"Jon & Kate Plus 8" may have gone off the air years ago, but that didn't stop the Gosselin parents from continuing to make headlines with their messy divorce and seemingly endless fighting. But now, it's two of the children who are speaking out.
In an exclusive interview with People magazine, 13-year-old twins Mady and Cara — the oldest of the Gosselins' eight children — open up about their parents and how they are raised.
"People expect us to be damaged," Cara said.
"People think we're supposed to be messed up, like, 'Ooooh, the poor Gosselin kids, they're going to be scarred for life, waaaah,' " added Mady. "Here's the big news: We're not messed up."
Mady's statement may come as a surprise for some — including her father — who have been following the family's now off-screen drama. In a November interview on OWN's "Where Are They Now?," Jon said being featured on their hit TLC show had a negative impact on his children. "I saw my kids not growing up normally. ... Developmentally, they have problems with their peers ... with wants and needs, and manners and morals and what's right and what's wrong," he admitted. "I think more so than someone who grows up off TV."
(The girls were 6 when "Jon & Kate Plus 8" premiered in 2007.)
Kate was quick to slam her ex's comments. "I find it very heartbreaking that my children's father chooses a public forum to discuss his current opinions of the 'development' of our children," she wrote in her blog.
The mom of eight even recently sued her former husband, accusing him of hacking her phone and computer. "It has to be done for the safety and the future of my kids," she said during a TODAY visit in September.
It's no surprise that Kate would be supportive of her children speaking out about their lives. During a radio interview a few months ago, she said she'd "be really fine with" it if her kids wanted to write a tell-all book one day. "If they want to open their lives up sometime, I wouldn't count it out. If they wanted to say it, I say go for it," she said.
Seems that day came a bit sooner than many may have expected.
Among the subjects twins Mady and Cara discuss in their People interview are growing up on TV, their parents' nasty breakup, how Kate raised them, Jon's dating life, sharing a home with their six siblings, and more.
The new issue of People goes on sale Friday.
First published January 8 2014, 9:03 AM