Inside Jon Gosselin's Relationship With His Children

What could be more frustrating than years of bitter custody battles with your ex-wife? According to former reality star Jon Gosselin, it's trying to keep the on-again, off-again court proceedings and very public blowups from impacting the kids. And he should know — he has eight of them.

After his highly publicized split from his wife Kate Gosselin in 2009, Jon became one of the most high-profile single dads in America. His family's television show, "Jon & Kate Plus 8," began its run on Discovery Health Channel in 2007 before moving to TLC and spawned two spinoffs without Jon — "Kate Plus 8" and "Kate Plus Date." The spin-offs kept Kate and the children in the public eye until 2019.

But whatever happened to Jon Gosselin? What role did he play in helping to raise his eight kids? And what kind of relationships do they have with their dad today? Here's what we know. 

Jon sued Kate for primary custody of all eight Gosselin children in 2010

Soon after the split, tensions mounted between Jon and Kate Gosselin. And in early 2010, he accused her of manipulating his visitation time with the kids. This prompted him to sue for primary custody of Madelyn, Cara, Hannah, Collin, Aaden, Alexis, Leah, and Joel Gosselin.

The proceeding took place in a Berks County courthouse in Pennsylvania, where multiple complaints were lodged against Kate, including accusations that her stint on "Dancing with the Stars" was causing her to become an "absentee mom," Anthony F. List, Jon's lawyer at the time, told TMZ. Jon also requested a review of his child support responsibilities, because the $20,000 per month he was required to pay at the time was, according to List, "ridiculous." 

In the end, no changes were made regarding where the children would reside. All eight remained in Kate's primary care for the next six years, until one of the sextuplets made a startling decision.

Jon took sole custody of daughter Hannah in 2016

When Hannah Gosselin was 12 years old, she decided she wanted to live with her dad full-time. While Hannah has always been careful to speak respectfully of her mother, Kate Gosselin, she has mentioned that things in her mom's house weren't always to her liking.

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight in May 2022, Hannah explained why she decided to live with her father. "It's a lot, growing up in a very busy household with lots of kids. And there's not really a one-on-one relationship, for attention, that you have with your parent," she said. "I felt like my dad gave me that attention and a feeling like I had a good solid relationship with a parent." The then-18-year-old revealed that she's long had a stronger connection with her dad. However, she still found the decision hard to make.

"It was a difficult decision leaving my siblings," Hannah explained. "I did not want to be separated from them or even, like, live in a different household than them. But I just feel like there was unfair treatment in my mom's house and I just wanted to live with my dad."

Jon was later granted sole custody of Collin

In 2018, Jon Gosselin gained sole custody of then-14-year-old Collin Gosselin. The teen had spent several years in institutions for what Kate Gosselin claimed were "special needs," seemingly regarding his behavior. "You know, I don't see those things and I don't think anybody else sees those things," Collin told Entertainment Tonight. "But if that's how she sees me then, you know, that's her point of view and I hope that, if we met again one day, she would understand that, you know, it's not the case." 

In his 2022 interview with the outlet, Collin revealed he spent time in two different institutions between the ages of 12 and 14. He used words such as "dark" and "hopeless" to describe the ordeal. While in one of the institutions, Collin wrote to his dad, pleading for help. In 2017, Jon filed for full custody of Collin. The petition was granted in a Pennsylvania courtroom in 2018, with just Jon present. Kate, for undisclosed reasons, did not appear.

Jon does not have a relationship with his twin daughters

The oldest Gosselin kids, twins Madelyn and Cara are far removed from their dad Jon Gosselin. According to him, he's made active attempts to remain in touch with his estranged twins, but he says he hasn't heard from either of them in years. He places much of the blame on Kate Gosselin, telling Entertainment Tonight that she drove a wedge between himself and most of his children. "I have been alienated from those children," he admitted.

Mady and Cara are both enrolled in college in New York. Cara attends Fordham University, while Mady is studying at Syracuse. Although they have more independence these days, they haven't shown an interest in reuniting with their father.

In a 2021 interview on "The Dr. Oz Show" (via The Sun), Jon claimed he routinely reaches out to the twins. "I text them every single year. And every time I come here to your show or interview, I text my [daughters] every single time," he said." Jon revealed that his twin daughters hadn't blocked him from their phones but that they were possibly "angry and scared" to cause any hurt to their mother.

Jon said an 'invisible wall' separated Hannah and Collin from the rest of the Gosselin siblings

Before Kate Gosselin's relocation to North Carolina in 2021, Jon Gosselin spoke publicly about his wish for a reconciliation between the two children who lived with him and the four children — Leah, Joel, Alexis, and Aaden Gosselin — who still lived with his ex-wife. He told Entertainment Tonight that he wished all his children could do normal things together, such as hanging out or going to the mall.

"Kate and I don't live that far away from each other," he told the outlet in 2020 before she moved. "But I feel like there is an invisible wall." And while Jon admitted to having no contact with Kate, he said he felt the rift between the children is coming from her side. "They should be able to just get together. I have no qualms about it. If they want to go meet each other, go ahead. I feel like it's more on the other side."

As far as his own parenting skills go, Jon feels he's advocated fiercely for his kids over the last decade — and not only for them but for other single dads who are going through similar trials.

Jon's relationship with Collin slipped sideways in 2020

It wasn't all good times in the Jon Gosselin household, and in September 2020, Collin Gosselin allegedly accused his father of physically abusing him in an altercation that took place in the family's garage.

Collin went public on Instagram, claiming Jon had resorted to kicking and punching him. "Yesterday he beat me up and thought nothing of it," Collin wrote online (via People). "He punched me in the face and gave me a swollen nose and I started bleeding. He then continued to kick me in the ribs after I was on the floor." According to a source, Collin "hurled [a heavy bottle of liquid] at Jon's car. ... Jon got out of the car enraged, put him in a headlock." Jon, in explanation, said the incident resulted from the need to restrain the teen during a violent episode (via PopCulture). Hannah Gosselin also defended her father's actions to the Daily Mail, calling him "a very loving and supportive dad."

While Collin later deleted his Instagram post, it was apparently enough to launch an abuse investigation by local child services. No charges were filed, but the claim fanned the flames with Jon's ex-wife. Kate Gosselin expressed outrage, saying it was unacceptable to punch or kick a child, regardless of who or why. She told People at the time that she no longer wanted her ex-husband around any of her children, stating simply: "Enough is enough."

Jon is rarely in contact with the four children who moved to North Carolina

While he's actively involved in the lives of the two sextuplets who chose to live with him, Jon Gosselin says he has little contact with Alexis, Aaden, Joel, and Leah Gosselin who stayed with their mother (via The Sun). He also regrets that the two children who live with him have so little contact with the other sextuplets.

With Kate Gosselin's relocation to North Carolina in 2021, the distance between the siblings increased, spurring additional challenges that Jon hopes the kids will one day overcome. However, he has repeatedly stated that his door is always open to all of his children and that he hopes they'll one day feel free to reach out.

In a recent interview with Us Weekly, John lamented that he hadn't been invited to attend the college graduation ceremonies of Mady or Cara Gosselin in New York and that he hadn't spoken to either of his older children in roughly a decade. As for the four children who moved with Kate to North Carolina, Jon says he feels his ex-wife was instrumental in alienating him from their lives. 

Jon and Hannah Gosselin toured the University of Miami campus together

In 2022, as she turned 17, Hannah Gosselin expressed her desire to attend the University of Miami, where she planned to major in business. Accompanied by Jon Gosselin, she flew from Pennsylvania to Miami, both to complete a photo shoot for Gosselin Girl and to tour the university campus. She planned to use the money from her trust fund to enroll.

However, that money has been the source of much contention and court hearings between Jon and his ex-wife, Kate Gosselin. Few people, including the children, knew exactly how much money the trust funds held, but it was to begin transferring to the sextuplets in increments, beginning on their 18th birthday, according to The Sun. On at least two occasions, Kate admitted to borrowing from the funds for money to survive (via Fox News). The withdrawals allegedly totaled $100,000, which Kate vowed to repay.

As of publication, there's no word on whether Hannah enrolled in college in Miami or if she still has plans to do so.

In 2022, Jon may have gotten too involved in Hannah's business venture

When she turned 18, Hannah Gosselin announced the launch of her new beauty brand, Gosselin Girl. The brand boasts a colorful website and sells affordable products for teens, including skin serums, bath bombs, nylon mini pouches, and wristlets.

The brand launched in May 2022, but by October, there were rumors of Jon Gosselin causing dissension in the ranks. According to The Sun, the accusations came from Diane Simon, Gosselin Girl CEO, who called the dad "difficult" and expressed dislike over disparaging remarks he made regarding his ex-wife during a launch interview.

Simon has since discussed previous issues she's had with Jon, including financial problems that allegedly occurred as the two worked together on a charity project. Simon also claimed she's had to cancel several launch events with Hannah in fear of how her father might conduct himself. Seemingly, however, it's all in who you ask. A representative from the Gosselin camp claims Simon never followed through with either the charity event or with promoting Hannah's brand.

Jon would like a reunion with his kids and Kate

When Jon and Kate Gosselin's sextuplets turned 18 in May 2022, Jon's first feeling was one of relief. The constant court proceedings and custody disputes were finally over and, as he shared with The Sun, he was hopeful that his family would "start to heal."

Jon has considered participating in a "Jon and Kate Plus 8" reunion, but told Entertainment Tonight: "I got shot down amongst Kate and a couple other siblings." As for Hannah Gosselin, she's on board. "The door's not shut between us, so we still talk about it. So, I mean, maybe," she revealed.

As for the rest of the Gosselin clan, it's unclear. Having not had much say in their lives up to this point, and with the spotlight always falling on the animosity and shenanigans happening between Jon and Kate, perhaps Mady, Cara, Collin, Aaden, Alexis, Leah, and Joel Gosselin don't really know how they feel.

Jon reconfirmed his love for the sextuplets on their 19th birthday via Instagram

On May 10, 2023, Jon Gosselin posted a throwback image of all six of his sextuplets on Instagram with a caption that read: "HAPPY 19th BIRTHDAY to all my Kids!! I love you all so much!!" In the photo, the three boys stand next to their three sisters and appear to be around six years old. The picture is a bittersweet tribute to the siblings, some of whom are now estranged from each other, from their mother, and from Jon.

Still, their father seems to look on with pride, speaking hopefully of the day they might all reconnect. He recently told Us Weekly he travels so much in his current job as a DJ, that he's hopeful he'll land somewhere in the proximity of his children and that this, alone, might "spark interest" in a reunion.

In the meantime, he looks forward to the many upcoming events that will take place in his children's lives and acknowledges that though it will be awkward to see his ex-wife again, he still truly hopes for the best and happily anticipates a new beginning.