In an exclusive interview with EW, Jon and Kate Gosselin — the stars of TLC’s top-rated Jon and Kate Plus Eight — addressed the recent tabloid coverage that alleged the 32-year-old father was unfaithful to his wife. In the early morning hours of April 18, a paparazzo photographed Jon leaving a Pennsylvania bar with a woman who has since identified herself as Deanna Hummel, 23 (Kate was out of town promoting her latest book, Eight Little Faces). Since then, Hummel and friends of Jon have come to his defense, including a bouncer at the bar who said “there was no romantic anything” between Jon and the woman.
EW: What did you think of the story and photo?
Jon: It’s really upsetting. I may be guilty of choosing the wrong time and place to hang out with my friends, but I am not guilty of cheating on my wife. It hurts me to see what it’s done to my family, and it’s scary to know that these tabloids are in town constantly following us and even paying locals large amounts of money to contribute to these negative stories. It’s even gotten so bad that [one tabloid] has reached out to a youth pastor from our church, which in my eyes is completely unacceptable.
Kate: It’s disturbing and unfortunate that these tabloids have gone as far as they have to try and bring us down. Jon’s poor judgment and irresponsible behavior has also without a doubt caused some added tension and stress between the two of us.
EW: Does the tabloid story make you want to spend even less time in public? Do you feel like you have to decline future requests for fan photos for fear they may end up in the wrong hands?
Jon: Our fans and the majority of viewers have been overwhelmingly supportive, but when tabloids take photos and turn them into something they are not, yes it definitely makes us hesitant to take photos with fans and go about our daily lives. We still want to live normal lives. We want our kids to have opportunities that we didn’t have growing up, which is why we participated in the show in the first place. But of course it makes us think twice about how we spend our time in public.
EW: Will you address how the tabloid coverage has affected your life in the upcoming season on Jon and Kate, which begins May 25?
Kate: I think we will address the bigger picture, regarding the very public focus on our family and the stress it’s caused in our relationship, but not necessarily any specific tabloid.
EW: That said, the latest tabloid coverage should only boost ratings for the fifth season of your show. Is this comforting, or troubling?
Kate: We are not concerned about the ratings right now. Our main focus is on our family and working through this.