Jon & Kate Plus 8 returned to TLC tonight for the first time since Jon and Kate Gosselin announced their separation in June.
Back-to-back episodes featured Kate in two different bikinis, closeups of the kids and a noticeably absent Jon (he's been to St. Tropez with Hailey Glassman and then New York's Hamptons with Kate Major over the past few weeks).
On the first show, Kate took her kids to Bald Head Island, N.C., to escape a kitchen renovation in her $1.1-million Pennsylvania home. "It's kind of strange we're remodeling our kitchen in the middle of our separation, but it's something that we already planned beforehand," Jon said, adding that the house upgrade was "really for [the kids]."
After a few tense conversations (Kate snapped to Jon, "What planet do you live on?" at one point), she left town with the children. Admitted Jon: "I think Kate and I needed a break from each other. This landed at a good time. Kate could take the kids to the beach, and I could stay here and supervise cabinet construction."
Kate showed off her first bright orange bikini — and free tummy tuck — on the sand. "I'm not as ridiculous as I used to be. I'm just going to cook and dig in the sand with my kids," she said before burying Mady in the sand. Jon admitted he was "extremely bored" with the kids gone. Kate struggled being solo.
"Many times every day it occurred to me this was minus Jon. It was a constant thought on my mind," she told cameras from the armchair, which replaced the loveseat she used to share with Jon in prior seasons. "While the kids had a great time, they mentioned numerous times they wished daddy could have been there."
Jon wasn't present at all in the second episode, which featured Kate and the kids camping in their backyard. The family also took a dip in the backyard pool, where Kate showed off her second bright blue bikini. "This was my first official turn with the kids. It didn't feel very different," she said. Later, Kate admitted, "It's a very difficult time right now. Those words don't even cover it. My goal is to make it as easy and painless for the kids."
Kate struggled to set up two tents while the kids taunted her that "daddy did it different." One of the twins told cameras, "We'd probably die if we lived in nature with her." A production assistant ended up setting up the second tent. A thoughtful Kate said, "I take it one day at a time. Sometimes one hour, and sometimes even a minute at a time." The kids soon bonded together, roasting S'mores, joking and chasing each other with Glow Sticks.
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