, but Kate remains hopeful it’ll all go smoothly. She also hopes the girls will come home to visit often. “I don’t care if they only come home to see the dog — fine with me,” Kate says. “As long as they come home!”