Several years ago, Kate and Jon Gosselin provided a cautionary tale about the downsides of reality TV as America watched their marriage implode. Now, two years after they signed off of TLC for good, their lives are very different.
The "Jon & Kate Plus 8" mom and her brood appear on the cover of this week's People magazine, and the former nurse talked about how her life has changed since she was pulling in a reported $25,000 per episode on the reality show.
"Our lives have been such a roller coaster," the 38-year-old told the magazine. "We were struggling, then we were doing really well, then it all fell apart, and now we have a so-called normal life."
Her finances are a focal point of the story. She talked about living "very carefully these days" — though without mentioning that she still resides in a $1 million-plus house in Pennsylvania — saying that she's "piecing and patching together" an income. She earns money from her website, KatePlusMy8.com, and her cookbook, "Love Is in the Mix"; and she is getting ready to launch a retail discounts website, CouponsByKate.com.
Gosselin — who said she won't go back to nursing because "I'd spend everything I made on the babysitter" — admitted that she hasn't been easy to work with, which was rumored during her TLC days (a show source tells the magazine that "there was no pleasing her" and she became "impossible" to deal with) and alleged when she was canned from another coupon-related job last year.
"I made so many mistakes, of course. It feels like a whole other lifetime ago. And sometimes I don't even remember much of it. Both when the babies were born and during the divorce, I was on survival mode. I'm not the same person I was," she said. "I don't even recognize her."
As for how she is now, "I'm more laid-back now, and I realize what's important."
Gosselin no longer employs a babysitter, a housekeeper, or — most interesting — her bodyguard. The tabloids long speculated that she was romantically involved with her married security guard, Steve Neild, which she firmly denied, and the magazine reports that he's no longer on her payroll.
It does, however, seem that Gosselin is shopping around for a new job. The story mentions that "a gig on a show like 'The Talk' would be ideal," perhaps a hint for "The View" execs looking to replace their co-hosts. Whatever the job is, don't expect it to include her ex-husband — though they have received multiple offers to somehow reunite onscreen.
"There are plenty of people who would do anything to be on television, but I'm not that girl," said Gosselin, who noted that she is still single. "So everyone who thinks I'm starved for fame should know I do draw the line."
It's clear that her relationship with Jon Gosselin is still frosty. He now lives in a cabin 30 minutes from Kate's home and sees the children once a week for dinner and every other weekend for an overnight. The exes communicate exclusively via text message to minimize confrontation. Kate said, "The way he lives versus the way I live is the reason why we're divorced. Let's just leave it at that."
For his part, Jon Gosselin is still working on IT contract jobs and sells energy-efficient products on the side — though the Ed Hardy devotee daydreams about a return to TV as well.
"For the foreseeable future, I just go to work," he told People. "If a TV gig happens for me, great. If it happens for Kate, yay. In a recession you can't be choosy."
As for their "eight" — twins Mady and Cara, 12, and 9-year-old sextuplets Aaden, Alexis, Collin, Joel, Leah, and Hannah — People reports that they are well-adjusted kids who have a long list of chores and say grace before their meals. However, as their mother has said before, they miss being on TV, mostly for the free trips that took them everywhere from Australia to Hawaii.
However, Mady, who is now almost a teenager and aspires to be an actress one day, had a smart take on that, saying, "If we kept going on trips all the time and not ever seen that there's, like, a different way to live, we could have would up being really bratty, you know?"
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