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 on a farm 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 InTouch 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 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 Plath 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 newlyweds 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 is 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 have "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, has seemingly taken 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 Fransisco. 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 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 isn't all sunshine and rainbows for him. As Joy revealed in a vlog, 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!"