Jon Gosselin in the Wilderness

As part of the headlining duo of Jon & Kate Plus 8, he ruled the reality-TV roost. Then his life crashed and burned, and five years later he’s working as a maître d’ and living in a cabin in the hinterlands of Pennsylvania.

Jon Gosselin in the wilderness Phillymag

Photography by Chris Crisman, Prop Styling by Lauren Payne, Styling by Kara Bettie Speckhals, All Wardrobe Provided by Sugarcube and Barbour.

Following his Friday-night shift at the better of the two restaurants in Stouchsburg, Pennsylvania, Jon Gosselin emerges from its kitchen and asks if I want to try something he made. A minute later he comes back with two plates of beef and Hawaiian fried rice and sets them down at the bar. (You may remember a variation of this meal from Jon & Kate Plus 8, Season Four, Episode Four: “Korean Dinner.” Recap: Despite Kate’s insistence on mixing the green and white onions he’d requested she keep segregated, Jon’s dinner is a success.) “Beef sauté with mushrooms and onions,” he elaborates. “Prime rib. We cut it all up, sautéed it.”

He’s wearing dark-washed jeans, a cuff-linked shirt and a blue blazer—an outfit that speaks to his recent promotion from server to maître d’ here at the Black Dog Cafe. The familiar face is ruddier and rounder than it used to be, coarsened by four years of unrestricted drinking and cigarette smoking. His chinstrap/goatee combo is neatly groomed, and the sparse hair on his head—he’s 36 now—is still spiked upward, as if saluting the infamous summer of 2009, when he split up with Kate, moved to New York, and embarked upon a series of tabloid-recorded liaisons.

Wait. Jon didn’t actually make our food. “Actually, I say ‘we.’ Greg cooked it,” he says. Greg is the sous-chef. Jon looks at me a little bashfully. “I told him what to add.”

Jon started working at the Black Dog in August. Located in a 600-person hamlet 18 miles west of Reading, it’s a folksy wiener-schnitzel joint with delusions of Asian fusion grandeur—the perfect place for Jon to rehabilitate his image and reclaim his mantle as the nation’s preferred Gosselin.

“I started to think about my brand,” he says, explaining the larger meaning of this new gig. “I’m still technically famous. I mean, you’re here. Heh.” He continues: “How can you get people in the door? It’s not the entertainment industry, but it’s the food industry. Cross-branding marketing right there.” (An appraisal of the cross-branding marketing: By 10 p.m. there are three married couples at the end of the bar, a lone drinker to our left, and a co-worker who went to high school with Jon to our right.)

Jon gets up, asks me what I’m drinking, fixes himself a second whiskey, then forgets to bring me anything. “The main thing the tabloids did was separate me from my brand,” he says. “My brand was Jon & Kate Plus 8. Now that I’m divorced? My new brand, because of the tabloids, is Jon Gosselin.” He’s ambivalent about this. Mainly, he’s baffled that his post-Kate dalliances garnered the notoriety they did. “In 2009, I was on 52 covers. Most-photographed person in 2009.”

The bad-boy image, he theorizes, was abetted by the public’s inability to grasp the lag between when an episode was filmed and when it aired. The same week he’d be on the cover of In Touch Weekly, rocking an Ed Hardy tee with a 22-year-old on his arm, the show’s five million to 10 million nightly viewers were watching a younger, more married version of him. He surveys the restaurant. “This is Middle America. This is not the city. There’s New York and Philadelphia and there’s L.A.,” he says, gaining steam. “But Middle America’s all in between! That’s the viewing population! Those people live. That’s what they do. You and I go out, we read, we educate ourselves, we do a lot of stuff. … They watch TV.” He pauses. “I don’t even have a TV.”

Jon Gosselin's cabin in the woods

Photography by Chris Crisman, Prop Styling by Lauren Payne, Styling by Kara Bettie Speckhals, All Wardrobe Provided by Sugarcube and Barbour.

WHICH IS ESSENTIALLY why we care about Jon Gosselin again. But let’s get something straight, people: Jon may be punching clock at a podunk restaurant, and he may be living in a cabin in the woods on a 28-acre plot that once hosted a nudist colony. But that doesn’t mean he’s hit “rock bottom,” as one interviewer recently suggested. On the contrary, he’ll tell you, this Walden phase he’s going through, it’s all part of the plan.

But first, for the uninitiated: Jon and Kate get married, have twins, then have sextuplets in 2004. The Discovery Channel offers them a contract, starting at $2,000 an episode, to let a camera crew document their lives. As their paychecks grow more substantial, Jon and Kate quit their jobs, she as a nurse, he as an IT guy for Governor Ed Rendell’s office. In print, Kate is often described as “shrewish,” which sounds mean and possibly sexist, until you watch the show and realize it’s accurate. In 2009, Jon is photographed with a string of younger women; the marriage falls apart. He becomes a tabloid sensation and forfeits most of the goodwill he generated over five seasons of masochistic subservience to Kate. The episode in which the couple announces their separation breaks the all-time viewership record for a reality TV series.

After Jon left Jon & Kate Plus 8, Kate busied herself with Kate Plus 8, followed by stints on Dancing with the Stars and Celebrity Wife Swap. She’s been out of work since losing her blogging gig with, but has expressed interest in returning to television.

As for Jon, he partied in New York City, the Hamptons and Park City, Utah, making money by doing personal appearances and selling tips about himself to the tabloids. After that burned off, he installed solar panels in New Jersey, but all the good renewable-energy work was in New England and he didn’t want to be that far from his kids. So he returned to his roots in IT, doing “Help Desk Level 3 and Inside Sales” for Omega Systems in West Lawn, Pennsylvania. His LinkedIn page hasn’t been updated to reflect his most recent gigs, at Black Dog and another restaurant called Emily’s. Seems a little ungracious; without them, there might never have been a comeback.

Last August 26th, Kate sued Jon and a former tabloid writer named Robert Hoffman for, among other things, violation of section 18 U.S.C. § 1030 of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (in federal court, as Jon likes to point out). According to Kate, Jon stole a computer hard drive from their house and hacked into her email, giving Hoffman personal information—including a typed-out diary that allegedly indicates she abused her children—that Hoffman then self-published in a book called Kate Gosselin: How She Fooled the World. Amazon quickly pulled it when legal issues surfaced in 2012.

Three weeks after the suit was filed, Entertainment Tonight caught wind of Jon’s new job and rolled into Stouchsburg to film a three-minute segment called “Jon Gosselin Today: Waiter & Cabin Dweller.” Two days after that aired, a British paparazza tailed Jon after his shift at Emily’s to take a picture of the cabin. She got the shot, along with one of Jon pulling out a .45 caliber handgun, which he then fired to chase her away. (“It is a great shot when I’m pulling out my weapon,” he admits.) The View and Oprah came calling.

Even aside from the usual questions about how to brand and market oneself, Jon’s been doing a lot of thinking about the meaning of his new life as Waiter & Cabin Dweller. “It’s called: going into the woods,” he tells me 10 days later, as we’re cruising around Berks County. “Like, I always look at it like, if you’re in the woods, you take a path out of the woods. It doesn’t work? You come back in the woods, ’cause you’re comfortable. And then you figure out your shit—out of the woods again. Everyone does it. CEOs lose their jobs, they go back in the woods, they think they hit rock bottom because their lifestyle changed. But in actuality, they go and invent shit. Like Steve Jobs. Or Bill Gates, or, you know what I mean? Recession breeds innovation. So I just start thinking what I can do.”

What he’s doing is coming out of the woods.

WE FINISH EATING and head outside so Jon can have a smoke. We’re discussing the shooting-your-pistol-in-the-general-vicinity-of-a-tabloid-photographer incident when the issue of privacy comes up. “Yeah, Twitter,” he says in between drags. “I deleted it last year. Best thing I ever did. I can disappear. Nobody knows where I am.” @Kateplusmy8, meanwhile, is going strong at 174,000 followers. This enrages Jon. “She tweets everything. To the world, all about my children. I think it’s disgusting and awful. They can’t even have a normal life.”

I feel compelled to remind him he volunteered those same children for a five-season stint on prime-time television; Collin, Aaden, Joel, Hannah, Alexis, Leah, Mady and Cara’s formative moments are currently stacked in a pile of DVDs on my coffee table. He thinks this over for a few seconds. “Right. So I made a mistake.”

Jon first had this “epiphany” in 2009, after which he repented on Larry King, days after he walked out on the TLC show, never to return. (For this, and other violations, TLC’s casting partner sued him for breach of contract, which Jon says cost him about $500,000 and explains why he’s working at Black Dog.) But now he’s taking the epiphany to a whole new level. He says he wants to tack an amendment onto a piece of 2012 Pennsylvania child labor legislation known as “the Jon & Kate Plus 8 law,” to make it even more difficult to film minors. In November, Jon told Oprah that the show had given his kids “developmental” issues.

In this autumn of mea culpa, Jon can come across like a recovering alcoholic at an AA meeting who’s a little too eager to rehash his exploits. There are aspects of the bad old days he wishes he could have back. After he’s done smoking, one of the empty nesters at the end of the bar mentions the word “college,” and Jon, whose frenetic conversational style can seem like an endless game of word-association, launches into a story about the first time he ended up in the tabloids.

“My mom lived right behind Juniata College,” he recalls. “I was playing beer pong in a sorority house for four and a half hours. And I was winning.” The Juniata College episode came on the heels of another important milestone. “January 17th, 2009,” he says, somberly. “That’s the first time I went out knowing full well that I wasn’t coming home. I got home at four in the morning. And [Kate] said nothing. And then I knew it was over.”

Jon gets antsy and suggests we hit up a different bar. Five minutes later, we arrive at an equally middle-of-nowhere dive that looks like it specializes in late-night automobile fatalities. Jon orders a Paulaner Hefe-Weizen in an absurdly tall glass, and we move out to the patio and sit down at a table, where we’re approached by a 30ish guy and his girlfriend. She, Samantha, very drunk, has convinced him, Greg, a farmer of chili peppers, to ask Jon a question on her behalf.

Greg: Are you Ryan Gosling?
Jon: No, I’m Jon Gosselin.
Greg: My girlfriend was like, “That guy looks just like Ryan Gosling.”
Jon: I wish I was Ryan Gosling. God, that would be awesome. Ha!
Greg: Are you related?

Greg and Samantha peel off. Jon leans back in his chair and smiles, at peace with his relative unimportance. “It’s all human,” he muses, smoking a cig. “They’re all having a good time. You know what I mean? Why can’t the world be like this? Why do we have such an adversity towards each other?” I ask if it can really all be human when he’s famous and they’re not. “Yeah. I wait tables,” he says. “That keeps me normal.”

For a few months, the Waiter & Cabin Dweller redemption tour faced at least one massive obstacle: the federal lawsuit. If Kate was right, and Jon stole the hard drive for the purpose of exposing her already severely compromised private life, all hope of image rehabilitation would be lost. Jon disputed the charge, claiming that he made copies of all of Kate’s files for her on DVD, and that months after she threw him out of their house in October 2009, she then threw out all of those files. His friend, the tabloid writer Hoffman, says he simply nabbed the backup DVDs when he came over to help Jon officially move out.

Throughout the fall, nothing much happened with the case, which Jon’s lawyers repeatedly tried to get tossed. In November, the gossip site RadarOnline reported that Kate was trying to subpoena cell-phone records from Hailey Glassman, the most infamous of Jon’s post-Kate ex-girlfriends. Glassman apparently possessed text messages that, with Danielle Steel-level flourish, seemed to incriminate Jon.

Sent: October 14, 2009 11:02 AM
Subject: Grabbing computer
I’ll be back soon grabbing Kate’s computer before she gets home. I need that hard drive. I will put the nail in her coffin someday from it
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Sent: October 14, 2009 11:42 AM
Subject: Calm Down
You need to calm down. I’m doing this because she deserves it! Yet you call me evil. You want me to be honest with you but when I tell you the truth you call me evil. I don’t get you sometimes [redacted].
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

When I ask Jon about these texts, he becomes exasperated. He says he’s the one who wants to subpoena Glassman’s text messages. “I have proof to prove they’re fake,” he tells me, with a level of specificity his lawyers probably would not condone. “I didn’t have Verizon until 2010.” He adds, “Fuck you, Hailey Glassman, you lying piece of shit.”

In November, Kate dropped the charges against both Jon and Hoffman. (This is normally the place where I’d quote Kate’s Philadelphia-based lawyer, but he repeatedly dodged my calls and emails, claiming he was too busy to talk. He did, however, find time to post selfies to his Twitter account.)

In truth, Kate had put herself in a precarious position by suing at all. Jon’s lawyers say that if Hoffman’s book indeed “contained defamatory and untrue information about Kate Gosselin,” as she claimed, then she’d undermined her own claim that he stole her actual journal. On the flip side, if he did steal her actual journal, the information from it that he printed in his book would appear to be true, not “false” and “defamatory.” Jon’s take: “She’s admitting the child abuse. That’s her intellectual property. It’s her journal.”

A couple weeks before Kate dropped the case, Hoffman sent me a copy of a Microsoft Word file titled “Mommy’s Journal.” It totals over 100 pages. It begins on July 2, 2006, and ends on July 23, 2007. There are a lot of exclamation points and biblical verses. Hoffman says I’m the first journalist to see it, and has urged me to “independently verify” it. I’ll say this: If Hoffman did fabricate this diary, he has a real gift for creating the mundane parenting anxieties that consumed Kate’s thoughts in the mid-aughts.

As far as Hoffman’s allegations go, suffice it to say their veracity depends mostly on whether one considers spanking abusive behavior or not. At the bar, when I begin to ask Jon pointed questions about the alleged abuse, he wises up, goes off the record, and says, “Let’s get the fuck out of here.” Then he looks around the patio, motions toward the bar, and yells: “Let’s do a shot!”

Post-shot, Jon tells me to trail his beige Ford Expedition back to Reading, where he can lead me to a good motel. On our way, he stops at a gas station to pick up a can of Monster for himself and a pack of cigarettes to bring to his friend Carey. When we get to Carey’s, I get out of the car and find Jon standing in her unpaved driveway, driver-side door wide open, taking a piss. After a few minutes of standing around Jon’s puddle of urine and making small talk, we get back into our cars. My phone buzzes. It’s Jon. All he says is, “We’re taking back roads.” He kicks the Expedition into gear, and I follow.

EXACTLY ONE MONTH LATER, VH1’s Couples Therapy announces the roster for its fourth season, in which washed-up celebrities and people who probably can’t be considered celebrities at all will live in a house together and get relationship advice from a Beverly Hills therapist. Jon has made the cut, along with his girlfriend of two years, Liz Jannetta. They will be joined by celebrity teen-mom-turned-aspiring-porn-actress Farrah Abraham and rapper Ghostface Killah, among others.

Whatever challenge the lawsuit posed to the Waiter & Cabin Dweller narrative, a return to reality television seems to blow the whole thing to pieces. Before the VH1 news broke last November, I spoke to Jon’s former manager, Mike Heller, who shepherded him through that treacherous fall of 2009, and whose father, Mark, was Jon’s divorce lawyer. Heller insisted that Jon is happier now than he was during Jon & Kate Plus 8. “He’s not the one who wanted to do the TV show from the beginning,” he told me. When he added that reality television was “the biggest addiction,” he was making the point that Jon had kicked the habit, not that he had succumbed to it.

Jon and I eventually discuss the VH1 show, and he quickly gets defensive. “I didn’t put out an open bid—this is something that just popped up,” he says. Plus, he did it for his relationship with Liz, a single mom of three who DJs and tends bar. “We needed the therapy for our relationship. We really couldn’t afford therapy. And it’s free therapy.”

What makes all of this doubly incongruous is that for the past few weeks, Jon has been going full apostate on the medium of television, telling me that while paid interviews with The View and Oprah were fair game (“It’s a revenue stream”), filming a reality show was not (“That’s not me”). He claimed, somewhat improbably, that he’d turned down “10 to 20” reality-TV shows since his flameout, including Dancing with the Stars.

One Friday in mid-October, Jon finds himself standing in front of several dozen middle-aged lawyers and accountants at a tiny satellite campus of Temple University in a Montgomery County office park. Along with his entertainment lawyer, Chris Cabott, Jon is leading a day-long $149.99 continuing education seminar about the legal ins and outs of reality TV, about which Jon has some expertise. Standing at a lectern in an untucked purple striped shirt and blazer, he tells the class he walked away from the show to spare his children from later watching the documentation of their parents’ divorce. “I literally didn’t show up to work, and that’s a breach of contract,” he says. “But I did it for morals.” Cabott asks him about the role of producers. “I don’t trust producers,” he replies. “You trust yourself and the people that love you.” Outside, during a smoking break, a student named Pat asks him if he’d do it over again. Jon puffs on his cigarette and says, “Knowing what I know now, probably not.”

It’s not just TV that burned him. “One of the things that he did, that I really couldn’t control, he really let the wrong people get into his life,” Mike Heller says. “He was pretty much naive when it came to the Kate Majors of the world.” (Kate Major is a former tabloid reporter who alleges she fell in love with Jon; she then had a baby with Lindsay Lohan’s dad, and now thinks that “Jon is a piece of shit he deserves to live in the woods without TV.” Pride of Allentown, baby!) Stir in an ex-wife who was suing him and an ex-girlfriend who may or may not be floating fake texts, and it makes sense that Jon’s become a bit paranoid. “The Hellers protected me … as far as I know,” he says of the people with whom he was closest in 2009. “They could have sold me out, too. I have no idea.”

The antidote to all these leeches would be his current girlfriend, Liz. Unlike them, she fell for him after his stock had crashed, when there was no more money to be made off of him. Liz and I sit next to one another during the Temple lecture, and her crass charm inspires me at one point to overshare that I’d forgotten to apply deodorant that morning. She offers up her own stick of Secret, which is in her car. This experience is apparently bonding enough that when we return to the lecture, she grabs my laptop and starts typing out a message.

Because he’s been off air for so long … my questions are always …

Why do people still care? What did he really DO to become famous, other than have lots of children and a bitch ex-wife. But every single place we go he’s recognized. Whether it’s in Berks PA or another state. With or without kids. Now he’s living this life like everyone else, although his past will always exist. Nothing luxurious, Insane work schedule, Kid schedule, managing finances, making a little time to breathe etc. And it sucked for him to get to this point (as he says he’s hit “rock bottom” numerous times), but it’s good now and all about figuring out what to do to keep moving in right direction.

Fourteen days later, Jon and Liz fly to Los Angeles. Season Four of Couples Therapy debuts on January 2nd at 9 p.m.

JON WANTS TO BE CLEAR: He was only filming in L.A. for two weeks. That’s it. Two weeks. Now he’s back home, picking up his kids, working at Black Dog. And you know what? He didn’t know if he and Liz would be a couple by the end of the therapy. But it was the best fucking thing he ever did. For them. Not for TV, dude. It wasn’t about TV.

One of the reasons Jon is doing damage control on the Couples Therapy gig is because what he wants out of this article is precisely the opposite of what he fears I’m going to write. “My good name is tarnished,” he told me before the VH1 gig materialized. He thinks the hacking charges have hurt his already compromised reputation, and he needs to defend himself in print. I ask how my article will redeem him. “I’m just a normal person. Let’s not use ‘normal’ anymore. Let’s use ‘ordinary,’” he says. “Ordinary is: I’m a fuckin’ tax-paying, law-abiding citizen of Pennsylvania. That just happened to be on TV for five years. You know what I mean? That’s it.”

Three days after the Temple seminar, Jon invites me back out to Berks County, to get a glimpse of the realness. We meet at a McDonald’s off the highway, where I drop off my car and climb into his.

He’s on speaker with Carey but cuts her off: “I gotta go do errands with Simon. I gotta get a gun safe.” According to his family court judge, a trigger lock and a slide lock are not enough when you have eight children, so we drive to Dick’s Sporting Goods. Jon walks over to the section of the store with the plastic deer and the rifles, where everything’s colored camouflage or orange. He finds a safe that’s not too pricey, tacks on two boxes of American Eagle ammo, and heads back to the car. I ask his opinion on gun control.

“It’s your choice. Right to bear arms,” he says nonchalantly, playing with the new bullets. “Second Amendment. Here you go,” he says, and puts the gun in my hand. “That’s a .45 automatic. Smallest carry .45 you can have. So, three-quarter-inch barrel. Nine rounds in the clip and one in the chamber. But I don’t chamber a bullet when I carry it.”

He takes back the .45. “This is the gun I pulled out,” he says, referring to the paparazzi incident. He smacks the clip shut. “It’s loud as fuck. But it’s my right.”

Jon says VH1 contacted him out of the blue a few days before Halloween, and flew him and Liz out to L.A. less than a week later. The implication is that he wasn’t actively shopping himself around. This is plausible. None of the people closest to him ever gave me any indication he was interested in doing TV again. That said, by agreeing to a series of humiliating Waiter & Cabin Dweller appearances on the big daytime shows, Jon Gosselin reestablished his D-list potential—and set himself up nicely for a reality-show comeback.

The same dynamic is at work during our day of errands. He takes me to meet his mom, who lives in a planned suburban community and declines to speak on the record. He shows me his childhood home, which is located in a good neighborhood on a handsome boulevard. He drives by the first house he and Kate lived in, a little wooden three-story a few blocks away. He takes me to his cottage in the woods, where he’s lived for more than two years. Outside, an ax leans against a tree. Inside, a pretty painting he picked up on a street in Paris hangs on the wall. There’s a fridge and a grill on the deck, along with a glass bowl full of beer bottle caps. I want to stay and talk, but he gets me out of there pretty quickly, and tells me I can’t write about his kids’ stuff. (He gets the kids one day a week and every other weekend.)

The operative question to ask about a former reality star seeking a redemptive magazine profile is whether he’s full of shit. Well, yes and no. Heller says that Jon was earning close to seven figures at the height of his fame, but pissed it all away by buying expensive clothes and flying first-class and renting a $5,000-a-month apartment on the Upper West Side that he barely used. So, yeah, this is his new life. But that doesn’t mean he can’t try to leverage the folksiness into some vague reputational boost. Letting the world in on the mundanity of his life, after all, is how he got big in the first place.

After a couple hours of rote sightseeing, he drives me back to the McDonald’s. Before I go, I tell him I want to tie up some loose ends about the court case, which at that point he’s still embroiled in, and suddenly he wakes up. “Everyone thinks I’m out to get Kate. I don’t give a fuck!” he says. “What would I get out of it? Everyone knows she’s an asshole, you know what I mean? I don’t have to—she’s proven that!” He goes on: “Kate wants to still be on television. She’s now digging into the past, because that’s what sells. Too late, honey. No one gives a fuck, really.”

Soon, Jon will be the one back on television, sharing a house with Ghostface Killah and Farrah Abraham. Maybe after that, he’ll cross-brand-market his way onto a gun show or, God willing, a cooking show. Maybe he’ll sink into obscurity, back in the woods again, his relationship with Liz strengthened by two weeks of mind-blowing therapy. But for now, Jon Gosselin is just a guy sitting in a McDonald’s parking lot, ranting about his ex-wife.

Follow @svzwood on Twitter.

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  • phillysportsfan

    Juniata College doesn’t have sororities or fraternities.

    • Funbud

      I’m figuring he meant he was hanging out at some frat-like house, a place where a bunch of college guys lived together. My college didn’t have fraternities or sororities, either, but we did have off-campus houses full of frat boy like guys.

  • JazzyJeff

    He’s gross. Looking back I don’t blame her as much as I used to for being shrewish. Great article but you did miss one piece of info. When he broke his contract with TLC it was to do a show with Michael Lohan called, “Divorced Dads Club”. The two of them were pitching it everywhere they could at the time and I’m sure there’s still articles about it online. Once it failed to be picked up by a network and TLC sued him, that’s when he allegedly had the epiphany that reality TV was bad. He didn’t leave for morality reasons, it was to do the new show, that’s just his latest mantra to stick it to Kate. Thanks for this article. Good reading and unbiased. One of the better articles I’ve ever read about these two.

    • Funbud

      All I can say is she picked him. Or rather, they picked each other. I barely watched the show but I saw quickly that he was too laid back for Kate and she is a look at me-me-me type of gal. Then again, what other type goes on a TV reality show?

  • Rashad Johnson

    He should have saved his money instead of running around with 21 year old bimbos and wearing 100 dollar Ed Hardy tee shirts like he was some sort of Movie star or something .Think of how his kids see him .

    • GosselinbookStTeam..

      As opposed to Kate hiring stretch limo’s with her *cough* bodyguard/road manager to get $1000 haircut & bleach job in NYC. Not to mention weekly mani/pedi/spa treatments. Having $300,000 worth of cars in her garage, Oh, and complaining the kids don’t have money for college after working 40 hour weeks for 6-7 years for $0. It’s always been about Kate and her “movie star” entitlement.

      • WelcomeBackJon

        Don’t forget about her constant whining and begging for free handouts from various companies and the remainder of her (few and far between) ‘fans’!

        • Teresa

          People magazine just released the stats that their last issue featuring Kate Gosselin was their #7 highest selling issue for the year 2013. The Wife Swap episode featuring Kate Gosselin brought in excellent ratings. I can’t blame you for trying. If I worshipped a drunken moron that pees on his own shoes I’d try to deflect too.

          • gigigigi

            If they tuned in to watch her, it was because people like to watch her make a fool of herself, not because they admire her. Last I heard she was still unemployed…

          • abz

            The Wife Swap show was with KENDRA WILKINSON, I don’t think the ratings were due to Kate! LOL

          • Guest

            Of course they were in part due to Kate. Was Kendra on the cover of that issue of People too? Why don’t you want to talk about Jon? Do you think drinking and driving is funny?

          • artie

            Theresa is the one who talked about Wife Swap and Kate being on a magazine cover. I don’t see abz saying anything about drinking and driving, nor that they think it’s funny. They were talking about Wife Swap. ugh

          • Lucy Di Poce Bonomo

            Kate apparently was caught speeding with the kids in the car also kids without seat belts……just saying.

          • RealityTeeVee

            Jon could have killed many people drinking and driving. Kate and her unbelted party would have been at risk ONLY. Stop your hatred of Kate and see both for what they are: WRONG.

          • acm

            If Kate had had an accident she could have also injured or killed people in other cars, not just herself and/or her family, just as Jon could have killed himself or others. They’re both wrong as are you!

          • Lucy Di Poce Bonomo

            Didn’t say what Jon did was right and your comment about me hating Kate is ridiculous. I am merely pointing out that she has never been innocent in her words or actions.

          • chili

            Kendra wife-swapped into a family with 8 kids? How do you wife swap with someone who doesn’t have a husband though?

    • Winecountrytours

      If Jon could have afforded a decent lawyer at the time of the divorce, he would have discovered all of Kate’s hidden money, offshore accounts, fake corporation with Steve “the bodyguard”. What is she living off of? Spending all the kids money? She hasn’t held a job in over 2 years, but is the proud owner of 3 vehicles, including her recently purchased 2nd Audi. Pretty good, for an unemployed single mother, in a one driver household.

    • Winecountrytours

      Have you seen any picture of Jon with the happy kids, vs the kids who are terrified of their own mother. Google is your friend. Try it. Those kids are terrified of making her mad because they know they will be beaten again. Read any of Kate’s tweets or blogs, she is buying the twins silence, because they DO remember her abuse of the younger kids.

      • Renee smart

        You could get sued for telling such lies that Kate BEATS her children!! The truth is bad enough with that family without telling lies you have no proof of. Shame on you for trying to make things look bad in a way you have no idea what goes on in that families daily life. I guess you would know details if you are inside their house to see first hand. Is that it? ?? So are you in the house and you see Kate beat her children??? What a sick liar you are. You have something wrong with you!!!!!! Weirdo!!! Geeeeezzz

        • TruthBringer

          LOL, one of the Kate fanatics.

  • Burton Young

    I’ve read more about his kids in interviews that he’s done than I ever have on Ms Gosselin’s sporadic twitter feed. He seems socially and intellectually stunted. Did something happen to him? Was he in an accident or something worse? Why does he seem so dense and childlike?

    • Winecountrytours

      You obviously don’t follow Kate much. She’s spoken about ever private moment of the kids, from bra shopping w/ the twins. to how it is “work” to love her own children. I’m surprised she hasn’t tweeted pictures of their used tampons. She tells “stories” that her kids supposed say or tell that are equal to 3 year olds instead of the 9 1/2 year olds they are. She is thinking if they are cute and 3 they can be back on TV. When the kids are with Kate they are locked up at home, no friends, no family, no activities. Kate won’t spend an extra dine on those kids.

      • Burton Young

        In order to craft a fair response to your post I refreshed my memory concerning Ms Gosselin’s Twitter account by reviewing it anew. It contains none of the things you claimed it does other than a quick reference to some undergarment shopping. There was no indication that they are locked up at home and references to activities outside the home were made. I was surprised to learn that the majority of your post was purely fiction. It is exactly what I said it was, positive though sporadic references concerning the children which is better than their “father’s” knack for making frequent negative comments about them. It also appears Mr Gosselin has a propensity for driving while possibly inebriated. I hope to God he never harms anyone.

        • cathyn518

          Perhaps you should watch some of the old shows, especially the one when she made her sick son lie on the cold laundry room floor so that he wouldn’t throw up on the be or google when Kate hit her daughter in the driveway and the pap got the picture. There was also a picture of Maddie taken by Kate and posted on twitter that shoes her legs in high heels=very suggestive. I would go on but I doubt you are really interested in the truth here.

          • Burton Young

            I find your post fascinating. What’s your motivation to stretch the truth? What’s your motivation to speak only of Ms Gosselin rather than her husband, the subject of the article PhillyMag has so kindly requested we comment on if we feel the urge? Do you not like what you’ve read?

          • Guest

            Jon also spanked the kids so what.

          • abz

            Jon didn’t grab his toddler son by the hair and whip him into his crib, nor leave the 6 locked in their rooms for upwards of 4 hours for daily naps, nor leave them to their own devices for hours upon hours locked in the basement so that he wasn’t bothered by them.

            No, he was the one to get them up in the morning, dressed and ready for the day, deliver a fresh cup of coffee to Kate’s bedside (because she liked to sleep till at least 8am), work an 8 hour day, plus drive an hour each way to work, then come home, play with and feed them dinner, bathe them all, and put them to bed.

            Jon is certainly not perfect, but he is the better parent — by FAR. And, just as an aside, he’s the parent who recognized the negatives to his children from being on reality tv and the lasting effects of it and the damage done to his kids by their exploitation and stopped it and has taken steps to prevent further “abuse” (and yes, I consider it abuse). Kate? She wants to get them back to “work” asap to support her choice of lifestyle and continues to exploit them daily.

          • Renee smart

            You have no idea what goes on in others homes unless you you are in their house!!! You do not know. Unless you are clairvoyant???? Not likely. Lol lol lol

          • IMHO

            I feel the need to say that I disagree with your comment. We DO have an idea of what went on in their home because the TLC cameras were IN their home. I understand the power of editing but no one can film things if they do not happen. Kate did and said a lot that displayed who she really is/was.

          • Beverly Herbrechtsmeier

            I watched too. And never saw the kids locked in their rooms. You are tripping. She wasn’t a great wife but many times I watched Jon sitting on his ass while she was doing everything. I’d be a bitch to him too. By the way he quit his job early in the show.

          • RealityTeeVee

            High heels are suggestive of what exactly?

          • cathyn518

            on an 11 year old? High heels and a full leg shown in photos appears sexual.

          • Susie

            High heels on an 11 year old is suggestive of… Playing dress up. If you didn’t wear heels, fake pearls, lipstick, and an oversized purse when you were an 11 year old girl, you were clearly either raised in a cultish religious colony or Mars.

        • Renee smart

          You are right about false comments by a sick person telling lies.! Winecountrytours is a weirdo.

      • Lana Bo-banna

        They’re her kids and like others on Twitter, they talk about their kids.

      • Renee smart

        “USED TAMPONS” You go to far!! You are a sicko and a little to envolved in this families life. Seek help now!! Sick, just sick. Flagged that gross comment!

  • alwalentis

    I covered the Jon & Kate saga for Us Weekly during the summer of 2009, when the story became a tabloid sensation, and it sounds like Jon is still going through his arrested adolescence. His obliviousness to the perils of drinking and driving is appalling. You can read my full take here:

    • GosselinbookStTeam..

      Ha! your still pissed because your book bombed big time. I see no mention of Kate Gosselin and her bad driving habits i.e 100mph + cellphone + coffee + kids screaming in car = DISASTER. What about all those speeding tickets

      she’s accumilated? The bottle of wine a day she drinks? Her love of pom and chocolate martini’s? Get real Al

      • Lana Bo-banna

        Are you Roberts mouth piece?

        • gigigigi

          You need to find a hobby, job, and a life.

          • Lana Bo-banna

            Wow, good comeback. The writer made a fool out of Jon. Not that it was hard to.

          • Renee smart

            Jon makes a fool out of Jon. Lol lol lol lol

    • Al’s a Loser

      Pathetic, bitter old Al still trying to make a buck off his loser of a book.

    • cathyn518

      No one cares to hear from you, your book was worthless

    • Alsintrouble

      There is a warrant for your arrest Al. Me thinks you would lay low.

    • Renee smart

      It is strange how Jon is so child like!! He gets angry like a two year old. He will never be a good supporter to his children. Sad for the kids.

  • cathyn518

    yes, Kate has no boundaries. That narcissistic woman is still ready for her closeup and would sell her soul to be back on TV. She talks about the children constantly on twitter because no one cares about her life otherwise. It is very damaging to these children physiologically, their mother does not want them to grow up and not be show business cute anymore. She wants to dress them all alike and still calls them “the littles”. Honestly, I understand this man’s frustrations.

  • Lana Bo-banna

    Poor Jon, didn’t even realize he was being mocked by the writer. He made you look really bad Jon. BTW: you really should put that ax away. It’s a dangerous weapon too.

  • Sue26

    My admiration for Kate is immense. Jon was the biggest betrayal of her life, and the anger that people see in her is nothing more than grief at being utterly abandoned by a man who was supposed to be a life partner with her while they raised these children together. Instead, all Kate got through her marriage was Jon’s immaturity, stupidity, and evil backstabbing. He truly comes off as one if the dumbest men I’ve ever seen, and how Kate doesn’t talk badly about him more than she does is beyond me. He’s vile. I feel so sorry for her. She’s doing a very, very fine job raising her children, and I truly hope that at some point Kate really will find love and a new start at a real, adult relationship, not like the one she had with Jon that was nothing but heartache.

    • Sara

      I think that’s kate posting as Sue26. She loves to comment as another. Maybe if you weren’t so controlling and treated jon as a second class citizen he would’ve stuck around.

      • Really

        How do you know she comments under other names? Care to provide some proof to back up that statement?

        • Sara

          Why do you need proof? I said I think, it’s a known fact she is obsessed with herself and all info written about her. And anyhow, I said I think. Get a grip. Really.

  • abz

    Hey Simon —
    How interesting that you neglected to mention that Kate dropped ALL CHARGES against Jon WITH PREJUDICE, which means she agreed to never sue him for the same things again.

  • krj3

    “Everyone thinks I’m out to get Kate. I don’t give a fuck!” he says. “What would I get out of it? Everyone knows she’s an asshole, you know what I mean? I don’t have to—she’s proven that!” He goes on: “Kate wants to still be on television. She’s now digging into the past, because that’s what sells. Too late, honey. No one gives a fuck, really.”

    Best paragraph of the whole article. If Kate could read it and let it sink in there might be some hope for her.

    • Renee smart

      Jon has no hope. He is nothing but a back woodsmen now. Run bambi and little bunnies Jon’s got a gun. Aaaaaaaaaaahhhh lol lol

  • Porfivor Nixon

    For someone so down on his luck,he still manages to get a lot of press.

  • JBird

    One day a week and every other weekend. That’s not much. Gives you plenty of time to booze and take up smoking.

  • Janet

    I know Jon is trying his best to live a normal life, but when Kate see’s him in the magazine, newspaper, or TV she gets jealous and starts slamming his name. She has become sooo sick, n jealous of her X, she needs help to grow up.
    She misses’ the glamour.

  • Kreider sucks

    Interesting reading:

  • teresa darienzo

    Jon’s delivery in this article may have been a bit crass, but in all honesty for any who have ever watched their show Kate proved over and over again that she is truly an asshole. You know the old saying “Don’t shoot the messenger”. Well I think that holds true in this case.

    • Veronica

      Those kids would be running wild in the woods with no clothes foraging for food if it wasn’t for their mom making sure their needs were met. Jon doesn’t even pay child support.

      • Renee smart

        I agree

        • Becky

          I concur!!!

  • Bucks County

    Mr. Simon Van Zulen Wood., your written work illustrates how miserable you were for this interview. I stopped reading when I got to “absurdly tall glass” in which the hefeweizen was served. Really?

    Is your writing style always sardonic, or just when you feel superior to the subject and can’t relate?

  • Momto4girls

    I’ve always suspected that the “shrew” we saw on TV was just the end result of countless hours of trying to raise 8 small kids with a complete moron for a husband, this article suggests I’m dead on. TV is a funny thing with all the boring moments falling on the cutting room floor. What I never saw was Jon doing anything to help without having to be told detail by detail exactly how to do it – how exasperating that must have been, especially a sleep deprived mom. I have looked through Kate’s twitter and web page and can’t find anything that would be harmful to her kids… In fact, every mom I know posts more about their kids on FB and Twitter than KATE does. What I did find was a lot of posts showing a loving mom of well adjusted kids who spend a great deal of time as a family while still finding time with friends. I also noticed that late has written another book, recently released… So I’m not sure why people are saying she’s unemployed? Books don’t write themselves in a day so she clearly has been working.

    • Mindy

      It was a cookbook, that had more pictures of her kids than recipes. And she copied most of the recipes off of soup cans, not that much work there. Seriously, this wasn’t a novel that really takes talent and hard work. She is unemployed, no matter how you spin it. And where is the pics of kids with friends? All we hear about is them with mom, pets and siblings.

    • tami

      The cookbook was a joke basically just a way for her to get her name back into the media again. I know she hardly soled any copies of it so maybe now she will get the hint that no one cares and go away. Funny when I watched the show I didn’t see anything like what you saw. First she wasn’t sleep deprived she said herself that she didn’t like to get up before 8am when Jon brought her coffee. Her kids where in bed by 8pm and they where gated into their bedrooms so there was no way for them to come down after that so that’s plenty of time for her to sleep. Second the only reason she told Jon how to do everything was because she is a controlling shrew I watched the show too. If he dressed all 8 kids and she didn’t like the shoes or the color hair tie the girls where wearing she would scream at him. So of course he would check with her on everything it was better than doing it his way and then having to get screamed at and do it again anyway.

  • Marti

    I can’t stand Kate ..but that being said, Jon isn’t much better. I think his only redeeming value is that even though he still clearly yearns for the spot light, at least he doesn’t want his children in it with him. But honestly, who does he think he is kidding.

    Every job this guy has had post ‘reality tv’ he has ran to the press to talk about. Roofer, gaming/tech company, waiter…. and really now he is talking about ‘his

    Then he insults middle America by calling them couch potatoes (his ‘target audience’ ) while he paints himself as a Rhodes Scholar? In actuality, he is dumb and easily lead. He is so stupid, he hired a hack lawyer Mark J. Heller to represent him,despite Heller being disbarred for unethical conduct. Then in a even stupider move…he hired Heller’s son Mike to be his ‘manager’. Mike booked him for personal appearances which trigger a breach of contract violation with TLC Jon was contractually obligated to have the network pre-approve them. Did Mark not read Jon’s TLC contract or did he just not care? Hello- conflict of interest anyone?

  • Tom

    These people have problems.

  • Michael

    I started to read this and then I realized that, just like the Jon & Kate show, I don’t care and changed the channel.

  • B

    Seriously- how has no one commented on this amazing photo yet? I especially like that they needed a “prop stylist” for the TVs.
    “Just a little to the left…. no, Jon, sit on that one, behind that one.”

  • Seriously?

    Before I read the comments I have to say the first thing I was thinking during this article. Why were you or John drinking and driving? You started the interview at a bar drinking. You then went to another bar to drink & tossed a shot as well. You then followed him as he drove. I really would like some clarification on this because that is not cool, at all. It is also dangerous and illegal. If you were not driving your car, you should have made that clear. You also had a responsibility to not allow John to drive, if you were sober yourself. I take more offense to this than to how these 2 parent their kids.

  • RealReality

    TLC cannot film Kate’s words, unless she spoke them. She said many, many things that showed her character. I watched the show initially because I adore kids and the show premise was about raising multiples. I remember physically recoiling from some of the things Kate did & said. I have been married a long time and I have NEVER spoken to my husband the way she spoke to Jon. It was shocking because she did it in front of her kids and on TV. I always wondered how she spoke to him OFF camera if she did that ON camera.
    I clearly recall a Kate Plus 8 episode when she rented RVs with a friend for a trip. She was absolutely horrible, disrespectful and rude to the friends she went with. Her nanny broke down, cried her eyes out, and quit on live TV. Kate broke this lovely young woman. Kate also screamed at the friend she was with, until she left too. I was so embarrassed for them.
    What mother allows her 6 kids to be televised while sitting naked on the potty? And what mom makes her vomiting, febrile kids sleep on the cold laundry room floor with the door closed? It was so sad. She said she did not ‘want them to make a mess of her house’. Many moms put their ill children in mom’s bed for comfort & special care, when they are sick. I also remember when she showed the kids their new $1.3 million home for the first time. She was horrible to the kids.You can watch how she spoke to them when they were in her bedroom.

    I feel guilty for watching their show. I now see that it is so wrong to have minors being filmed on the toilet, vomiting, being screamed at and while having tantrums. It was inexcusable to air a child having stool picked out of his butt. I recall hearing Kate describe her older daughter in such a demeaning and cruel manner. It is now on social media forever. It is no wonder 2 of the 6 kids were expelled from JK. Jon was not perfect but he was emasculated for YEARS on TV. There is a reason almost every reality show family ends up splitting up. Forget about Jon & Kate, I would be more concerned about the damage done to their kids by being on reality TV. It should be illegal.

    • tami

      I agree with you 100%. The things she did and said were shocking. It’s amazing to me that Kate “fans” can defend her after everything she said and did on television. Jon is no saint he has made mistakes but he was beaten down for so many years by her it’s not surprising that he went a little wild once he was finally rid of her. I feel sorry for those poor kids imagine living in that house with her.

  • evstok

    The more you hear from either of them, the more you realize that they deserved each other. Unfortunately, the kids are stuck in the middle.

  • EOTW

    This article is geius. I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time. Thank you.

  • Macguyver

    Living in Berks County as I do I’ve seen Kate and Jon out and about here and there in the past few years. Saw Kate at the height of their fame in 09′ going into a nail salon and just saw Jon at a Target in Wyomissing the night before Christmas Eve buying gifts. I did as do usually when I see them. Do a double take, realize its them and then ignore them. If the media and the rest of the world would just do the same, they would go away for good. Whether Jon or Kate want to admit it or not, thy are both attention seekers even though they present it otherwise. Sad they are so different yet so much alike. It’s 2014, not 2009 anymore, its time we forget them and put them in their respective pop culture time capsules and move on. As soon as we all realize it maybe they will too.

  • Octavus5

    Despite the snarky write up by the author, Jon sounds like an ordinary guy, flaws and warts.

  • Aristotle

    I will never recover the time I spent reading half of this article.
    I never heard of the guy. Why did I read that much?

  • George P.Burdell

    ” Jon pulling out a .45mm handgun”
    Dear God, what ever happened to copy editing? .45 CALIBER handgun! Not .45mm!
    You’d think with a murder every 2 out of 3 days, that someone writing for a rag named “Philadelphia” would get such a simple fact straight.