The Untold Truth Of TLC's Welcome To Plathville

There's a lot to know about Welcome to Plathville. After all, TLC is no stranger to producing reality shows focusing on religious, conservative families widely seen as eccentric to the rest of the country, due to their traditional, ultra-strict lifestyles and higher-than-average number of children, and the Plath family of Welcome to Plathville is no exception. 

Welcome to Plathville follows the lives of Barry and Kim Plath, along with the lives of their nine children — Ethan, Hosanna, Micah, Moriah, Lydia, Isaac, Amber, Cassia, and Mercy. With the exception of Ethan and Hosanna, who both live elsewhere with their spouses, the Plath parents and their children live on a farm in rural Georgia, where their kids are largely sheltered from the outside world. "We've structured our lifestyle here so that we can retreat to our piece of heaven on earth," Barry Plath revealed on the show's premiere episode (via People). Added Kim Plath, "We have limited technology, we have limited computers. [The kids] don't play video games."

Of course, even in Middle of Nowhere, Ga., there's bound to be some drama. Here's the untold truth of the TLC reality show Welcome to Plathville, which may just make it as one of the best shows on TLC.

The stars of Welcome to Plathville have a connection to another TLC family

You don't have to be a TLC fanatic to recognize the similarities between Welcome to Plathville's Plath family and the Duggar family of 19 Kids and Counting and Counting On fame, who've faced major controversy over the years. While there's little evidence to prove the two families pal around, social media posts from a mutual family friend seem to reveal that the Plaths and Duggars have at least been acquainted with one another. 

As In Touch reported, a woman by the name of Nurie Rodrigues was in Hosanna Plath's wedding party when she married her now-husband, Timothy Noble, in 2019. Nurie Rodrigues is the daughter of David and Jill Noyes Rodrigues — and, incidentally, Anna Duggar's younger brother, Nathan Keller, was courting her at the time of Hosanna's wedding. The Rodrigues family posted a photo of Hosannah and Nurie at the former's wedding to Instagram, captioning it, "What an HONOR it was for Nurie to be asked to be a part of this special day as a bridesmaid! She even caught the bouquet!"

Welcome to Plathville's Moriah Plath has been in front of the camera before

From the very first episode of Welcome to Plathville, it's clear that Moriah Plath is the black sheep of the family. When asked to describe their teenage daughter, Barry and Kim Plath paused and stared at one another before Kim urged her husband to tackle the question. "You know, Moriah can be opinionated," Barry Plath said in a clip from Welcome to Plathville. He continued, "She's wired differently." 

However, while Moriah doesn't always agree with her parents' stances on what a proper lifestyle should look like, she does believe that she's different than the rest of her family. The difference is noticeable to viewers, too, as Moriah seems infinitely more at ease on-camera than the majority of her siblings. Of course, this is likely due to the fact that Welcome to Plathville isn't Moriah's first time in front of the cameras. As revealed on the Plath family's website, Moriah made her acting debut in a 2018 short film called You Should Be THEREThe film, which can be viewed on Vimeo, features Moriah as Brittany — a troubled daughter who has a strained relationship with her father. 

Welcome to Plathville's stars suffered a terrible tragedy in 2008

In 2008, Barry and Kim Plath suffered every parent's worst nightmare when their 17-month-old son, Joshua, was killed. The death of a child is tragic enough on its own, but the Plaths' tragedy was made infinitely worse by the circumstances surrounding Joshua's death. 

On the Plath family's website, Kim Plath went into detail about the day Joshua died, explaining that she was "transplanting fruit trees" using their Suburban, with their eighth child, Joshua, in tow. She continued, writing, "I looked for our 17-month-old Joshua, saw that he was away from the vehicle, then pulled forward to get the next tree. In a panic, I realized what had happened. I ran over our Joshua." As Kim explained on the family's website, little Joshua sadly passed away before he could be taken to a hospital. Understandably, the following months were dark times for Kim. "I was gone," the Welcome to Plath star wrote. "Unavailable for conversations or reality. If someone said Joshua's name, I had to leave the room."

Fortunately, according to Kim, God "healed" her on Mother's Day a year after Joshua's passing. Kim wrote, "I can't explain it, other than [God] re-wrote the bad coding in my brain."

Welcome to Plathville star Olivia Plath has known the Plath family for a while

While she may look the part, Olivia Plath is not an original member of the Plath family. Instead, the photographer married the family's eldest son, Ethan Plath, in 2018. However, considering how natural she and Ethan seem together, one might assume Olivia has known the Plaths for much longer than just a couple of years. And, according to an old blog post authored by Olivia, one would be correct.

In an October 2015 blog entry titled "Meet the Plath Family" on her own family's blog, Olivia gushed about the people that would one day become her in-laws. Calling the Plaths "[her] people," the Welcome to Plathville star wrote, "We have found all sorts of people, but never ones like these people." She continued, "We are so blessed to serve a God who deeply cares about each one of us and who orchestrates things for our good. ... Praise the Lord for a week of fellowship with like-minded believers and dear friends!"

These Welcome to Plathville stars began their relationship with letters

No matter your feelings about TLC's Welcome to Plathville, it's hard to deny the adorable relationship Ethan and Olivia Plath share. The two are clearly head over heels for one another, often breaking out in giggles during every conversation. Of course, as viewers of the show know, their marriage was a point of much contention within the Plath family, as Olivia was determined for herself and for Ethan to fully break away from his family's strict lifestyle and rules to create a life with her husband that is entirely their own. However, while Ethan was still living under the watchful eyes of his parents, he and Olivia were falling in love the old-fashioned way — through letters. 

On their wedding website, Ethan and Olivia explained that they started exchanging letters and "occasional phone calls" in December 2016. "Living in different states made getting to know each other more intentional because time spent on the phone and writing letters was limited due to work schedules, etc.," the couple revealed.

Olivia Plath doesn't agree with the Plath family's religious views, as seen on Welcome to Plathville

While Olivia Plath was raised in a religious family, she revealed on the first episode of TLC's Welcome to Plathville that her upbringing was far less restrictive than that of her husband, Ethan Plath. 

"When Ethan and I first got married, I was really shocked at, like, the differences in how we grew up," Olivia said during the series premiere. Later, she made her intentions to break away from the Plath's traditions clear, telling the camera, "Obviously, we're our own family, and we're going to do things the way we choose to do them."

According to social media posts Olivia allegedly made before Welcome to Plathville made its TLC debut, she's strongly against the staunchly rule-abiding religious culture in which her husband was raised. In a June 2019 Facebook post shared by a fan on an online message board, Olivia reportedly wrote, "I hate the fundamentalist movement, [and] the legalistic approach to Christianity." She continued, writing, "It takes a beautiful and completely personal relationship and turns it into a list of rules or a box to be checked where everyone looks the same and talks like theological robots." 

Olivia Plath and Moriah Plath from TLC's Welcome to Plathville "found a solace in each other"

On Welcome to Plathville, the relationship between Olivia Plath and her husband's younger sister Moriah Plath is quite divisive. Olivia, a photographer who often travels for her work, seemingly took Moriah under her wing — hoping to expose her to new experiences from which her conservative, religious parents would rather shelter her. In one episode, Olivia is thrilled when Moriah finally obtains permission from her parents to accompany Olivia on a work trip to San Francisco. However, the excitement is overshadowed by Kim Plath's hesitation. 

"When I approached Kim about it she was very hesitant, because they don't trust me and they don't trust Moriah," Olivia explained (via People). She continued, "They know I have different values and different priorities than them."

However, don't expect Kim's overarching attitude to get in the way of Olivia and Moriah's friendship. In an August 2019 Instagram post featuring a photo of herself and Moriah, Olivia wrote, "We've walked through fire and found a solace in each other."

Welcome to Plathville's Moriah Plath has admitted to "struggling with some things that are happening"

Unlike shows like The Little Couple, I Am Jazz, and OutDaughtered, Welcome to Plathville hasn't been around long enough for viewers to truly feel like they know the Plath family members on a personal level. Still, it's easy to see that Moriah Plath is the undisputed black sheep of the family. Describing their sister, Hosanna and Lydia Plath giggled as they told the Welcome to Plathville cameras, "Moriah's more preoccupied with listening to music and doing her makeup." Kim Plath, Moriah's mother, even said she had "lost control of Moriah." Since when is learning how to pull off a bold lip or how to avoid eyeliner mistakes a bad thing?

In an October 2019 Instagram post, Moriah opened up to fans of the show about some of her personal struggles, many of which had been speculated upon since Welcome to Plathville's premiere. "I tried to hide it so long but at some point it became very clear to everyone except me that I was struggling with some things that are happening," Moriah wrote. The reality star continued, vaguely hinting at behind-the-scenes drama and writing, "Sometimes you have to go through something that completely destroys you in order to figure out who you really are."

Welcome to Plathville's Kim Plath reportedly encouraged Ethan and Olivia's relationship at first

Welcome to Plathville definitely doesn't give the impression that Kim Plath, the matriarch of the Plath family, approves of Ethan Plath's marriage to his wife, Olivia. After all, Olivia's close friendship with Moriah Plath has been a constant source of tension for the Plath family, largely due to her determination to go against the grain and break away from the Plaths' ultra-conservative lifestyle. However, fans of Welcome to Plathville will likely be surprised to learn that Kim Plath was allegedly the one who first encouraged her son's relationship with his future wife. 

According to blogger/vlogger Katie Joy from Without a Crystal Ball, who said she spoke with Olivia Plath on the phone, Olivia reportedly revealed that Kim was "absolutely obsessed" with Olivia upon first meeting her, and she didn't shy away from expressing her desire for Ethan and Olivia to get together. As Katie Joy revealed, Olivia reportedly shared that Kim even encouraged her to join the Plath family band after hearing her sing, and she said the two initially got along pretty well. 

Welcome to Plathville's Ethan Plath reportedly doesn't have a relationship with his mother

Following Welcome to Plathville's premiere, Ethan Plath quickly became the unlikely hero of the TLC reality show. The eldest Plath child, Ethan was the first to leave his parents' farm and make a life of his own with his spouse, Olivia. Since Welcome to Plathville made its TLC debut, Ethan's excitement over watching Friends for the first time, as well as the hilarious video Olivia Plath recorded of her husband trying his very first soda — Coca-Cola, not Pepsi — has been a source of much delight for viewers. Along with his friendly demeanor and blonde hair, the permanent smile plastered on Ethan's face has even drawn comparisons to the relentlessly optimistic Kenneth Parcell from Tina Fey's 30 Rock

However, according to blogger Katie Joy from Without a Crystal Ball, who reportedly spoke with Ethan and Olivia Plath, life hasn't been all sunshine and rainbows for him. As Joy revealed in a vlog — and as Welcome to Plathville Season 2 has shown – the eldest Plath sibling reportedly doesn't have a relationship with his mother, Kim Plath. When asked for the reason behind his estranged relationship with his mom, Ethan allegedly said, "She's selfish, she's stubborn, and she doesn't look out for anyone but herself." 

Welcome to Plathville has received sharp criticism on social media

Welcome to Plathville officially premiered on TLC on Nov. 5, 2019 — and it wasn't long before sharp criticism of the show began rolling in on social media. For starters, many TLC fans feel as if the network has dedicated enough time to showcasing large, sprawling, conservative, religious families. After all, the Duggar family has pretty much been a mainstay at TLC since 2008, despite all the sketchy things about the Duggars and the Duggar sisters' major transformations. However, TLC's tendency to stick to a certain type of family for its reality television shows isn't the only problem viewers have with Welcome to Plathville

"Most people prepare their kids for the world. The [Welcome to Plathvilleparents would rather create their own world and try to keep the kids in it," one viewer commented in a November 2019 tweet. Another Welcome to Plathville viewer tweeted, "These [Welcome to Plathville] parents should be ashamed at how much they have socially and emotionally stunted these kids." 

However, some viewers do appreciate parts of the show, specifically Welcome to Plathville's Ethan and Olivia Plath. After criticizing the show, one viewer remarked on Twitter, "[You] can't help but looooooove Ethan and Olivia, though!" 

Did the stars of Welcome to Plathville actually live in the middle of nowhere?

Welcome to Plathville had a pretty simple premise: Parents Barry and Kim Plath live on a 50-acre farm in rural Georgia with seven of their nine children, who they've raised to reject technology, mainstream media, and many aspects of modern society. However, according to some online sleuths, the Plaths might not have been actually residing on a sprawling farm in the middle of nowhere when Season 1 aired — contrary to what the TLC show would have viewers believe. 

As reported by Soap Dirt, the farm featured in Welcome to Plathville is listed as a rental on Airbnb by Kim Plath, who has earned the vacation rental website's "Superhost" title. The listing for the farmhouse describes the venue as being "nestled on a private and quiet fifty acre farm," and explains to prospective renters, "You have the house all to yourself." 

So, if the entire property is available to rent seemingly year-round, where do the Plaths actually live? According to Soap Dirt, Barry and Kim Plath bought a home in Cairo, Ga. in 2017, which happens to be close to restaurants and shops, as well as their son Ethan and his wife, Olivia.

Welcome to Plathville's Olivia Plath has spoken out against the show's editing

Throughout the first season of Welcome to Plathville, Ethan Plath's wife, Olivia, is shown to be quite critical of her husband's parents, notably disagreeing with her in-laws over their treatment of daughter Moriah Plath, who yearns for freedom from her family's ultra-traditional way of life. 

During Welcome to Plathville's Season 1 finale, Moriah revealed that Olivia had given her a plane ticket to Minnesota so the Plath daughter could help her photograph a wedding. However, as Moriah explained in the episode (via In Touch), the plane ticket was only one-way — which seemed to hint that Moriah might stay in Minnesota. 

Kim and Barry Plath appeared shocked by the revelation, leading some Welcome to Plathville fans to criticize Olivia for seemingly going behind her in-laws' backs and purchasing the ticket for their daughter. However, according to Olivia, fans shouldn't believe everything they see on TV. "I'd NEVER buy a plane ticket for a minor without asking their parents, regardless of how I feel about said parents," Olivia tweeted on Dec. 11, 2019. She continued, "I had permission. But I guess that's not a dramatic enough storyline."

Olivia Plath feels she was "manipulated" into appearing on Welcome to Plathville

During Welcome to Plathville's first season, it became clear that the close relationship Ethan Plath's wife, Olivia, formed with her sister-in-law, Moriah Plath, had seemingly inspired the free-spirited Plath daughter to seek freedom from her family's farm life in rural Georgia. Unsurprisingly, this influence Olivia had in Moriah's life put even more of a strain on her already rocky relationship with her super traditional in-laws, Barry and Kim Plath.

With all the drama, it's natural to wonder why Olivia even wanted to be a part of the TLC reality series in the first place. However, according to the Welcome to Plathville star, she felt forced into appearing on the show.

"I made many mistakes during the filming of the show (the first one being allowing myself to be manipulated into doing it by family)," Olivia wrote in a December 2019 Instagram post. She continued, writing, "But until you've dealt with narcissist behavior, you have no idea how easy it is to freak out and react in an effort to protect yourself and those you love."

Welcome to Plathville Season 2 was in limbo for a long time

Although Welcome to Plathville was demonstrably popular, Season 2 wasn't guaranteed. As TV Shows Ace reported in December 2019, the first season was comprised of just six episodes. It seemed possible that TLC might order another six only, to get a better idea of how the show was performing before committing to a full season. That very same month, Olivia Plath shared an Instagram post in which she admitted to receiving a considerable amount of vitriol thanks to the show. And as we know, Olivia even claimed to have been "manipulated" into doing Welcome to Plathville in the first place.

Moriah Plath was similarly cryptic about whether there would be a Season 2, writing a thank you note to fans on Instagram while also acknowledging, "This past season was a crazy time in our lives, but I just hope that every step we take will lead us closer to who we are meant to be." Her brother Micah, meanwhile, was more optimistic, publicly hoping for a chance to show off more of his personality. Considering the Plaths typically eschew social media, it was difficult to figure out what was really going on behind the scenes. 

The Plaths moved into a brand new home

Welcome to Plathville did return for another round, of course, in November 2020. Shockingly, the previously close-knit family had fractured into three parts, with Ethan and Olivia Plath estranged from his parents entirely, Micah and Moriah Plath cohabiting away from their family and on their own for the first time, and Kim and Barry Plath living with the younger kids in a brand new house. As The Cinemaholic reported at the time, it turned out that reports of the Plaths moving to Cairo in 2017 were indeed accurate (although they didn't let on that it had been that long on the show).

Season 2 detailed how the family was settling into their massive new home, which is located just a few blocks from Ethan and Olivia's place and a couple blocks from Micah and Moriah's new spot too. The most shocking point to note about the stunning new Plath homestead, however, is that it's also situated close to Walmart, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut, among other institutions, meaning it's considerably less isolated than their farm. Kim and Barry are going to have to work extra hard to keep their no junk food rule intact. 

The rift between Ethan Plath and his parents grew even bigger

Tensions ran high between Ethan Plath and his parents during Season 1 of Welcome to Plathville, with the newly minted husband pushed to take a stand on behalf of wife Olivia against his intrusive parents, who refused to accept her ways. The second season found the foursome completely estranged, and with each episode that passed, it became increasingly difficult to envision them ever finding common ground again. In fact, the season finale saw Ethan almost coming to blows with his father after confronting Barry over his bad behavior.

Olivia told People in an interview that Kim and Barry had made no efforts to reconcile with them after Ethan cut his folks off, signaling that they were seemingly fine with the possibility of never speaking to their eldest son again. She described the young couple's decision as "the healthiest and best thing for us," confirming they were "just focusing on us, focusing on moving and growing." Indeed Season 2 culminated with the young couple realizing once they had each other, the opinions of others simply didn't matter. 

Micah and Moriah branched out on their own

One of the biggest shocks of Season 2 was that teenagers Micah and Moriah Plath had fled the family home and were living in their own, appropriately messy house (where eating Pop Tarts at all hours was a given). Moriah joked on Welcome to Plathville that it was a mutual-ish decision, but the underlying issue was the duo simply couldn't abide by their parents' super strict rules anymore. As Soap Dirt reported, both kids got jobs to support themselves, with Micah pursuing modeling and Moriah music — while also juggling part-time work as a yoga instructor and a mechanic's assistant — and they even embarked on their first dates ever.

The teens admitted to Ethan and Olivia that their upbringing left them confused about relationships, because their parents instilled in them the importance of marriage above all else. They even confronted their folks about the lack of preparation for the real world during a tense meeting. Micah and Moriah explained that lacking GEDs, following years of home-school, was a major roadblock, as was the absence of sex ed growing up.  

Welcome to Plathville's Olivia Plath is estranged from her sister

The Plaths value family above all else, which is why it's surprising to learn Olivia Plath is estranged from her own sister, Lydia Grace. As Soap Dirt advised, Olivia's sister was planning to do a tell-all interview about their upbringing in a Christian fundamentalist home. However, when Olivia got wind of it, she contacted the interviewer personally and requested they nix it. The Welcome to Plathville star admitted the two no longer had a relationship, so Olivia was unable to discuss it directly with Lydia Grace. 

The talented photographer was reportedly trying to "protect her family," who were also uncomfortable with Olivia appearing on a reality show. Lydia Grace acquiesced, though she made a point of arguing it wasn't intentionally meant to hurt anyone and was simply about sharing her side of their fractured family history. YouTuber Without a Crystal Ball confirmed she was the interviewer in question and shared that the sisters' estrangement was legit. They must have fallen out fairly recently, however, as Olivia took Lydia's graduation photos and shared them on Instagram, while her sister tagged the photographer in a shot from the set, throughout 2018.

Lydia Plath caused a social media stir over this Welcome to Plathville scene

Season 2 of Welcome to Plathville certainly didn't disappoint when it came to drama, and one of the biggest talking points was Lydia Plath's teary-eyed dedication to her family and unquenchable desire to get everybody back on the same page once again. Viewers rallied around her as the bona fide saint of the family, with Reddit users joking about how Lydia seemed to be doing all of the housework too. The Plaths are super religious, that much is clear, but when Lydia debuted her so-called "prayer closet," fans' jaws dropped.

Some even questioned Kim and Barry's parental abilities, with one tweeting, "In what world is this... prayer closet okay?" Another made an on-the-nose reference to classic horror movie Carrie, in which Sissy Spacek's titular character is banished to her own prayer closet by her loopy mother. Sadly, though, most fans worried Lydia's retreat to her prayer closet, where she begged for assistance from a higher power, was simply a "cry for help," with one commentator noting, "Where is child welfare when u need them?"

Welcome to Plathville's legitimacy has been called into question

As is the case with most reality shows, we know not everything we see on Welcome to Plathville is 100 percent real. Still, given the family's propensity for prayer closets and refusal to watch movies or drink Coke, it didn't seem like much would need to be fabricated. However, as Cinema Blend noted, eagle-eyed fans spotted a sophisticated games console during an episode, suggesting the no-video games rule had either been relaxed or had never existed in the first place.

One Reddit user suggested the majority of scenes on the show are either "fake or being re-enacted," arguing Kim and Barry Plath have accepted their kids are rejecting their rules and are simply trying to make some money out of it while they still can. According to Soap Dirt, Olivia previously confirmed scenes were recreated for the show, including Ethan's first tastes of soda and alcohol. For his part, Micah advised the Taste of Reality podcast that the rules are real, explaining the video game system is a flight simulator that doesn't connect to the internet (via Soap Dirt).

Did the younger Plath kids not have birth certificates before the show?

There are plenty of odd things about the Plath family, but certain rumors are genuinely concerning. Take Daily Soap Dish's assertion that, up until Welcome to Plathville came along, the younger kids didn't have birth certificates. Ethan and Hosanna Plath got theirs, but the seven children who followed allegedly did not. Without a proper, state-issued birth certificate, the kids wouldn't be able to drive, work, or even vote legally. When TLC approached Kim and Barry in 2017, looking to document their family life, they were allegedly forced to register their kids properly so the Plaths could all appear on the show and, presumably, receive remuneration for it too. 

YouTuber Without A Crystal Ball went through the records and ascertained that, reportedly, the Plath kids didn't have birth certificates until very recently. It's been suggested that Kim and Barry wanted to keep their children under the radar, away from the government's prying eyes, but could there have also been a control element to it? Again, without the proper documentation, there's not much these kids can do without parental consent.

The Plaths reportedly left their church for this reason

The Plaths are often compared to the Duggars, of Counting On fame, because they share a similarly hyper-conservative outlook on life. As Kim and Barry's "About" page on the family website advised, "Throughout [our marriage,] we have sought God on major life decisions as well as the minor day-to-day choices" (via Distractify). However, it's hard to pin down exactly which religion the Plath family follows, or even which church they attend. Distractify noted they're most likely either Protestants or Baptists, with the latter considered the safest best since they've been photographed outside Baptist churches.

Woman's Day further clarified that the Plaths are "Christian fundamentalists, meaning they closely follow the teaching in the Bible." Ethan reportedly claimed on the show that they stopped attending formal services because his parents "didn't agree with how a regular church system functioned." However, their family band played at Baptist churches, so the connection still runs deep. Worryingly, Your Tango reported the Welcome to Plathville stars have been linked to controversial Christian organization No Greater Joy Ministries, much like the Duggars have been. Founders Michael and Debi Pearl have been widely criticized for the allegedly abusive teachings in their parenting handbook.

Olivia Plath is hesitant to start a family

Ethan and Olivia Plath appear to have finally broken free of the constraints of his troubled upbringing, but Olivia isn't so sure they should be starting a family of their own just yet. Speaking to People, she confirmed that it's definitely in the cards for them some day. "Ethan and I both love kids. We're both from large families, and we would definitely love to have a couple of kids," Olivia enthused, adding, "I think our ideal would be to have a few of our own and then adopt a few." 

However, they're not ready just yet because there's still a lot of healing that needs to happen first, much of which she works through personally in therapy. "I think maybe once we've gone through some therapy, we feel like we've processed our childhoods and we're ready to not just react when we have our own kids, but actually like, take positive steps for a better childhood for them," it will happen, the Welcome to Plathville star shared. The young couple also wants to live a bit more too, before settling down.