Jon and Kate strongly suggest their marriage is over

During the first episode of the fifth season of Jon & Kate Plus Eight, which followed months of tabloid coverage, Jon and Kate Gosselin all but said their relationship is over. “Very swiftly, we turned into two different people, and it’s just hard,” Kate said at the end of the extended episode, while Jon said they are “going in two different directions now.” When asked by a producer about their future, they both just said they were committed to their kids.

Their separate interviews–a first for the show–were taped last weekend, following their kids’ fifth birthday party on May 10. Jon and Kate both came off as sympathetic (more Kate than Jon) and infuriating (more Jon than Kate, surprisingly), and their lives seem pretty sad. Their actions also revealed a lot, like when Jon showed up separately and late to the kids’ birthday party, after leaving Kate alone to plan the party.

In the most ironic line of the night, Jon said, “I hate the media storm stuff. I did not sign up for public scrutiny of everything, and neither did Kate.” Yes, you did: Those cameras in your house taping you say that? You’re on television, and so are your kids. He did point out that they have “a different kind of career, because this your life and your career. And no other place does that exist. We originally did the show to document our kids lives, and it’s become a business just like everything else,” Jon said.

Speaking of his kids, Jon is most concerned about the accusations he cheated on Kate because “one day, my kids are going to Google me.” He again denied cheating, saying that he was caught “doing nothing but being innocent and hanging out. I never cheated on Kate,” he said, and at that moment, shrugged his shoulders–just barely, but it was a clear motion. That matters because “a shrug of either or both shoulders while responding to a direct inquiry suggests the person is in denial of the true facts,” according to The Truth About Lying.

Jon and Kate’s conversations about their recent lives were cut with footage of the fifth birthday party and preparation for that, including a trip to a store, where Kate and her kids were met by paparazzi. “Do it quickly because the paparazzi is coming after us,” Kate told her kids, telling us, “I make them call the p-people.” Paparazzi are pretty much bottom-feeding and soulless human beings, but they do their jobs because people buy what they capture, as there’s both a market and an audience. “Do you ever think about the human on the cover? I never did. I do now,” Kate said of tabloids in one of her introspective, self-aware moments–and she had quite a few of those. (She was even funny when she was being serious: “I have a lot of anger. I always say that so blandly.”)

Still, Kate didn’t seem to draw the connection between that and the TV show, and even praised fans who are, of course, the people fueling the current frenzy. “I have learned that I am very grateful to our fans, who I was once was probably not so fond of. As we would go out in public, I would look at them like, seriously, get enough, we’re just a family–forgetting that they invite us into their living room and we’re part of their family,” she said. But then she also admitted that “even the naysayers, they keep me where I need to be. … If you’re watching for whatever reason, I appreciate you.”

As to her relationship with Jon, Kate said there have been problems in their marriage for six months “and maybe even longer, if I was being really honest,” and told us, “Have I been hard on him over the last almost 10 years that we’ve been married? Absolutely. I would never deny that. You have it on tape,” she said (and they certainly do). “I’ve always regretted it. Have I pushed him to this? I don’t feel like I have, because I feel like everyone is responsible for their own actions.”

She never really said what the “this” is, but kept dancing around Jon’s indiscretion and the state of their marriage. “This is not what I envisioned for us, not what I envisioned for him. He’s made some very poor decisions, and we all have to live with them,” she said.

Later, she suggested they were on the verge of divorce. At the birthday party earlier this month, Kate said, “I remember thinking, This could possibly could be, maybe, I don’t know, our last family picture. So I knew it was important to do,” she said. “You know, parents of multiples have, like, triple the divorce rate and thinking we were going to beat that. But I don’t know if I can say that anymore. Very swiftly we turned into two very different people and it’s just hard. I’ve tried for six months to figure out what the problem is or remedy the problem or–I don’t know. It’s so complicated, and it’s just difficult.”

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In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.