NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- It's hard to believe that the newest tabloid sensation is a pretty typical Pennsylvania couple who just happen to have eight kids. But Jon and Kate are now two names that grace the weekly magazine covers usually reserved for Brad and Angelina. Jon and Kate are not movie stars or United Nation ambassadors, but they do have their own brood. The Gosselins, a family that consists of 8-year-old twins and 4-year-old sextuplets, have been stars over at Discovery Networks since May 2006, when a special ran titled "Surviving Sexuplets and Twins." Since then, they've become a heartwarmingly reliable part of Discovery's stable of shows about large families.
In 2007, Discovery (which owns TLC, where the show airs) shot some interviews with Jon and Kate, asking them about how their relationship has changed since they were first married. Both talk about the deep bond they have thanks to sharing the caring of eight kids. Kate even talks about how Jon knows she's not going anywhere, and she knows he's not going anywhere, and that she likes knowing they will be there for each other.
But there are hints in those early videos of where their marriage would go off the rails. Jon talks about how very young they were when they got married (he was 22, she was 24). Kate talks about how Jon needed to sow some wild oats during her first pregnancy, and how he was probably not completely ready. She says he probably did not want to have kids as soon as they did, and he says he thought they would travel more, that he'd get a career going, before they became parents. But facing fertility problems, they made the decision to go ahead sooner rather than later. Jon notes, "Maybe we should have waited."
Now, as everyone knows if they've read any of the tabloid reports, Jon has been accused of cheating on Kate with a 23-year-old, and she has been painted as a money-grubbing, controlling wife who puts her own grooming ahead of her family. The gossip helped fuel ratings for this season's premiere, with nearly 10 million people tuning in to watch the sextuplets playing at their fifth-birthday party while their parents avoided talking to each other. It's all rather uncomfortable to watch now. Jon & Kate may not have planned on being celebrities, but they need to take a cue from Angelina and Brad and dole out their kids' public exposure in smaller doses -- and start planning an end date.