Calling herself “Clean Slate Kate,” the ex-Mrs. Gosselin returned to TLC’s airwaves Sunday for ‘Kate Plus Eight,’ minus Jon, plus hair extensions and humility, something she says she gained competing on ‘Dancing with the Stars.’
The first hour of the two-hour special featured a trip for the “little kids” sixth birthday. They celebrated the actual day in April with Jon, off camera. “Overall it was a good experience for them, but it was really hard for me. I didn’t like it,” Kate said of spending their birthday separately for the first time.
The episode began with the eight seeing the TLC production crew for the first time since the Gosselin marriage essentially fell apart on air last season.
The kids shrieked to see them again, and Colin proclaimed: “It’s good that the paparazzi went away!”
Then it was off to Discovery Cove in Orlando where they fed birds, swam with dolphins and Kate got a good dose of single parenthood. Although her friend Jamie came along to help, one day at lunch time Kate apologized for the ordering chaos. “I don’t typically do this by myself, it’s a little too overwhelming,” she said.
Go Inside Kate’s World:
Later on the couch she explained: “I had a moment where I was like ‘uuhh,’ and it was the realization that here I am, getting lunch for everyone (alone).”
The second hour, ‘Inside Kate’s World,’ featured ‘Dancing’ footage as well as commentary from an editor at People magazine, an ‘Inside Edition’ reporter and ‘Today’ show co-host Meredith Vieira, all of whom discussed what a polarizing figure Kate is and how her celebrity is unparalleled in the reality TV world.
Cameras followed her to New York City for the 18-hour process of getting hair extensions (“That just caused the ridiculous amount of hoopla that was, in my opinion, just stupid,” she said of the reaction to her ‘do change) and for dance rehearsal with her partner Tony Dovolani.
She admitted that dancing, which she called “a job,” was a lot harder than she thought it was going to be. “If I put my mind to something and work really hard on it, I can pretty much nail and do a good job at things,” she said. ”This didn’t work.”
We also heard from Steve Neild, her head security guy, who said she gets threats and the level of paparazzi attention in the last 18 months has, at times, been “dangerous.”
Kate admitted having no love for the lensers. “I don’t always face the paparazzi happily. Let’s face it: They’re invasive, they’re intrusive, they’re rude, generally speaking.”
But Steve said Kate has “mellowed” in dealing with fans and photogs, and Kate said she smiles through pictures by trying to focus on the people who read the articles and do support her.
Those people weren’t in evidence at a book signing in Los Angeles that she said was hastily organized and which resulted in low attendance. In a scene behind a closed door, Steve could be heard instructing Kate to make the best of a bad situation, essentially telling her to suck it up and deal with it.
“I don’t mean to be rude, but I think I just sometimes am. I’m hasty, which sometimes comes across rude, I’m tactless sometimes,” she said, adding that she appreciates Steve’s honesty.
Cameras also captured one particularly bad day in New York City when the demands of her TLC show and ‘Dancing’ rehearsal conflicted and kept her away from the kids. She had also just learned that Jon was suing for custody – which she learned by reading it online, “just like everybody else.”
Throughout the two hours, she spoke often of just trying to be a good mother to her kids, and her hopes to make 2010 better than last year.
“I’d like to think that all of the mess of last year hasn’t changed me, but for the better,” she said.
“Maybe I’m a little jaded, but who wouldn’t be?”