— An emotional Kate Gosselin, still wearing her wedding ring, said that she’s doing as well as can be expected in the wake of the breakup of her marriage — but still has times when she feels like a failure.
“I am as well as can be expected. I’m determined to hang in there,” Gosselin told TODAY’s Meredith Vieira in her first interview since she and her husband, Jon, confirmed that they were getting a divorce. “What life hands me, I’m going to do. My focus still is the health and well-being of my children as well as myself.”
Vieira asked her if part of her still loves Jon.
“When I think back to the Jon that I knew, yes,” Gosselin replied haltingly.
‘A lot of failure’
Gosselin broke down, brushing away tears with a tissue, when Vieira noted that she was still wearing her wedding ring. “Why?” Vieira asked.
“For them,” Gosselin said with difficulty, in reference to her eight children. “I don’t want to upset them.”
Vieira asked her about a published statement in which she said she sometimes feels like a failure.
“I wake up and I do feel a lot of failure,” Gosselin acknowledged. “This is not what any mother sets out for their children. It’s necessary. It has to take place. I think I’ve turned the focus on myself. I want my children to see a mother who’s committed to her children, who’s determined, who has integrity and perseverance and never gives up. Everything I’ve done for them is out of love.”
The mother of the twins and sextuplets who have become a star franchise on TLC through the show “Jon & Kate Plus 8” answered a broad range of questions, many of them deeply personal and visibly difficult for her to address. She denied rumors that she had an affair with her bodyguard; said she neither purchased nor ever shopped for a condo or apartment; and lashed out at her brother, 32-year-old Kevin Kreider, and his wife, Jodi, for profiting by telling stories that she said aren’t true. She also denied that the show had anything to do with the collapse of the marriage and said that her children are doing just fine despite all the turmoil.
“Every morning I wake up and it’s a new rumor,” Gosselin said of the ubiquitous tabloid stories about her and her family.
‘There is no affair’
One had her having an affair with her chief of security, Steve Neild. In reality, she said, she is merely a close friend of Neild, his wife and their family.
“There is no affair. There never has been an affair,” Gosselin told Vieira. “We are very, very good friends with him, his wife and his family. They are huge social support. It’s just another crazy rumor. It sells tabloids.”
After she visited the Neilds in Maryland, rumors surfaced that she had purchased an apartment in their building.
“There is no condo. There is no apartment. No one ever looked for one. Nobody ever bought one,” Gosselin said emphatically.
If she did not buy a condo, Vieira asked, where does she go when it is Jon’s turn to stay with the children at the Pennsylvania home they bought when things were better?
“To be very honest, I’m in hiding from the paparazzi,” Gosselin said, refusing to go into more detail.
She also said she was deeply hurt when her brother, Kreider, began telling stories to tabloids about her marriage, alleged affairs and her parenting skills, which have been called into question.
“That’s probably one of the most hurtful things in all of this, when family turns on you and makes up lies and makes allegations and makes tens of thousands of dollars for doing it,” Gosselin told Vieira. “This has become a business for them. It’s a huge source of income for them to do this. It’s almost too hurtful for words. This is a brother I was very, very close to.”
‘Peace in the house’
Through it all, she said, her children have been the focus of her life.
“My kids are wonderful, amazing, healthy, normal, developing kids,” she said. They even watch the shows they star in. “This is our life. It’s the most real reality show you’ll see,” she told Vieira. “It is essentially home video for them. It is their favorite show to watch. They see Mommy and Daddy. I want them to see that each one of them was wanted and loved and cared for.”
Gosselin said that she is trying to ease the children into the idea that the family they knew is no more.
“I just feel that is the best thing for them, to walk slowly through it,” Gosselin said. The benefit of the couple’s separation, she added, is that the marital fighting is over. “There’s more peace in the house. It’s happier that way.”
Gosselin denied her husband’s account of the marriage’s breakup. He had said that she said it was over last October. “Clearly, we have totally different takes on what happened.”
She said that the blame for the marriage’s failure should be shared by both herself and Jon.
“Nobody’s perfect. I was not perfect. Obviously, it takes two,” she told Vieira. “I don’t know, to be honest, what would I go back and change. It’s hard to say.”
But no one should blame the show for the failure of the marriage, she added.
“Those decisions don’t affect me. If you’re asking if this was an end result of the show, I feel like it would have happened anyway, cameras on, cameras off,” she said.
Twins, then sextuplets
Jon and Kate met at a party in 1997 and married two years later. Kate was subsequently diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome, which prevented her from ovulating. The couple went to a fertility clinic, and by February 2000, Kate was pregnant with twins. The twins, Cara and Madelyn (Mady), were born Oct. 8.
Three years later, Kate became pregnant again, this time with sextuplets. Despite some difficulties during the pregnancy, Alexis, Aaden, Collin, Leah, Hannah and Joel were all healthy when they were born on May 10, 2004.
In 2007, “Jon & Kate Plus 8” began the first of what have become five seasons on TLC and rapidly became the most popular show on the cable network. Unconfirmed reports have estimated that the couple receives $35,000-$50,000 per episode. But the couple’s seemingly ideal marriage began to unravel in a very public and messy way this past March, when photos of Jon partying with college-age girls surfaced on the Internet.
In April, paparazzi snapped shots of Jon leaving a Pennsylvania bar with 23-year-old Deanna Hummel. Although both denied an intimate relationship, rumors about the health of the marriage swirled.
In early May, Jon denied having cheated on Kate, and Kate said on TODAY that she and her husband were dealing with their marital problems privately. A week later, rumors were published claiming that Kate was having an affair with her bodyguard, Steve Neild. The reports were denied.
Highly public split
All the turmoil drew the largest audience in TLC history — almost 10 million viewers — to the May 25 premiere of the fifth season of “Jon & Kate.” The couple did not directly address their problems, but by June 15 Jon was quoted in People magazine denying that their decision to continue the show was harming the children.
A week later, Jon and Kate announced on their show that they were separating. The highly anticipated show shattered ratings records for TLC with 10.6 million viewers. After the episode aired, they confirmed that both had filed for divorce.
On July 6, Kate told People that the show did not cause the collapse of her marriage. “This is a situation that absolutely would have happened whether the cameras were here or not. I don’t want people thinking we traded our marriage for fame. Ever. It’s not a fair assumption,” she said.
Meanwhile, Jon, who has rented an apartment in New York, was linked to 22-year-old Hailey Glassman. Less than two weeks later, he was with Kate Major, a Star Magazine reporter who resigned after the pictures were published.
Details of the couple’s marital problems continue to come out. On Aug. 6, in an exclusive interview with In Touch Weekly, Jon said that the marriage had come to a practical end in October, when Kate told him it was over.