November 3rd, 2009
02:28 PM ET

Defending Jon Gosselin!

With the World Series ending soon, America will soon be able to focus on its other national pastime: bashing Jon Gosselin. Ever since Gosselin and his wife Kate split, and Jon started partying it up with a much younger woman,  many have  gleefully ridiculed him as a negligent father, a wannabe playboy and your basic Class-A dog.

Now, Jon’s admitting his sins. This past weekend he appeared before cameras at a New York synagogue to apologize to his ex-wife for his behavior. In choosing such a public forum, Jon was also offering an implicit apology to those of us who’ve followed, and disapproved of, his post-breakup antics. It’s an apology we should accept. It may be my basic sense of fair play (or my Y chromosome) talking here, but Jon Gosselin is getting a bum rap. Here’s why:

1.)    We all saw this coming –  Back when the titular family of  “Jon & Kate Plus 8” was still intact, viewers picked up on two simple facts: 1.) the eight kids were adorable and 2.) Kate wasn’t very nice to Jon. Kate habitually bossed, belittled and berated Jon, often in front of the children. Jon and Kate’s troubling marital dynamic became so entrenched in popular culture that even non –watchers became aware of it. In fact, some people I know who are now on the “I Hate Jon” bandwagon used to actually pity Jon and openly wonder when Kate’s antics would make him snap. Well, after their split, Jon did snap; he careened headfirst into a boozy sea of European yacht parties, willing young women and ugly Ed Hardy T-shirts. Acceptable behavior for a father of eight? No. Understandable behavior for someone first tasting independence after a long and one-sided relationship? Definitely.

2.)    Breakups are hard.  We all know that people sometimes act out a bit after they’ve ended a long relationship.  It’s a painful process that sometimes takes years to work through. If Jon’s truly over it now, as he says he is, it will have only taken him a little over four months. Again, not an ideal situation but an understandable one.

3.)    Kate hasn’t been perfect either.   Jon hasn’t cornered the market on questionable post-divorce behavior. Kate’s rushed on to almost every major daytime TV show to complain about divorce matters best settled privately in court. And by giving tacit approval to TLC’s ruthless campaign to savage Jon’s reputation and salvage the “Kate Plus 8” empire, Kate arguably has complicated this split every bit as much as Jon (who, it should be noted, helped build that empire) has. No, two wrongs don’t make a right. But when two people each stack up an impressive list of “wrongs” and only one gets called on it, something isn’t right.

It’s only natural that we take sides in the Jon and Kate breakup; we each have our own experiences, values, and ideas about relationships that can’t help but influence how we react to this very public split. But by endlessly bashing one or both parties in this saga, we ignore a sad truth: that Jon and Kate both are doing what they think is best for themselves and their children during a terrible ordeal – an ordeal that many of us have either witnessed or experienced ourselves. Yes, Jon and Kate have each earned some well-deserved criticism for their actions. Still, they both deserve some compassion as well.

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soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Britney...

    First off, i just want to say that i am SO SICK of hearing about these two! I mean, all they say is , "oh im doing this for our kids."
    What the hell are you doing anyways?? Sitting there and acting LIKE your kids, even MORE immature?
    Jon is a selfish person, and i can see him going out with another younger women-im giving him two weeks tops.
    Every time i see Kate on TV, she s all like, "Well, i dunno if my kids will like this..." *sniff *sniff* cry* cry*
    And im with Yvonne Buehner.

    November 9, 2009 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  2. Deanna

    And BTW, Kristen, Kate was the one who wanted the tummy tuck which she received for free thanks to a compassionate plastic surgeon's wife who saw her complaining about her droopy stomach on the show. In fact, she was the one always harping on Jon about his looks to lose weight and even made him get hair plugs. Jon actually said, "Kate, I'm doing this for you!" Since it mattered so much to her. Get your facts straight, so you can make a more informed judgement about a person.

    November 5, 2009 at 3:01 am | Report abuse |
  3. Deanna

    Kristen, you obviously have never watched the show if you think that Jon never pulled his weight at home with the kids. To Kate's credit she runs a tight ship which means she is a task master, so she had Jon doing more work in a year than most husbands do in a lifetime. Jon changed thousands of diapers, gave the kids their baths, carried everything to and from the car, etc., and that's when he wasn't at work. Jon has apologized, he wants to work things out with Kate, and he's wanted to stop the filming since the end of season 4. Kate wanted the show to go on and it was a major conflict between them because he wanted their privacy back. Guess who won that fight?? I wish Jon could speak better for himself, but he's had to compete with Kate who claims, "I have the gift of gab." Jon is publicly admitting his mistakes and apologizing for them, he's owning his faults and wants to CHANGE for the better and for the sake of his family. Kate has made no apologies and has played the victim card from the start. Kate threatened divorce and the passive Jon she's always known actually stood up to her and said, fine. Their life has been chaos and drama ever since. Jon is clearly stepping up to the plate now, while Kate is freaking out for possibly losing her precious show, "Kate and 8". Get over yourself, Kate, you're not going to be in a movie. For the sake of the kids, work it out and don't get divorced!

    November 5, 2009 at 2:47 am | Report abuse |
  4. Yvonne Buehner

    Jon 's "confession" with a Rabbi was attended by 50 people who PAID to watch and listen and then made public on TV. SHAME ON BOTH OF THEM!! They have made a mockery of religion. A public apology is one thing, but a confession on private matters, and in public is outrageous! Sins are confessed to God and in some religions also to clergy. These confessions are so private that a priest or rabbi cannot be made to reveal their contents even in a court of law. Jon and his new rabbi are only seeking notoriety, money or other future benefits. My guess is that God is not smiling on them.

    November 4, 2009 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jen

    Everyone picks a partner for a reason. John and Kate must have seen something in each other that reminded them of their parents growing up. There is a theory (Imago) that people are drawn to partners in order to work out the unresolved issues of their childhood. Their problem is, they didn't get the help they need. It sounds like they both came from dysfunctional parents/homes. If you don't get help, you are destined to repeat the cycles of your past.

    In my humble opinion, John is an immature, lying, alcoholic who didn't know how to stand up for himself. He needs rehab and counseling instead of more booze and immature women. Kate is a control-freak who didn't know how to get her husband to stop drinking and grow-up. She needs counseling too.

    I think if they did this and some couples counseling, they could make it work. Marriage isn't just about love, it is about making a committment to grow together and learn how to communicate as best friends should – not necessarily communicate the way our parents did.

    If they don't get help, fame or no fame, they are destined to have more failed relationships with similar partners. It happens all of the time. It is very sad.

    November 4, 2009 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ann

    Both of these parents need to stop playing this to the public. Despite the fact they have (had) a public television show, they have 8 children who WILL at some point in their lives see the way their parents handled this situation and will ultimately be the ones who are immensly hurt by it all.

    Yes, Kate completely imasculated Jon in their marriage. She is by no means an angel in any of this. Jon is actling lieke a total horse's ass and needs to reel it in. He complains about being tired on taking kids to school, routine life, things were so hard. ..HELLO.. its called parenting and people do it everyday. Get a grip and grow up. Your kids are returnable for a motorcycle.
    They both should be ashamed of themselves and I am ashamed of myself for giving this as much time as I have.

    November 4, 2009 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jill

    I would imagine it would be difficult being married to Jon. He doesn't take any initiative, plays the "poor me" card and doesn't take any responsibility for his actions or lack thereof. The only thing Kate can do is ask for help and is resentful for having to do so.
    In addition, having 8 children without a plan of supporting them besides being on tv is irresponsible, selfish and reprehensible. Heck, you can't even adopt a dog without your landlord's approval.

    November 4, 2009 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Lori

    Jon is such a loser. Kate is not perfect ....yes this is true. She is a very responsible parent. Jon is sooooooooo into HIMSELF and no one else. I would not be surprised if in five years he has no contact at all with his children. I guess time will tell. I wish he would GET A JOB!!!

    November 4, 2009 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Kristen

    Jon was belittled and emasculated because he never acted like a man. He was not a partner in the marriage or a productive member of the family. It is an unfortunate side effect of women getting strong and independant that SOME men feel a need to sponge off of them. Kate was not perfect but why should she have to coddle Jon when SHE carried 6 fetuses to term and SHE wrote books and busted her butt to support the children and SHE had surgery so that she could try to compete with Jon's bimbos (remember the tummy tuck? Not for her, definitely for Jon and he got a girlfriend out of it). If Jon had been a real partner rather than another dependant maybe Kate wouldn't have been so tough on him.

    November 4, 2009 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Fred Sapper

    No straight man on the planet sides with Kate. He's being a man, enjoying his life as everyone is entitled to do. The kids will be fine, and Kate is an acerbic, abrasive, emasculating shrew.

    November 4, 2009 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Richardand Judith

    In a way both parties are guilty. But my only concern is that of the children. I am sure being on tv and having all this exposure on them and there parents will affect them in the long run. To me they are being forced into being on this show. Where both the parents have benifitted. I think the real guilty party of anything is TLC who decided to keep the show on the air for ratings. They are not thinking of the children in any way at all. When the divorce was made public, than the show should have been cancelled. By the way, if Jon really cares about the children, than he should request that the show be pulled. As it is his right to do so as parent.

    November 4, 2009 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  12. Andrea

    It all comes down to this-if you decide to have a gazillion embryos implanted knowing that you may end up with multiples (AFTER you have 2 children, no less!) make sure you can afford them without exploiting them on television. Kate's explanation for her fame seeking is that they would not have been able to support their kids any other way then the TLC show. Wrong, Kate. People raise 6, 7, 8, and more kids every day in the United States without a six figure income. Granted they don't live in a multi million dollar house like you but they manage. Maybe you should "manage" for your children for a while and give everyone a break from the limelight.

    November 4, 2009 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  13. Brenda Carey

    Don't be fooled. His apology – great. Her tears – great. Both of them are doing what they are doing for themselves and never once have the children been put first – except for the luck of the parents in that the kids love the attention of the camera people and all the cool stuff they get. Wouldn't any kid? That was luck and not a choice they made. All the rest has been purely self centered parents wanting money, fame (good or bad) and a possible career? When did we get so far off track that reality tv took the place of actors who entertained with skill – but at the end of the day went home to their real lives. I'm sorry that we get details about that as I go home and get to leave my work there – why shouldn't trained actors be allowed the same. Why should Jon and Kate assume they are anything but reality tv parents who deserve anything else than the piles of money and attention they already get. Let's get back to leaving reality tv where it belongs – in our lives and not on tv – and be entertained by the professionals. It makes this mother ill to see the headlines and covers everywhere I turn. Hey, I have two kids, 6 jobs and a disabled husband. Wanna make a show about me so I can put crooked houses in my backyard?

    November 4, 2009 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  14. Tammy

    Diane, I agree with you 100%.

    November 4, 2009 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  15. Debra R

    ***yawn** 15 minutes is up for this loser

    November 4, 2009 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  16. righto

    Divorce is one of the most stressful experiences for anyone. The problem is that many significant and important decisions must be made at a time when negative emotions run rampant. Additionally, I am guessing their notariety certainly doesn't help alleviate any pressure either. They both get a free pass from me...for the time being.

    November 4, 2009 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  17. Bobbi A. Bauer

    Jon was only 22 when he married Kate. I have a 23 year old son and I absolutely can't imagine him being saddled with a domineering wife and the responsibility for eight (beautiful) children. Add on Kate's unrelenting put downs of Jon on television for all to see, Jon was bound to bust at any time. I think they have both learned a lot during this terrible family ordeal. They should still try counselling. It's too soon for eight wonderful little human beings to lose their "family". Just because Kate and Jon promise to be good parents, does not mean that the "divorce" of their parents will not have lasting and devastating effects on the children. Grow up Jon and Kate. Get counselling and get back together. Read our wedding vows again if you haven't recently.

    November 4, 2009 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  18. ann

    Thank you for defending Jon Gosselin. I have always felt that he has been unfairly bashed by the media, a frenzy I'm sure TLC encouraged for ratings. There are two sides to this story, Kate is far from blameless so stop laying all the blame on Jon. As to the comments: Theresa Keys, how can you not say the same thing about kate, that she has done exactly what is best for Kate. I don't care how many times you SAY its for the kids actions speak louder than words. Todd Smith, I would also like to say that I would like to see Kate keep her private business private. You can't turn on the tv anymore w'/out seeing her being interviewed or calling in to cry about her problems. Ginger, how is it you see all those things about Jon but find no problem with Kate appearing on every talk show, and what about "her story" that aired on TLC the other night, I'm sure she was compensated for that; as to the "stolen" money...Jon paid it back, did you ever read a story where Kate accounted for the money that she took from the same account? The judge had given her to a certain date to account for the money, never heard she did, only heard she didn't show up in court b/c she was in CA on a book signing. Ok, enough said, my point again is that there are two sides to every story, neither one is blameless here, and personally I'd like both of them go off the air for good. Time to deal with their private problems privately.

    November 4, 2009 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
  19. Jesse

    I actually feel the same way I did when I started watching two years ago...immensely sorry for Jon. This started publicly, played out publicly, and I really don't care one way or the other if Jon is public about his apologies and feelings of atonement.

    On the other hand, Kate is looking for more television, more chances to bring in the really big bucks. She even wants to be in a movie!!! Sorry, but me thinks someone has learned something here, someone else has not.

    November 4, 2009 at 3:26 am | Report abuse |
  20. diane

    I like Jon and always have he came across as the sane one, the one with self control. Kate on he other hand came acroos as arrogant and pushy. She seemed to take pleasure in making her husband feel small on camera. She treated him like one of the kids. The show should have been called, "Kate plus eight and Jon". In one episode they took the kids shopping at a toy store for Christmas and Kate tells John to take half of the kids off to another part of the store while she shopped with the other half so they wouldnt know what each other was buying for each other for gift giving she is done shopping and shouts out in the store for John to help her as it he had been wandering around aimlessly in the store with no intention of helping her with the kids. He wasnt too happy with Kate and she knew it. So she goes up to him and says, "Are you cross with me"? Duh! He told her he did'nt like being treated like a dog. So to Kate here is a word of advice, If you take in a dog and treat him good he'll be loyal to you and love you for ever, but if you don't , anyone else that comes along and rubs his head, he'll run to them.

    November 4, 2009 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
  21. NoRez

    When someone's treated like a child for as long as Jon was, at some point they're going to actually start acting like one. It was painful to watch that woman emasculate her husband every week (and I only watched for a few!) Yeah, he's done a lot of boneheaded things, but Kate obviously had 'issues' long before her husband finally snapped.

    November 4, 2009 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
  22. Ginger

    So here you sit defending a man that has lied, cheated and stole from his wife, his children, his girlfriends and himself. You say taking sides is a natural thing to do, but usually when we do this, we have information to do so. Not make believe, pretend information off an edited television show where you never see the entire outcome of a situation. In Jon's own words, the viewer never saw the final cut, when Jon and Kate made peace and came to terms with whatever disagreement or issues they were having. But you sit here and defend him. He has chosen from the start to put his life since the split in the media. He chose to go to bars with his very young friends, he chose to sleep with girls while still married to his wife because as he said they gave him something he was not getting at home. He chose to sleep with the babysitter and the reporter. He chose to have a 22 year old girlfriend, who claims he is a liar and dances around his own truths. HE CHOSE! And now he choses to be sorry for all his bad decisions, is it because he has no other choices where money is concerned? He sat in front of a paying audience in a temple to come clean. and make more excuses for his actions. Do you not think he was reimbursed for that, tv cameras in a temple, a house of worship all for the man who is not sorry for all that he has done, he is just sorry that he did them in the publis eye in front of the media.

    November 3, 2009 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Emily Wilkes

    I agree that Jon should be conducting his dysfunctional business in private. Just think about how the kids would feel seeing their dad with his new girlfriend on tv when they are still getting used to the idea of the divorce. He should have done a better job at keeping things quiet.

    November 3, 2009 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Sharon

    Jon has been behaving like a man who has been emasculated in front of millions of people every week while the networks haul in the cash and laugh all the way to the bank. Everyone loses but TLC and they know it. Kate....go home and take care of your kids. Cut your damned hair, and act like a mom instead of a freak show wannabee. Sick and tired of her made up, dressed up, polished up appearance and claiming to be taking care of 8 kids the way she should. Get real.
    Jon, grow the hell up and stay off TV. They are making you look like a jack ass. You are helping them by the whining, and the charade with the girlfriend on ET was shameful. THey loved it, and you looked like trailer trash. Go home, hug your kids and be a man.

    November 3, 2009 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Todd Smith

    Gosselin's choice to make his comments public seem self-serving to me. However, I will be more than happy to accept his apology if he will agree to conduct his dysfunctional business in private from now on.

    November 3, 2009 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Theresa Key

    Good try, but not a believeable defense. Jon has consistantly done WHAT HE THINKS IS BEST FOR JON. Not once has he shown any honest concern about anyone but him. He truly seems to think the universe should revolve around Jon Gosselin, and he is frustrated and confused when it doesn't. I am not claiming Kate is blameless (Kate doesn't even make that claim). But she sure looks good compared to him. I am still interested in her and the kids and what they are doing in their lives. All I want from Jon is to never hear anything else about him. It is time for him to fade into the obscurity he has earned.

    November 3, 2009 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |

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