What Kate Gosselin's life is like today

During its less complicated days, Jon and Kate Plus 8 pulled in record ratings—to the point where it was even dominating network TV shows. The reality show about Kate and Jon Gosselin and their eight kids (twins and a set of sextuplets) was a huge hit for TLC. The Gosselins transformed from a struggling family to full-fledged reality stars. While the show's success was a lifesaver for the big brood's finances, the meteoric rise to fame quickly took its toll on Kate and Jon. 

Just two years after Jon and Kate Plus 8 premiered, the couple became a tabloid target and announced its separation amidst rumors of infidelity. With a messy divorce tarnishing the show's family-friendly appeal, TLC pulled the plug, but not before laying the groundwork for a retooled version of the show called Kate Plus 8. The spin-off chronicled her new life as a single parent. Fortunately, this busy mom has weathered the storm, and though parts of her life have dramatically changed, some things remain.

She's still doing reality TV

With new episodes of Kate Plus 8 premiering in July 2017, Kate and her kids have been on TV for more than a decade. But since the divorce, the fate of the show has always been up in the air, in part due to Jon's attempts to throw a wrench in the works. He's raised some valid concerns about his children being exploited for the show, but Kate seems to have successfully navigated questions about the kids' well-being and emotional development.

She's also has been upfront about her motivation for doing the show. How else is she going to afford raising eight kids? In her 2010 book, I Just Want You to Know, she openly apologizes to her children for their "unconventional" upbringing but doesn't hold back about why they ended up on reality TV. They needed the money. The family was surviving on donations from a local church and barely making ends meet.

Granted, Kate will forever face criticism, and her own doubts, about whether she made the right choice, but at the end of the day, she provided for her children, and that's no small thing. Heck, she even went on The Celebrity Apprentice and got embarrassingly fired by Donald Trump (but that's probably a tuition payment right there). No one ever said parenting was easy.

Her divorce with Jon is still messy

Ever since they separated in 2009, Kate's relationship with Jon has been a dicey affair. 

He's made headlines for pool parties in Vegas, questionable relationships, an attempt at becoming a stripper, and hobnobbing with controversial pals such as Ed Hardy founder Christian Audigier and Lindsay Lohan's dad, Michael Lohan. Jon's biggest weapon against Kate is his ability to raise concerns about her parenting and the way reality TV is impacting their kids. 

As for Kate, she's generally issued measured responses when Jon pops up in the tabloids, but behind the scenes, their dynamic has reportedly grown heated. In 2016, she filed a police report accusing Jon of kidnapping their daughter, Hannah, according to In Touch. Kate also alleged Jon was dealing drugs and using his DJ gigs as a front. Though her allegations were nasty, Jon was cleared by a judge, which was not a good look for a Kate.

At the time of this writing, Kate still has primary custody of the kids, but Jon gets to see them "once a week for dinner and every other weekend," reported E! News, with the notable exception of twins Mady and Cara, who refuse to see their dad.

Mady and Cara are bringing the teenage drama

In 2014, Mady and Cara Gosselin made headlines when they appeared on the TODAY show with their mom. Kate asked them to refute reports that they were unhappy and don't like being on TV, but the girls clammed up. Kate reportedly went "type-A crazy" on the girls backstage, according to the New York Daily News, but that was only the beginning of the twin's journey into adolescence and all the drama that comes with it.

As Kate Plus 8 continued, it became clear that Kate's iron-fisted rule over the house was buckling under the pressure of raising two teenage daughters, on top of six other siblings whose teen years were just around the corner. (We're stressed out just thinking about it, and they're not even our kids!)

The tense dynamics have led to some memorable moments on the show, and according to Us Weekly, the famously uptight Kate has learned to adapt. "They are hard on me," she said during a January 2017 episode. "I give it as hard as they give it." She added, "Honesty is good, and that just means they can feel honest in the family."

Her love life hasn't improved

After years of swearing off romance, Kate reportedly began dating millionaire Jeff Prescott in January 2015. However, Prescott pulled the plug two days before he was scheduled to appear on Kate Plus 8, according to Entertainment Tonight. Here's where things get tricky:

As news of the breakup spread, Kate took to Twitter to deny the two were ever together. "Sorry guys. You've been 'duped' by the tabloids again! There was no breakup recently/at all. Gotta b in a relationship in order 2 'break up'!" A few days later, sources close to Prescott told TMZ that he genuinely believed he'd been dating Kate but bailed because he thought she was using him to boost ratings for the show.

Prescott still hasn't changed his tune. In a 2016 interview with Radar, he claimed he broke up with Kate because she was already planning a spin-off show focused on their relationship, and he didn't feel like that was a good idea for his children from a previous marriage. It probably didn't help that a 53-year-old Prescott allegedly fell for a 27-year-old business grad shortly before dumping Kate. Awkward.

Strangely, despite the relationship's questionable authenticity, it was the only time since her divorce that Kate has been actively seen pursuing love, which has only added fuel to persistent rumors that she's secretly had a man in her life for a very long time.

The whole bodyguard situation is still a mystery

Kate has been hounded by rumors that she not only cheated on Jon with her married bodyguard, Steve Neild, but that she's maintained a secret relationship with him that TLC has allegedly covered up, reported Radar.

Reality Tea reported that the two often take "long, lingering walks" and stay in the same hotel room when they travel, which definitely sounds suspicious. However, in 2014, Neild reportedly quit working with Kate to focus on his own family. However, barely two months later, he was reportedly back with Kate and the kids as they navigated a trip to Massachusetts.

As of 2016, Neild was still working for Kate, according to Radar, and unfounded rumors about a romance between them have continued. Despite the chatter, we can't help but think that with eight kids and a disgruntled ex-husband, you'd think someone would have spilled the beans by now if Kate was in love with her bodyguard. Plus, there's the issue of Neild's wife and kids. That's a whole lot of people to keep quiet.

She's out of the Christian book game

Before her marriage fell apart, Kate and her family booked lucrative speaking tours at churches, and she published two bestseller books with Christian publishing house Zondervan. "Of all the viewers who followed the Gosselins, evangelicals were among the most faithful," reported Christianity Today, until it became clear that the Gosselins' marriage wasn't as wholesome as it appeared on TV. 

In the aftermath of the divorce, Zondervan put the brakes on Kate's cookbook, Love is in the Mix, which she eventually published with HCI Books instead. 

She's cut off from her old family and friends

In 2014, Kate's sister, Kendra Weber, and an anonymous friend, told the Daily Mail that Kate had essentially cut herself off from the family and church members who'd chipped in to help the family make ends meet before hitting it big on TLC.

"There's a trail of a lot of hurt people in her wake," the friend said. "I don't know if Kate even cares about that. There were older women in the community who were at her house for three, four, five hours every day for two years. Their lives revolved around the children and now they have no contact with them. We don't even know whether the kids know about us and realize what we did for them."

In Kate's defense, she may have good reason to keep her distance from her family. Her brother, Kevin Kreider, and his wife Jodi, who often appeared on episodes of the show, testified against Kate during a state investigation to determine if Jon and Kate Plus 8 violated child labor laws, which it did not, according to Us Weekly. Months later, Radar reported that Kate's mother accused Jodi of trying to sabotage the show because she was jealous and upset about being let go by producers. 

Considering all this went down after her divorce from Jon, it's easy to understand why Kate might have tightened her inner circle. 

She can't trust the kids' nannies

Not long after Kate's family started spilling family secrets, a former nanny provided Radar with a copy of the "Gosselin Manual," an intense rulebook written by Kate for her team of nannies. Guidelines included "cooking, laundry, landscaping, pool maintenance, trash duty, and even caring for her flock of chickens." Yeesh. There was even a section on "Pet Peeves," threatening meltdowns if Kate's instructions were ignored.

"The kitchen is my baby." Kate wrote. "I have an exact way of caring for it. There is definitely a right and wrong in the kitchen. Knives are very expensive and ONLY get washed BY HAND…I have meltdowns about my knives and improper use regularly, FYI!"

Kate also had strict demands about keeping the kids looking clean at all times. "Each day, twice a day, each room in the house, including bathrooms, should be straightened, returning ALL items to their proper places," the manual states. "It is stressful to come home to clutter! Very important! [As a] general rule, the house should never look like it is lived in by the end of the day."

Again, with eight kids under her roof, is it that unreasonable to learn that Kate runs a tight ship? Sure, it might be make her seem a bit overbearing, but if it helps her be a better mom in a highly unusual situation, who are we to judge?

The tabloids are taking their toll

While appearing on The Dr. Oz Show in late 2016, Kate opened up about her struggle to deal with negative tabloid stories.

"I'm a very visual person, so your emotional and psychological energy, like, I do actually, picture it as like a barrel of energy, this stuff just eats—it drags you down," she told Dr. Oz (via People). "It eats away at you. It drains your physical energy."

Kate became particularly incensed when she talked about how the bad press affects her children. "It's probably the most difficult part because I could sit here and do every talk show and every news show every day for the rest of my life and what's so upsetting is that there's still going to be a percentage of people that still can't tell the true me from the tabloid picture they've created. And that angers me and that angers me even more when it affects my children and it talks about them."

Things aren't so good with Collin

In August 2016, Kate told People that she'd made the difficult decision to enroll her son Collin in a program away from home.

"Collin has special needs," she said. "[There's] a fairly fluid diagnosis of what those needs are, but he needs to learn certain strategies to help him deal with things. This has been a struggle we've had for a very long time, and it's one I've dealt with on my own. I've felt very alone in this. By the same token, it's not something that has only impacted me or him—our entire family has been impacted."

Things got ugly when Life & Style ran a report claiming Kate had been investigated for child abuse after Collin spoke to staffers at his treatment facility. In an interview with Good Morning America (via Us Weekly), she called the claims "absolutely" untrue. "I'm in the public eye," she said. "I've been investigated many times [by child services]. It's always unfounded, obviously."

Kate has never been charged with any form of child abuse, and her custody agreement with has Jon never changed, despite his threats to take her to court over issues with Collin. 

She's doing the best she can

Kate will be the first to tell you that she's not perfect and has definitely made mistakes while raising her eight children in front of TV cameras. The show itself might even be one of them, but at the end of the day, she has undoubtedly provided a future for her kids that she wouldn't have been able to afford without their reality fame. 

Whether or not it was worth the price is too early to tell, but like any mom or dad, Kate is doing the best she can. Has it gotten messy along the way? Absolutely. But, hey, that's parenting.