TLC Child Stars Who Are Estranged From Their Parents

The following article mentions drug addiction, murder, and sexual abuse.

Many would agree that TLC has had some of the best reality TV series over the years. After all, that network brought us iconic shows like "Say Yes to the Dress," and "90 Day Fiancé." So it makes sense that TLC has created a lot of reality TV stars too, especially since their shows often center around members of very large families, such as the Duggars and the Gosselins. While that sounds pretty wholesome, growing up on TLC hasn't been easy for many of the kids in those families.

It's safe to say that a lot of reality TV stars, at any age, frequently have a hard time handling their new-found fame. When it comes to famous families though, that can result in members turning on each other. Collin Gosselin, from "Jon & Kate Plus 8" has made it clear that he believes TV notoriety hurt his family. He told ET, "I think it tore us apart. It gave us less time to actually be together as a family." The new money that comes with fame can also cause tension. Jill Duggar from "19 Kids and Counting," for example, suggested on the docuseries "Shiny, Happy People" that she resented her own father for keeping money from the show from her. "I never received any payout—no check, no cash, no nothing," she said.

This only scratches the surface. There are many TLC child stars who are now estranged from their parents. Let's break down their family drama.

Collin Gosselin

It's no secret that the Gosselin family didn't necessarily handle the success of their TLC show "Jon and Kate Plus 8" well. That's because after finding TV fame for having a set of twins and sextuplets, Jon and Kate Gosselin had a bitter divorce and custody battle that divided their family. Most of the kids appear to have sided with Kate, except one of the sextuplets, Collin Gosselin, who has been estranged from her since she sent him away to an institution for behavioral issues.

Jon eventually took custody of Collin before he lost contact with his mom.  "I don't think we had much of a relationship and I think that just kept tearing it even more down," Collin later told ET. He also blamed reality TV for going to his mother's head and claimed that she had an "agenda." However, he is apparently open to one day reconciling with her. "I think every son wants to have a relationship with their mom," he said. Even Jon expressed wishes that Collin and Kate could find a way to work through their issues.

While there seemed to be hope when Kate attended Collin and sister Hannah Gosselin's 2023 high school graduation, a source told The U.S. Sun that Kate only celebrated Hannah. Another insider told InTouch Weekly that Kate seems to have mixed feelings about making amends. That unidentified person explained, "He is her child, and she loves him regardless, but she can be very spiteful."

Aaden, Alexis, Leah, and Joel Gosselin

Former "Jon and Kate Plus 8" star Collin Gosselin isn't the only Gosselin estranged from a parent. Four of the sextuplets don't speak to their dad. That apparently stemmed from Jon and Kate Gosselin's years-long custody battle that resulted in two of the sextuplets, Hannah and Collin, living with Jon, and the remaining four, Aaden, Alexis, Leah, and Joel staying with Kate. Jon is estranged from the four who live with Kate, which he blames her for. He explained to The U.S. Sun, "Kate didn't want them talking to me. I didn't do parental alienation on my side but she definitely did."

It seems that Jon has struggled to cope with how much time he's lost with most of his sextuplets. In 2023, for example, he expressed his disappointment that he couldn't wish them a happy birthday since he hadn't spoken to them since 2018. He took their high school graduation hard too, telling People, "I had eight graduations this year. I only attended one."

Jon has continued to reach out to his estranged children over the years though. In 2020, he even said on ET, "I don't know what the ill will is, but if you watch or don't watch or see it on the internet, I love you." He apologized for doing that in the press but claimed that he couldn't reach them otherwise. These days Jon is holding out hope that they may contact him now that they're adults.

Cara and Maddy Gosselin

"Jon and Kate Plus 8" patriarch Jon Gosselin isn't only on fractured terms with four of the sextuplets; their older siblings, twins Cara Maddy Gosselin, are estranged from him too. Upon their college graduation in 2023, Jon told People that it had been nearly a decade since he was in contact with them. It's apparently not because he hasn't tried to reach out to them though. He told The U.S. Sun, "I periodically text Mady and Cara to see if I get a response and at this point, I've never heard from them."

While Jon has blamed his ex, Kate Gosselin, for keeping the children that lived with her away from him, Cara and Mady told People in 2015 that wasn't actually the case. Mady explained, "He should maybe spend some time thinking about why we don't want to see him." She then made it clear that him talking to the media about them was just making things worse, adding, "He doesn't even know us. How can he dare to talk about us?"

Jon seemed to take the hint since years later he told ET he tried to respect their wishes by not publicly speaking about them. Yet he did point out, "When I look back it is upsetting, because I did spend a lot of time with my twins." He is, however, holding out hope that they'll one day want to mend their relationship, perhaps even at one of their future weddings.

Ethan Plath

The Plaths are one of the many big families featured on TLC that's gone through major ups and downs. The family 11 star in "Welcome to Plathville," a series initially focused on their religious lifestyle that shunned the use of most technologies. Since Season 2, however, the show highlighted the drama between some of the older kids and the parents, Kim and Barry Plath. The oldest, Ethan Plath, seemed to have the biggest issue with their parents, apparently stemming from them not allowing Ethan, or his wife, Olivia, to see his siblings despite moving nearby. "I have a lot of frustration that I am trying to deal with, like, why am I not allowed to see my siblings unsupervised?" Ethan said on the show.

Ethan and Olivia eventually decided that they needed "space" from Ethan's parents so they cut off contact with them. It was apparently for the best too since the young couple was able to focus on their own marriage after having troubles that they contributed to Kim and Barry. "The family strain and all that drama just kind of put pressure on us," Ethan told Us Weekly. Olivia added that his mother had tried to control her.

While Ethan has seen his dad since his parents' split in 2022, he told People that he hasn't kept up with their family drama. He seemingly still wanted to maintain distance because he felt it would help them repair their relationship in the future. 

Jill Duggar Dillard

Chances are even if you've never watched "19 Kids and Counting" you've heard of the Duggars. In recent years, many of the older kids have broken away from their parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, and their conservative lifestyle. Jill Duggar Dillard did more than just distance herself from her upbringing — she became estranged from her parents, too.

In 2021, Jill told fans on her YouTube channel that she hadn't been to her parents' home in years. "There's some restrictions, but also ... we have to prioritize our like mental and emotional health," she said. According to E! News, Jill was more direct in court documents though because she accused her dad of being "verbally abusive" toward her which made her "uncomfortable." "I saw a whole new side to my dad once my husband and I started making decisions that were best for our family, but not in his best interest," she said.

Jill made it clear that she still wasn't on good terms with her parents in 2023 when she took part in "Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets" docuseries. She not only blasted them for raising her in a "cult-like" religion, but even accused them of tricking her into signing her life away to the show with no compensation. Jill also said she felt pressure from them to downplay the sexual abuse committed by Josh Duggar. In a statement shared on their website, Jim Bob and Michelle wrote "Shiny Happy People" off as being "derogatory" and "sensationalized."

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Jinger Duggar Vuolo

Jinger Duggar Vuolo is another one of the Duggar children who has broken away from her parents' way of life. While she apparently hasn't been as direct as her sister, Jill Duggar Dillard, about it, her husband, Jeremy Vuolo, did imply in court documents that there's been tension with her parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, over her living her adult life differently from how she was raised. "They've spoken to us about ... I guess modesty is one. We've had a couple of conversations," he said, per The U.S. Sun. He suggested that their move out of Arkansas didn't help either because it probably created some "emotional distance."

Jinger herself later hinted in a YouTube video that her parents don't often visit her in California. She pointed out that her children refer to their spare room at their home as "Grandma and Grandpa's room" but because of Jeremy's parents' frequent stays. However, the most obvious indication that Jinger is somewhat estranged from her parents has to be her memoir, "Becoming Free Indeed," since it highlighted how toxic her super religious upbringing was.

An insider told InTouch Weekly that the book caused a strain between Jinger and her parents even before it came out. The source explained, "They feel that Jinger and Jeremy have changed and that the book is bound to touch on some controversial family issues." While Jinger said she isn't feuding with her family, she admitted that the book was upsetting for some of them.

Alana Thompson

Former "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" star Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson used to be very close with her mother, June "Mama June" Shannon. Yet things took a turn when Shannon started misusing drugs after reuniting with her ex, Edward "Geno" Doak. Their issues were chronicled on the show "Mama June: Family Crisis," where, when discussing her own mother, Thompson admitted, "I don't even know who she is anymore."

Things got so bad that Thompson had to move in with her older sister, Lauryn "Pumpkin" Efird, because she was afraid to live with her mother. From there, their relationship got worse since Thompson eventually cut Shannon off completely. Shannon addressed that in a 2020 Instagram post, writing (via E! News), "Even though me [and] kids aren't still seeing each other [and] it's been very hard on all of us."

Efird eventually got sole custody of Thompson in 2022. Around the same time, a fan revealed on TikTok that Thompson had told her that she still wasn't really speaking to her mother. Yet, as of 2023, their relationship may be on the mend: Thompson took part in Shannon's wedding and Shannon attended her daughter's high school graduation. In a May 2023 interview with Distractify, Shannon confirmed that she's been sober since January 2020.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Lauryn Efird

Like her younger sister Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson, Lauryn "Pumpkin" Efird hasn't had the easiest relationship with their mom, June "Mama June" Shannon. Efird not only struggles with Shannon's drug addiction, but seemingly resents her for making her have to step in to parent Thompson too. At one point, Efird was barely speaking to Shannon, telling ET, "When she does call me...we'll have a five, 10 minute conversation that's not about very much. But other than that I haven't physically seen her in a couple of months."

When Efird does communicate with her mother though, she's made it known to her on "Mama June: Family Crisis" that they're not on good terms. For example, Efird has blasted Shannon for making bad decisions as a mother and for not visiting her grandchildren because she always puts men first. Efird even brutally rejected her mother's bridal shower invitation and later made it clear she doesn't buy her apologies for her past behavior. In one episode, Efird told Shannon, "I don't feel a lick of f***ing sympathy for you!"

Shannon was also once estranged from her eldest daughter, Anna "Chickadee" Cardwell. After Shannon reunited with the man who reportedly sexually abused Cardwell as a child, Cardwell established serious boundaries. "I pushed myself away from her with that, because it was like why would you do that kind of thing?" Cardwell told The U.S. Sun. They have since made amends though after Cardwell was diagnosed with cancer.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

The Roloff sons

The Roloff family of "Little People, Big World" has had more than their fair share of falling-outs. The biggest family feud appears to be between dad Matt Roloff and son Zach Roloff over the family farm. Both Zach and his twin, Jeremy Roloff, had expressed a strong desire to take over the farm, but Matt put it up for sale instead. While Matt blamed them for not coming to an agreement on a "joint sale," Zach accused Matt of being controlling.

Their father and son beef went beyond the family's TLC show and wound up on social media, too. Zach even moved out of town, but Matt later told ET in October 2022 that they were working to repair their relationship. Zach seemed to counter that though, saying, "It's still pretty tough." He continued, "It's gonna take a long time. I don't think responsibility has been taken."

Zach's brothers, Jeremy and Jacob Roloff, have had some drama with Matt, too. Like Zach, Jeremy is apparently upset that his dad crushed his dream of taking over the family farm after leading him to believe it was possible. Jacob, on the other hand, blames his dad for his parents' divorce. A source told Radar in 2019, "He believes Matt was the sole cause of that — like his dad is the one that blew up the whole family."

Jeremiah Raber

Jeremiah Raber may be one of the stars of "Return To Amish" but he apparently never felt a real connection to the Amish lifestyle. In a 2015 Facebook post, Raber shared that he felt this was because he wasn't born Amish, but adopted into it. That apparently caused some tension with his adoptive mother. "Just because I didn't live up to their expectations my adopted mom looked me straight in the eyes and told me 3 different times she doesn't know why she adopted me," Raber wrote. 

Since leaving the Amish community, Raber said he mostly cut ties with his adoptive parents. In the aforemtioned post, he shared, "I haven't talked to them for more then 10 min in the last 2 1/2 years now nor do I want to." Raber did search for his biological parents,  which led him to find out that his birth mother had an affair with her sister's husband, which resulted in her becoming pregnant with him. His aunt was then charged with killing his birth father.

With that said, it's clear that Raber and several other former TLC child stars have been through a lot, both on and off TV. Sadly, many of them don't have their parents to turn to for guidance or support anymore because of their estrangement. Yet there seems to be a little hope that one day some will find it in their hearts to reconcile.