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Kate Gosselin | Jon Gosselin | Source: Getty Images
Kate Gosselin | Jon Gosselin | Source: Getty Images

Kate Gosselin 'Caged' Son in an Institution: What Happened to Collin, One of Her 8 Kids

Junie Sihlangu
Nov 19, 2023
11:00 A.M.

After Jon Gosselin and his wife, Kate Gosselin, divorced, she put their son, Collin Gosselin, in a children's institution. Jon didn't know where the boy was until he received a note asking for help.

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In a past TLC interview, Jon and Kate Gosselin shared how they first met and fell in love. Kate revealed that their meeting occurred in October 1997 on a sunny day, with Jon working at a hotel and living with his mother.

Jon's then-future wife had just graduated from nursing school. During one of his company's training or picnic events, Kate attended that weekend with a friend who worked at the same place.

Kate and Jon Gosselin at the Discovery Upfront Presentation - Talent Images event on April 23, 2008 in New York City | Source: Getty Images

Kate and Jon Gosselin at the Discovery Upfront Presentation - Talent Images event on April 23, 2008 in New York City | Source: Getty Images

Kate noticed Jon walking through the grass that day, but she wasn't looking for a relationship at that point as she was "self-sufficient." Despite that, her future husband caught her attention even though she couldn't see his eyes because he had sunglasses on.

Kate vowed that she wouldn't leave the event without meeting Jon, who had just gotten back from backpacking in Europe, didn't have much of a career, and was not thinking about children or marriage!

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When Jon met Kate that day, he had a girlfriend and honestly informed her about it, but that didn't come between their connection. By November 1998, the couple was already engaged to be married!

They tied the knot on June 12, 1999, and in 2008, the couple renewed their vows in Maui, Hawaii. The song they played for their first dance was "What a Wonderful World," and the ceremony included their eight children.

How Jon and Kate Became Television Royalty

Jon and Kate were parents of young twins Mady and Cara Gosselin in 2004 and were hoping to have a third child. However, Kate was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome and had to undergo fertility treatments.

Kate and Jon Gosselin talk about their twin daughters and sextuplets on "Today" on October 2, 2007. | Source: Getty Images

Kate and Jon Gosselin talk about their twin daughters and sextuplets on "Today" on October 2, 2007. | Source: Getty Images

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This resulted in her pregnancy, but instead of expecting one baby, she was pregnant with six! The news coverage led the couple being featured on "Home Delivery," followed by two "Surviving Sextuplets" specials on the Discovery Health Channel. They then signed up with TLC for a series that would revolve around their family, and this launched them to fame.

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Eight years into their marriage, the first episode of "Jon & Kate Plus 8" premiered on April 10, 2007. In August 2008, Kate confessed to The Washington Post that she and her husband weren't always proud of what their viewers got to see on the show as they became impatient and snarky with each other.

Raising Their Eight Children and the Divorce

The Gosselin children were brought up in full view of reality television cameras. It led to the oldest children, Mady and Cara, often feeling misunderstood and having to clarify things during interviews, as some people thought they were brats because of their television show incomes.

The Gosselin sextuplets on "Celebrity Wife Swap" on October 14, 2012 | Source: Getty Images

The Gosselin sextuplets on "Celebrity Wife Swap" on October 14, 2012 | Source: Getty Images

Meanwhile, Kate and Jon's marriage crumbled. The couple announced their separation in the middle of filming season 5, and divorce followed in December 2009. The former couple has since struggled to co-parent peacefully.

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How the Gosselins' Marriage Failed

Jon and Kate managed to stay married for a decade, even holding a wedding vow renewal on their ninth anniversary a year before Kate filed for divorce. The filing happened in June 2009, with the pair announcing their separation on the same day they filed for divorce.

In a statement, Kate blamed Jon for the divorce, stating how his "activities" gave her no choice but to file in court to protect herself and the children. However, she refused to share the actual reasons behind the filing.

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Jon also released a statement sharing how he and Kate would work together to figure out how to co-parent. He admitted that he was sad that they were divorcing but vowed to put the children first.

Jon Gosselin with the media as he leaves Montgomery County Courthouse after a hearing about his divorce from Kate Gosselin on October 26, 2009, in Norristown, Pennsylvania. | Source: Getty Images

Jon Gosselin with the media as he leaves Montgomery County Courthouse after a hearing about his divorce from Kate Gosselin on October 26, 2009, in Norristown, Pennsylvania. | Source: Getty Images

Kate's filing occurred two months after rumors started about her husband cheating. On April 19, 2009, Jon was photographed leaving a local bar at 2 a.m. with Deanna Hummel while his wife was out of town promoting her book.

Hummel's brother later claimed his sister had been having an affair with the television star for months. She was even pictured sunbathing with other guests at Jon and Kate's Wernersville, Pennsylvania home.

Kate and Jon Gosselin at the Discovery Upfront at Jazz on April 2, 2009, in New York City | Source: Getty Images

Kate and Jon Gosselin at the Discovery Upfront at Jazz on April 2, 2009, in New York City | Source: Getty Images

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Hummel and Jon both denied the allegations, with him admitting that the nights out, while Kate was away, were "poor decisions and bad judgments." He also apologized for putting his family in such an "awkward position."

In a May 2009 People cover story, Kate confessed that she and her husband struggled in their marriage for months. She said she battled with who Jon became in their marriage.

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The reality star also blamed the success of their show for the issues in their union. She noted how making more money than her husband seemed to bother him, and he resented her for loving the media attention while he didn't.

The Aftermath of the Divorce - Collin Sent Away

In December 2018, after years of a custody battle, Jon was awarded temporary sole custody of his son Collin. One of his other children, Hannah, also lived with him while the others stayed with their mother.

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The four other children weren't talking to their father but stayed in contact with Hannah. Collin was taken in by his father after living in a program for children with special needs, although Jon said the boy was only diagnosed with common ADHD and nothing else.

Kate claimed she enrolled Collin in the program to help him reach his full potential. However, in September 2019, Jon told Daily Mail that his ex-wife had sent the then-11-year-old Collin away without telling him and visited the child three times, less than two hours in total, over three years after having him "caged."

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He said he'd gotten around 50 to 60 letters from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) about Collin and the other children. The department allegedly suspected child abuse in Kate's household which is why Collin left. "That's kind of the reason why she sent me away," Collin reiterated.

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For her part, in 2016, Kate said she enrolled her son in the program because he had "special needs." She claimed he needed unique strategies to help him deal with things, and his character had affected the whole family.

Jon also alleged that his ex-wife refused to tell him where Collin was institutionalized, saying, “I mean, I ask, but she doesn't tell me. She doesn’t answer any of my texts.” He only found out about the boy's location because of Collin.

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The little boy managed to smuggle out a note pleading for help. The note was written in crayon, and his older roommate at Philadelphia's Fairmount Behavioral Health Institute got it to Jon. It read:

"Please come fast. I love you. Help me."

Hannah stayed with her father after refusing to get out of Kate's car and go home with her. Jon took in the little girl, who later explained she was overwhelmed by the drama between her parents.

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Jon broke his silence about how he was painted as the bad person in the divorce. He explained that Kate was the one to file for divorce, so they stopped filming the show.

But within their nine-month hiatus, the public did not know about the end of their marriage, so when fans saw Jon dating other women, he was believed to be cheating when, in reality, his marriage had already ended.

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In July 2023, Kate released a statement about Collin's mental state and why he was admitted into a mental institution. She explained that Collin had received multiple psychiatric diagnoses over the years. The mother said her son was placed in a mental facility for the safety of his siblings and his own well-being.

The reality TV star continued to explain that Collin would sometimes be violent, and some of his attacks would involve weapons. She revealed that her ex-husband had removed Collin from his medication, which has led to more of his outbursts. Despite these challenges, Kate emphasized that she loved her son.

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Winning Custody of Collin

At one point, Jon and Kate had joint custody over their children, but a judge ruled that the children should decide where they wanted to live. This led Jon to have custody of Collin and Hannah.

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According to his father, being sent away at such a young age would have long-term effects on Collin. "I think that will always affect him, but that's something he's going to have to deal with," Jon expressed. On the other hand, he claimed Hannah didn't miss her mother.

Hannah defended Jon saying he loved them and had "never been abusive."

In a November 2021 interview, he also revealed to The Sun that his daughter was being "snubbed by her brothers." However, she still seemed to be in contact with some of her sisters and missed Leah and Alexis.

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The former reality star said he hoped Hannah would help repair the family rift as she continued to reach out to her siblings. He also hoped turning 18 would allow the other children to realize they had voices and could speak their own minds.

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In June 2023, Jon revealed that while he was meant to celebrate eight graduations, he only got to attend one. He revealed that he only kept in contact with Hannah and Collin. "So I've been pretty much estranged from Mady and Cara for nine years,” he reiterated.

Abuse Claims against Jon

While Jon appears to be the parent closest to Collin, an abuse allegation reported by People in September 2020 raised questions concerning their relationship. Collin, who was 16 then, had accused his father of physically attacking him.

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Although Jon wasn't named in the Berks County Children & Youth Services report, Collin addressed the alleged incident in a since-deleted Instagram post. He called his father a liar and claimed John had physically abused him.

However, Hannah defended Jon, saying he loved them and had "never been abusive." Daily Mail learned that Collin's claims were regarded as unfounded after some investigation, and the whole thing was dropped within a day.

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