Pop-Ed: Why Kate Gosselin Might As Well Cash In on the Fame
By Joel Keller Posted Apr 13th 2010 02:46PM
Kate Gosselin is one tough person to defend.
After all, how do you stand up for a woman who -- along with her Ed Hardy-wearing ex Jon -- more or less displayed their eight kids in an electronic zoo for five years in an effort to become rich and famous? And the couple's awful, showboating behavior since their divorce has only made things worse. It also doesn't help that, on 'Dancing With The Stars,' Kate is continuing all those tendencies that made many fans of 'Jon and Kate Plus 8' loathe her with a passion.
But when word came out that Jon Gosselin wanted to change the custody arrangement for his kids because all of Kate's projects, including 'DWTS,' have made her an "absentee mom," one thought came to mind: "What else does he want her to do?"
Yes, Kate's probably not the most present mother at this point in her kids' lives. Besides 'DWTS,' she's about to embark on a book tour and is also about to start her new TLC show, 'Twist of Kate,' which will take her across the country, interviewing moms inspired by her struggles. But, at this point, Kate might as well take advantage of any opportunity that comes her way.
If this seems like a contradiction from what I wrote earlier, it's not. Follow the logic and see if you don't agree:
Yes, it was wrong for Jon and Kate to exploit their kids to begin with. But that ship has sailed. After the smoke from all the controversy and tabloid stories clears, Kate knows she's facing the huge task of having to care for eight children.
USDA statistics have shown that, even for low-income families, the cost to raise a child through age 17 can cost upwards of $200,000; for higher-income families like the Gosselins, that number is closer to $300,000. Multiply that by eight, and the Gosselins are looking at needing to find $2.4 million dollars just to get their kids to college age. That's not even including college, the extra security, nannies, and the intense psychological therapy that these kids are going to need for years to come.
So both Kate and Jon are going to have to find that money somewhere. Before this circus started, Jon was an IT guy, who, if he was good, could have maxed out at $95,000 per year, but probably would have been stuck at around $69K, according to the average salary calculated by Indeed.com. Kate was a nurse -- she decided to renew her nursing license soon after the divorce and the cancellation of 'Jon and Kate Plus 8' -- but nurses in Pennsylvania average about $65,000 per year.
The couple, if they were normal, everyday folk, would have had to both work their tails off, and probably go deep into credit card debt to keep the family afloat. Given the potential for nurses to work crazy shifts, Kate might have been away from the kids almost as much as she is now.
If you were in Kate's situation and you had these opportunities open to you -- ones that would pay you hundreds of thousands of dollars -- you'd take all of those offers too. Is she still trying to stay in the spotlight? Sure. But she's also pretty worried about how she's going to be able to afford bringing up her kids after the fame fades, which it inevitably will.
How is what Kate is doing different, for instance, than a baseball player who's on the road for months at a time? He's an "absentee father," but no one is calling him neglectful (and believe me, not all of those players have had peaceful marriages... just ask A-Rod). Does anyone accuse Julia Roberts of being neglectful when she leaves her kids for months at a time to film and promote a movie?
At least she's trying; all we've seen Jon doing is suing TLC and smoking. Heck, he's even willing to ride his ex-wife's coattails and join her new TLC show.
So everyone who says that Kate is neglecting her kids, you might be right. I'm sure even Kate would want to be home more than she is now. But step back from the situation for a second and realize that at this point, she may not have any choice. Once you open the door of fame, it's hard to close it again.
Jon & Kate Snapshots
Kate Gosselin appears on stage during Discovery Channel's 2010-11 upfront presentation, Thursday, April 8, 2010 in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
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