Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Jon and Kate: Can Their Marriage Be Saved?

posted by Nell Minow

Why do we care so much about Jon and Kate?

Why is the show about these two people and their twins and sextuplets so popular? And why are their marital problems getting so much attention?

I feel terribly sad for the entire family. Jon and Kate were a young couple with twins who wanted another child and so had fertility treatments which resulted in sextuplets. They now support their 10-person family by allowing television cameras to follow them everywhere and they have become celebrities, with Kate spending a lot of time on the road promoting her book and giving talks. The younger children, who just celebrated their fifth birthday, have grown up on camera. Their show is popular because people enjoy seeing how they cope with the unimaginable challenge of feeding, bathing, transporting, and listening to eight children under the age of seven. The children are cute and Kate’s unfazed normalcy seemed to be grounded in her Christian values, though many people commented on her harsh on-camera treatment of her husband. She once memorably told him he was breathing too loud.

Before the new season of the show began, there were supermarket tabloid headlines that Jon and Kate were becoming estranged and possibly having affairs. The couple addressed these questions on the season’s first episode, but what was most important was what they did not say. They did not deny the rumors but they did not say that they were committed to staying together.

Here is a clip from happier days, but even there, you can see some stress between them. Look at the body language as Kate leans away from Jon and compare it to the light-hearted home movie footage of their engagement, wedding, and honeymoon. It is impossible not to be touched by the tenderness of their vows and not to hope that they find their way back to one another.

Jon and Kate have experienced enough stress to drive a dozen couples apart. They got married very young, they very quickly produced eight children, and then, and this may be the most stressful of all, they opened up their lives 24-7 to the viewing public. Any parent of very young children knows what it feels like to see your romantic partnership turn into an endless series of logistical demands. It can be very difficult not to feel frustrated and impatient, and parents often feel they are losing a sense of themselves as separate, functioning, and appealing adults. Jon and Kate may find it difficult to resist whatever reminds them that they merit adult approval. That could be a flirtation with another person or with the audience as a whole — Kate appears to enjoy her glamorous makeover and the attention from audiences.

Jon and Kate will have to work out what is best for them and for their family. But we, too, should give some thought to the part we have played as their audience — whether for the show or for the salacious gossip. Were we too ready to believe the best about them? Are we too ready to believe the worst? Think of poor Susan Boyle, that gentle, unassuming soul who just wanted to sing and who has been almost crushed by overwhleming adulation and scrutiny since her appearance on “Britain’s Got Talent.”

We need to understand that it is absurd to think that “reality” shows give us any real sense of what truly goes on It is a fantasy to think that Jon and Kate could handle all of these children as the show made it appear. And it is an even bigger fantasy to think that the show itself does not fundamentally change the dynamic and relationships it depicts. We need to understand that just as Heisenberg proved that sub-atomic particles behave differently when they are observed, so the very fact of our watching people changes their lives, often for the worse. Look at the Jon and Kate who are so tender in reciting their wedding vows. If they knew what they would have to give up in exchange for the money and product placement and notoriety, would this be what they would have wanted for themselves? For Aaden, Joel, Alexis, Hannah, Leah, Collin, Cara, and Madelyn?



  • CRAIG CLOSE

    It seems that John & Kate are both burned out and haven’t has much time together as husband and wife and romance because between being filmed all the time the two of them have been devoting most their time with the children and get practically no time for themselves. Jon goes to work everyday in order to support the family while Kate stays home and keeps the house in order and takes care of the 8 children all day,and Jon comes home from work and doesn’t get to sit down and rest, but is watching the children while Kate is preparing dinner for all of them and some of the children want to play and not eat what is before them and then after dinner he starts doing work in the house by remodeling &doing some construction work etc and not relaxing at all so I believe that they need some time away from the children for week or so renew their psyche and renewing their romance part of the marriage and not worry about the children for a few days. Ask the inlaws on both sides of the family to take the children for a 2 week vacation for Jon & Kate and get some free time to talk and and renew themselves as a couple and I believe the marriage can be saved but the adults or parents of so many children need some time for themselves to keep from burning out over the working both day and night otherwise known as workaholics and that causes extreme stress just like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder on both of them and the marriage seems to be failing because of this especially during these times and in this country with this depression that is going on and the lack of jobs and the debt the Governments are occurring then maybe the two of them can get back on the right track again and salvage their relationship.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thank you, Craig, for an insightful and compassionate comment. I agree entirely.
    I think the best thing they can do for their marriage and their family is to kick out the cameras. But yes, they need some quality time together as grown-ups.

  • Jon Plus Kate

    Jon & Kate Plus Octomom Equals GR8 Case for Child-focused Marriage Laws – http://tinyurl.com/n89kc4

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    No change to the divorce laws would have prevented this sad situation. I’m more inclined to think that it is a “GR8″ case for legal restrictions on irresponsible fertility treatments and laws protecting the exploitation of children for commercial purposes, but I agree that society has an obligation to support healthy, intact families of all kinds.

  • iorek

    Being followed everywhere by cameras is nothing new for Jon and Kate. There is video footage of them on their first dates, footage of them lying around the house, footage of them on their first Christmas, footage of them at their wedding (with a comically huge microphone center stage between their faces as they gaze into each other’s eyes) footage of them on a plane ride, footage of them lying down (making the important announcement,”I don’t feel well”)– all long before this show “intruded” in their lives. These narcissists have been dedicated to recording every little belch and scratch for posterity since the day they first met. This show is no fluke, it is their highest and best calling. Under what circumstances would a thoughtful human being every pay attention to all these movies they took? Jon and Kate are in heaven.
    The most astonishing thing for me is that there is so little substance to be stretched out through so much documentation. Listen to Jon talk about how he was just “hanging around” before he met Kate, with no ambition, no talent, no goals, no plans– a lame couch potato. And she was no better. The notion that there was something here worth preserving at all, let alone recording 24/7, is hilarious.

  • Londa

    Kate is very nasty to Jon, if I talked to my husband like that, he would kick me to the curb. I wouldn’t blame him either. If she has so much faith in God, she must know God would not approve of her treatment of her husband. Sometimes she sounds like a shrew, yelling, telling him what to do all the time. She needs to grow up, and realize the world does not revolve around only her. Jon has been there with her through all this, honestly, I don’t blame him for wanting to go out with friends who will not harp at him all the time. Sure, he has made some bad choices, who hasn’t? None of us are perfect. If they can’t fix their marriage, they need to split. Staying together for the kids’, is not the right thing to do. There will be too much stress and tension between them, the kids’ will feel all that. That is not a good environment to raise children in.

  • Your Name

    Words can’t evn explain the disgrace I have and feel for TLC to air this drama on tv to make a buck.. To put Jon and those kids threw this hell is horrible… I can not believe Kate being the B word that she is to allow her kids to go threw all of this for ratings.. It is disturbing to watch/to see and to hear about everyday.
    First and formost.. Her job is to PROTECT her family at all cost.. To be a mother.. that she WANTED to be for a very long time. Her JOB is not to be gone from her family and those precious little souls 21 days out of 30 days a month PROMOTING HER books and HER speaking engaments that SHE wanted..NOT Jon.. NOT those kids.. It is evadent that Maddy and Cara have emotionals issues already on the shows where they storm off and act out.. WHY would any parent want to put their kids threw this hell? TLC should be ashamed to promote this show.. To promote this marriage. To promote Jon not being home.. Kate traveling.. Who’s watching the kids? Where are the family memembers.. OH YA RIGHT.. Kate got rid of everyone in the last part of season 3.. I forgot.. POOR KATE.. the marter… POOR KATE.. for goodness sakes.. SHE brought this drama on herself.. The kids are the ones suffering.. I find the whole show disgraceful and horrible.. I am not watching anymore.. SHE needs to put husband and her childern FIRST.. NOT THE MONEY/NOT THE FAME/NOT THE FREE STUFF AND THINGS…. But her family.. Be grateful and come back to their faith.. Pray and hope that God will soften their souls and let their family heal.. It is the saddest thing to see that she is soooo about her and her needs and wants and her body and her image and her stuff.. I pray that Jon and the kids find some peace and joy and that God gives them the grace to come threw this scene from HELL… Kate should be ashamed of herself….

  • shanon

    I have been married for 7 years. With the man i married 13 years.you need to respect each other. And when you are mad at each other and fighting just go for a walk.Take everyday and spend it like it was your last day on earth.And make a family night.Stick together through thick and thin.

  • Your Name

    I have been married for 7 years. With the man i married 13 years.you need to respect each other. And when you are mad at each other and fighting just go for a walk.Take everyday and spend it like it was your last day on earth.And make a family night.Stick together through thick and thin.

  • Your Name

    I can hardly believe all of the mean things I am reading about this family. Yes, they asked for the show/fame. But all of us has made poor choices. How quickly we seem to forget that none of us (NOT ONE) is perfect. Can any of you imagine what it would be like to be a media darling one day & a tabloid cover the next? Kate can be acidic but Jon can be a bit over-laidback given their family circumstances. They both have their own issues.
    I also am constantly seeing people saying Kate is so awful & disrespectful & mean to Jon… What about Jon straying? Does that seem at all ungodly? or is that ok because she treats him less than perfectly? How sad this is for everyone involved & how sad that you should all be so self-righteous instead of getting down on your kneeds & praying for these poor people who clearly need the guidance & peace only the Lord can provide them.
    I’m praying for you Jon & Kate! I wish you only the best. I know that with God ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE! Even the repair of a damaged marriage!
    In HIS Perfect Love…

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    I’ve just learned that Jon and Kate have separated. This is very sad news. Iorek, I think you and some of the other commenters are being too harsh on them. The fact that they wanted to document their lives for themselves the way they did is not really any different from earlier generations who took photos and kept scrapbooks. There is no indication that they ever intended that footage to be seen by anyone outside their family. They are very young and they have been subject to unimaginable stress. They will be thinking about how their fantasy life on camera made their real life more difficult and I hope that those in the audience who thought they knew what “reality television” meant are a little wiser now.
    I know Jon and Kate are in the thoughts and prayers of many of us right now. I hope they are able to find their way back to each other.

  • Norma

    I think if every one espically the poperatsy ( spelled wrong ,but you know who I’m talking about) would leave this couple alone, they COULD make a go of there marriage, yes, kate can be mouthy at times, but we are not walking in her or jon’s shoes. until you are sit back watch the show if you like it and shut the HELL up.

  • MARIE

    IT MADE ME VERY SAD TO WATCH YOUR PROGRAM, THE WEEK OF THE BIRTHDAY PARTY. I AM GOING TO PRAY FOR ALL OF YOU.
    NO AMOUNT OF MONEY IS WORTH WHAT IS HAPPENING TO YOUR SWEET LITTLE ONES. THEY NEED KATE AT HOME, NOT BOOK SIGNING, THEY NEED A MOM & DAD WHO ARE TOGETHER AND ARE CARING VERY DEEPLY AND PERSONALLY FOR EACH OF THE CHILDREN.
    WHAT GOOD DID YOUR TRIP TO HAWAII DO, SAYING YOUR WEDDING VOWES IN FRONT OF THE KIDS, SO THEY WOULD KNOW YOU WERE COMMITTED TO EACH OTHER? I GUESS IT MADE A GOOD SHOW. I CAN’T IMAGINE HOW THE KIDS ARE GOING TO FEEL ABOUT THAT EXPERIENCE WHEN THEY ARE OLD ENOUGH TO REALIZE THAT WHAT YOU SAID DIDN’T MEAN A THING!
    YOU ARE GOING TO NEED TO BE TOGETHER TO BE THE KIND OF PARENTS THAT ARE NEEDED TO TAKE CARE OF 8 KIDS GOING THROUGH ALL THE PROBLEMS THAT KIDS ARE FACING IN THIS SOCIETY.
    ARE YOU GETTING HELP WITH YOUR MARITAL PROBLEMS? PLEASE DO!

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