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In an episode of the VICE series “Dark Side of the 2000s,” Collin Gosselin spoke up about how he was treated by his mother, Kate Gosselin, during the filming of “Jon and Kate Plus 8,” the TLC reality show that shot their family to fame.
Collin Gosselin alleged that his mother, Kate Gosselin, sent him to a behavioral institution to silence him from revealing her abusive behavior.
Collin was born in 2004, one in a set of septuplets. The six babies joined the Gosselin's older set of twins, bringing the headcount of kids in the family up to eight and inspiring the creation of a reality show following their family. By January of 2008, “Jon and Kate Plus 8” had become TLC’s highest-rated show.
“I was 3 or 4 when the show started,” Collin explained to VICE. “To be honest, I don’t really have any clear memories of before the cameras were there. You know, they were always there.”
He believed his parents had opposing viewpoints on how they wanted to raise them, stating, “I think my parents had very, very, very different perspectives on TV. My dad really understood on the level that he wanted his kids to be able to live a normal life and have a normal childhood.”
Kate and Jon went through a contentious divorce in 2009 and Kate got full legal custody of the 8 kids. TLC continued to produce the show as “Kate Plus 8.” In 2011, TLC canceled the show, only to bring it back in 2015. At that point, Collin started acting out against living his life on display.
“There was just this point in filming there, you know, where I was like, ‘I don’t want to show up on camera anymore.’ I was quiet, I would sit there and just be completely silent in interviews, or, you know, not interact or not do what I had to do,” he said, which seems like an age-appropriate response to having his intimate moments publicized.
According to Hannah, Collin’s sister, Kate's response was to single him out. As Hannah recalled, “He would be separated from us. Like, he would not get to come and play outside with us. He would eat dinner at different times than us.”
Collin explained his mom’s mistreatment by saying, “I know my mother was going through a lot of things. I mean, a divorce, and plenty of different things that can’t be easy to go through. And, you know, I want to think that she needed someone to take out her anger and frustration on, and it was just kind of me. You know, I was in the way and I was there. So, she chose me.”
Kate sent Collin to an inpatient psychiatric hospital, a move he believes was calculated to keep him from exposing the truth of her abusive behavior.
Citing undisclosed “special needs,” Kate admitted 12-year-old Collin to Fairmount Behavioral Health Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In interviews, Kate stated, “I was not able, with my own resources here, to meet his needs.”
Yet Collin tells a drastically different version of the story of why he was hospitalized. During his interview with VICE, Collin explained, “I was starting to tell my teachers that, you know, my mother was…” He trailed off, asking, “Wait, real quick, can I use the word ‘abusive’?” Someone behind the camera asked, “Are you trying to say that your mother was abusive to you?”
Collin answered, “Well, yeah, it’s, I mean, that’s kind of the reason she sent me away. But, you know, I was starting to tell people what was going on at home, and you know, she caught wind of that and had to put me somewhere where I wouldn’t be able to get the secrets out.”
Collin described the mental health institution as “a really, really dark place” that “took a toll, mentally.”
“All I had was myself,” he explained. “I didn’t have anybody else. I had no support system. It was scary. I was confused. I was lost.”
Collin was relocated to an institution in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His father was able to contact the facility, and was told that Collin “hasn’t seen a parent in almost a year and a half.” Jon went to court to fight for Collin’s release, stating, “I spent $1 million dollars getting my son out. Everything I had, I spent.”
Apart from his sister Hannah, who also lives with Jon, Collin hasn’t spoken to his siblings or his mom since 2016. He said, “I think my mom kind of drove a social barrier between us. She told them the story one way, and obviously, I see the story a different way.”
Even with Collin’s experience of his mom’s abusive behavior, he seems to view her in a compassionate light.
He said, “I didn’t know who my mom was before TV, but I think she was a different person. I think she has a good heart and she has good intentions. But TV and fame and money changes people.”
In 2022, Collin was in a near-fatal car crash, when his car flipped over after he fell asleep at the wheel. He reported that neither his siblings nor his mom reached out after the accident.
“I love them to death,” he said, of his estranged brothers and sisters. “I really, really hope one day that we can all reconnect and put the show behind us and just be siblings again, you know, take back the time that we didn’t have.”
Collin clearly has hope that the future might provide him and his siblings an opportunity to heal, as he has begun to do, by living life on his own terms.
Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers celebrity gossip, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.
This article originally appeared on YourTango