Jon and Kate Gosselin arrived separately for their sextuplets' fifth birthday party. During the party, the spouses barely spoke to each other.
Clearly, the Gosselin marriage was under a strain as the fifth season started for the TLC series, "Jon & Kate Plus 8" with a two-hour show.
No wonder. The daily challenges of a super-size family with eight kids in the house have recently been overshadowed by recurring reports that Jon and Kate have cheated on each other and that their marriage is dysfunctional. Both deny the cheating allegations.
But on Monday's premiere (along with scenes from the party), Kate and Jon addressed the media firestorm that has engulfed them from beyond the carefully-tended boundaries of their own reality show.
"Did I ever think I'd see myself on the front of the tabloids?" said Kate indignantly. "Or see those words that are there? No. It kills me!"
And Jon, who insisted he was "being innocent and hanging out" despite reports of an affair with a 23-year-old schoolteacher, said, "I never read a tabloid magazine until I was in one. And the first one I bought was the last one I bought."
"I never cheated on Kate, and that's the way it is," he said bluntly. " ... I take full blame. I just didn't think it would escalate into what it's become."
"They had very little interaction between them" on the show Monday night, Dr. Lillian Glass, a psychologist and body language expert, told Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen Tuesday. "It was very sad to see. So sad. When you looked at Jon, he was very depressed looking, and he was leaning toward -- away from where the camera was. He was just so sad. And Kate was a bit defensive. When he was around her, she didn't acknowledge him. It was just so sad to see this couple."
Glass says Jon strikes her as a "broken man." "He's so sad," she observes.
Yet, she adds, she hopes Jon and Kate go for therapy, because Glass believes their marraige can be saved.
The Gosselins, Glass says, "were a loving couple initially. They had a lot of fun. They laughed a lot. But then, with the pressure, a lot happened. And as a result, it was just so sad to see it last night, because you really see a different Jon and Kate than you've ever seen before."
"(Kate) needs the money and this is a great income," Glass notes. "So she's between a rock and a hard place. But it would be ideal if they could live a normal life. (Kate) even talked about that on the show, that she'd really like to see some normalcy away from the paparazzi. And I just hope they get some counseling, because it could work out."
As Jon and Kate reflected during the show on the scandals that have made their lives so difficult and put their marriage in peril, the Gosselins were filmed individually, each seated alone on a sofa -- in itself, a revealing touch.
"Very swiftly, we turned into two different people," Kate said at one point, as she described how she has grown apart from her husband of 10 years, "and it's just hard."
While Kate has spent a lot of time on the road, making personal appearances for the show, Jon has mostly stayed home.
"So he's angry with me that he's home and I'm not," Kate said. "Yet he doesn't really feel great about me, so he wants me to travel.
"It is so involved I almost can't put it into words," she added wearily.
Kate expressed her own share of anger.
"I think the thing that makes me the maddest is: Jon made some mistakes and he was out and whatever, and that made people question him," she said. "I'm doing what I'm SUPPOSED to be doing. I'm working and traveling" - which led to reports that she was having an affair with her bodyguard.
Declaring that she was only doing her job by traveling, she said, "I'll be darned if they're going to take me down with that. I mean, just the allegations make me furious. And I need to change the subject because I makes me very mad."
"I have a lot of anger," she summed up, "because this is not where we were supposed to be, this is not what I envisioned for us."
"You see the anger," Glass says, "when she's yelling. When she's lashing out at the kids. She used to do it a lot with Jon. And that's what maybe caused this rift between them."
Crying, Kate pointed out that, "Parents of multiples have like triple the divorce rate. And (I thought) we were gonna beat that, but I don't know if I can say that anymore."
"We always love our kids," Jon said, "and we will come together for our kids, regardless of our relationship."
Premiering two years ago, "Jon & Kate" is TLC's most-watched show, and has made the Gosselins famous. The arrival of its new season was highly anticipated and highly promoted.
"Jon and Kate face each other for the first time," an announcer teased on an ad that aired repeatedly beforehand.
And so they did, sort of, as they sat side-by-side on the sofa in the episode's final seconds.
An off-camera voice asked, "Do you guys know what the future holds?"
Both of them looked puzzled. Neither replied. Then the episode was over. The season had started with lots of suspense.
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