The sad truth behind Collin Gosselin's relationship with his mom

The children of Jon & Kate Plus 8 have had a microscope on their lives since infancy. The hit TLC reality series showcased the chaotic lifestyle of the Gosselin clan as its titular parents tried to raise a set of twins, Madelyn and Cara, and sextuplets Leah, Joel, Alexia, Aaden, Collin, and Hannah.

Unfortunately, the massive family has been in the news over a slew of dramatic off-air controversies. After Jon and Kate Gosselin split in 2009, the show (and all its spin-offs) became an arguably weird place, beset by drama on the screen and behind the scenes. Kate Plus 8 went off the air in 2017, but Kate Plus Date surfaced in 2019, giving viewers a front-row seat for Kate's post-divorce search for love. However, this busy mom's romantic pursuits didn't keep the drama from her past at bay. In 2019, Jon went public with some scathing accusations about Kate's alleged treatment of their son, Collin. Jon claimed Collin, who now lives with him, was abused and institutionalized by his mother. 

Let's cut through the ugly gossip and legal wranglings to take a closer look at the sad truth behind Collin's relationship with his mom.

Jon and Kate's divorce was public and messy

Jon and Kate Gosselin married in 1999 and divorced 10 years and eight kids later. Jon left their hit reality show, Jon & Kate Plus 8, midway through Season 5, which obviously upended the show's premise.

"I really would have thought [Jon would] have been here for the long haul," Kate said in a 2016 interview with People. "The weirdest thing is that overnight he became a different person." She claimed he grew miserable with their lifestyle and started staying out late and buying big-ticket items, like motorcycles and cars.

Jon countered that his wife became all-consumed by the entertainment industry. "Kate is not doing the shows for her family, Kate is doing it for herself. She's narcissistic and selfish. That's it. Period," he told the Daily Mail

The exes have battled it out in court and in the press over the years, but at the root of it all, both parents have insisted they want what's best for their children. Unfortunately, "what's best" for son Collin Gosselin has been a serious point of contention.

Jon says Kate 'wrongly institutionalized' Collin

In 2019, ten years after his divorce from Kate Gosselin, a gag order restricting Jon Gosselin's ability to talk about his relationship was lifted. He started talking a lot. Jon made headlines when he accused his ex-wife of abusing their son, Collin Gosselin.

In a scathing interview with the Daily Mail, Jon claimed Kate tortured their children, especially Collin and his sister, Hannah Gosselin, by allegedly making them continue working in the public eye. "All of this is for her – Kate Plus Eight, Kate Plus Date, it's her name first," Jon said. "She always speaks for the children. They say this, they want to do this — unicorns, rainbows and look, flying pigs. It's all lies."

Collin reportedly had to go to extreme measures to make his voice heard. In 2016, Kate told People she'd enrolled Collin in a live-in facility "to learn certain strategies to help him deal with things." She said he had a "fairly fluid diagnosis" of "special needs." Jon claimed Collin was "wrongly institutionalized," telling The Dr. Oz Show that he learned about his son's situation after Collin smuggled a letter out of the facility. 

Collin & Hannah Gosselin live with their dad

Collin Gosselin and fellow sextuplent Hannah Gosselin reportedly prefer to live with their dad instead of their mom. "Hannah has expressed she is unhappy and uncomfortable in the house with Kate [Gosselin]," an insider told E! News in 2015. 

Jon reportedly gained custody of both Collin and Hannah but says he still fears for the welfare of the rest of his children because he doesn't trust his ex-wife. "I do know what she's capable of, whether it's mental or physical," he told the Daily Mail. "I have two kids in my house who left a whole pile of money behind. They left fame and money and came to my house. They left it all behind." As for the rest of the kids, Jon has expressed hope that perhaps he can reconnect with them in the future. "I think Kate has really poisoned my children's minds against me," he told the Daily Mail

Kate has not been charged with any abuse, and she has remained relatively quiet in the midst of her ex's onslaught of allegations. However, what's been left unsaid between Kate and Collin may speak volumes.

Collin Gosselin has another mother-figure in his life

After Collin and Hannah Gosselin moved in with Jon Gosselin, the three reportedly had little contact with the rest of the Gosselins. "Right now, it's very tumultuous, pretty much because there's no contact between Collin and his other siblings," Jon told First Class Fatherhood (via Global News). "There's contact between Hannah and the other siblings, [but not with Collin]."

In fact, Collin seems more focused on this relationship with his father's long-time girlfriend, Colleen Conrad (pictured), than he is with Kate Gosselin. On Mother's Day 2020, 16-year-old Collin wrote a lengthy, sentimental Instagram post dedicated to Conrad. "Yes a mother clothes her children and cooks for them," the 16-year-old said (per the Daily Mail), "but it's the best feeling when your mother or mother figure is one of your best friends and always has your back." Collin gushed, "I could call it Mother's Day, but it's more than that, Colleen, you are so much more than a mother to me, you are one of my guidelines and one of my guiding lights."

At least to the public, Collin and Kate's relationship appears fractured, but perhaps these two are finding ways to bond in a positive way in private. Here's hoping.