The former couple, who tied the knot in 1999, introduced the world to their family following the birth of their sextuplets: Alexis, Collin, Joel, Hannah, Leah and Aaden. After the family of 10 — Jon and Kate also share twins Mady and Cara — were featured on two Discovery Health specials in 2005 and 2006, they landed their own reality series, Jon & Kate Plus 8, in 2007. The first two seasons of the show aired on Discovery Health before the series moved to TLC.
Despite their August 2008 vow renewal ceremony in Hawaii, tension between the pair was visible on the show as they disagreed over how to raise their eight children. In May 2009, Us Weekly broke the news that Jon had allegedly been unfaithful and Kate filed for divorce just one month later. “Parents of multiples have triple the divorce rate,” the mother-of-eight said in a May 2009 episode of their reality show. “I was thinking we were going to beat that. I don’t know if I can say that anymore.”
Their divorce was finalized in December 2009. Kate was awarded full legal custody of the children and though the couple shared physical custody, Jon claimed in January 2016 that he hadn’t seen all 8 of his children in three years. Later that year, the pair’s custody issues made headlines again when Kate revealed that Collin, one of the sextuplets, was in residential treatment for behavioral issues.
“We are both court ordered not to speak about the care and custody of our children in detail. I’ve known all along where [Collin] is, but the world doesn’t know, and I’ll leave it at that,” Kate told Good Morning America at the time.
Jon’s lawyers, however, said in a statement to Us that his ex-wife wasn’t sharing the “whole story” with the world. “Jon is bound by the court order. Needless to say, certain comments and statements that are being made are very upsetting to Jon, but given his obligation to the court order, there is not much he can do right now,” his lawyer Kristen Doleva-Lecher said in November 2016 adding that Jon was also “very upset by certain statements made to the press” and that he feels “the whole story is not being told.”
Two years later, Jon revealed that one of the sextuplets, Hannah, was living with him full-time in Pennsylvania, rather than with her mother in North Carolina. He was granted sole physical and legal custody of Collin in December 2018, and the teen joined his sister and father in Pennsylvania.
“I wish that all my kids would just be together, hang out together, go to the mall. Just hang out together,” Jon told Entertainment Tonight in May 2020. “Kate and I don’t live that far away from each other, but I feel like there is an invisible wall. [The kids] should be able to just get together. … I have no qualms about it. If they want to go meet each other, go ahead. I feel like it’s more on the other side.”
Keep scrolling to see all of Jon and Kate’s ups and downs over the years: