Ten days after their 10th wedding anniversary, Jon and Kate Gosselin announced on their hit TLC reality show that they are splitting. Legal proceedings to dissolve their marriage began Monday.
"Kate and I have decided to separate," a candid Jon announced, calling Monday's episode his "hardest" show ever. "It's just not good for us to be arguing in front of our kids. ... We can't be cordial with one another."
While Kate said she is "not fond of the idea," she knows it is "necessary." She said she will remain at their $1.1 million home in Wernersville, Pa., and "Jon will also come here when it is his days, and we will flip-flop that way."
Though she said this is not what she wants for their kids, "My goal is peace."
With tears in her eyes, she added, "If peace needs to be brought about by this, then I'm in agreement."
Jon called the split "a shame," adding, "I will always love her as the mother of my kids."
"We're not running away from them," he said of their kids. "We're just living our separate lives and coming back and being with them."
Kate said she is trying to stay positive. "There's a lot of happiness in the past," she said. "I hope that happiness continues. ... You can find happiness if you look hard enough in any situation."
As for the future of the show, they will continue to interview separately, as they have done so far this season.
Jon - who has been eyeing apartments in New York City - said he doesn't know if he'll remain on the show, as he could get a new job. ("I'm only 32 years old," he said. "I don't know what's going to happen." He also said he is "excited" about starting a new chapter in his life.)
But Kate said, "The show must go on. I will continue to be here, be with the kids, do the same things I've always done with them." Kate said what "worries" her the most about their split is living with "the label that we failed -- how that will affect our kids; how they'll be another statistic; how they'll say, 'My parents split up when I was fill-in-the-blank age.'"
"I don't want to be alone," Kate added of raising 8-year-old twins, Madelyn and Cara, and 5-year-old sextuplets, Aaden, Joel, Collin, Hannah, Leah and Alexis. "But it's required and I've got to do it."
The two didn't discuss specific details about Jon's wild nights with 23-year-old school teach Deanna Hummel, but he did admit: "It's been a hard seven to eight months. It's been a harder four months."
A big issue for the couple: Jon said he was always "too passive" during his marriage to Kate. "I just let her rule the roost and do whatever she wanted to do," he explained. "Now I've finally stood up on my own two feet, and I'm proud of myself."
Tension between the two was palpable at the beginning of Monday's show as the family installed playhouses from the Kids Crooked House company. The couple clashed over where the playhouses should go.
Jon cleared land deep in the woods - an area he thought would be safe because the paparazzi wouldn't be able to photograph the kids. Kate didn't object initially, but when she saw where the houses would be located, she got upset.
"I was concerned that they would never go down there, and if they did, an adult would need to go with them," she said. "To have an adult walk down there is not always feasible."
She said she feared communicating her concern with Jon: "My stomach is turning because i know this is going to cause a huge fight."
"Any flak he receives turns into a huge blowup," she explained. "I just didn't want to rock the boat, yet I wanted to do the right thing for my kids."
When she broached the subject with Jon, he snapped, "I cleared all the land - that's where they're going. Goodbye."
So Kate ended up asking the men from the playhouse company to tell Jon that the houses were too far away. Said Kate, "In the end, he relented and gave in and said that was fine. I guess it was because it wasn't me that was suggesting it directly to him, possibly."