Kate Gosselin is both revered and villainized for her famous role as the headstrong mother of eight. From 2007 to 2019, she gave us a glimpse into her parenting journey on a string of reality series—the most notable being TLC’s Jon & Kate Plus 8.
But following a divorce from her husband Jon in 2009, Gosselin has attracted just as much attention via tabloid headlines as she has through television ratings. Many skeptics have questioned whether she exploits her children for fame. Accusations from her ex beg the question of what Kate Gosselin’s net worth would be without a reality TV career. Take a look at how her life has changed ever since she became a household name, and how her storied life has affected her financial status.
Kate Gosselin’s Reality TV Career
Kate Gosselin’s first encounter with reality TV was in 2004 on the NBC program Home Delivery. Upon returning home with her 10-week-old sextuplets, she and her then-husband Jon had discovered that their Pennsylvania home had been completely remodeled to accommodate their growing family.
The family then filmed two specials for Discovery Health Channel—Surviving Sextuplets and Twins and One Year Later—before they finally scored Jon & Kate Plus 8. The series debuted in 2007 and moved to TLC after two seasons, where it was one of the network’s highest-rated programs.
The couple divorced in 2009, but TLC wasn’t ready to give up on their biggest stars. The show was rebranded Kate Pus 8 and ran for six more seasons until 2017.
According to the International Business Times, Gosselin’s salary steadily increased over the years. She reportedly earned $22,500 per episode of Jon & Kate Plus 8, but by 2014, her paycheck jumped to $40,000 per episode.
All the while, Gosselin used her notoriety to pursue additional reality TV opportunities. She was once up for consideration to co-host a talk show with Paula Deen, and there were also rumors that she was a potential candidate for The Bachelorette.
Neither panned out, but Gosselin did score a spot on Season 10 of Dancing with the Stars. According to Variety, contestants are paid $125,000 for the show’s rehearsal period and can earn up to a maximum of $295,000, depending on how deep their run is. Gosselin had a modest showing, making it through the fifth week until she was eliminated.
She also served as a guest co-host on The View and participated in a 2013 episode of Celebrity Wife Swap.
In 2019, TLC gave Gosselin a third shot with Kate Plus Date. The series, which lasted one season, followed Gosselin as she worked with relationship experts and threw herself back into the dating scene.
Her Financial Struggles
It’s no secret that Gosselin has financially struggled since becoming single again. Immediately following the divorce, it was reported that she won primary custody of the children, as well as their large home. But her lawyer, Mark Momjian, told Us Magazine that Jon had removed $180,000 from the couple’s joint bank account and had only returned $28,500 of it. Kate claimed in a Pennsylvania court that she had only $1345 left to pay bills.
By 2013, not much had changed. Gosselin told People that she was “living very carefully” and “piecing and patching together” income from various sources.
“To not have a reliable income is scary,” she told the outlet. Gosselin, who worked as a labor and delivery nurse prior to TV fame, added that she wasn’t interested in going back to her first profession because her entire salary would go to child care alone.
Her ex-husband, who was working in IT at the time, took a different approach.
“For the foreseeable future, I just go to work,” Jon told People (via Yahoo!). “If a TV gig happens for me, great. If it happens for Kate, yay. In a recession, you can’t be choosy.”
That same year, she appeared as a guest on an episode of Bethenny. The talk show host was unafraid to cut to the chase and ask: Where did all the money go?
Gosselin first admitted that she spent some of her income on personal things like a tummy tuck. But she also said that reports of her wealth were exaggerated and that she prioritized her spending.
“The majority of what we made, I personally took and put in a college fund for them, because they will go to college,” she said. “I use coupons, we don’t wear the top brands…those things to me aren’t overly important, but college, school, and the house where they live is important.”
You can watch the entire interview below:
Gosselin has since ceded custody of two children—Collin and Hannah—to Jon, but making ends meets is remained a challenge. In October 2020, she put her home on the market for $1.299 million—not much of an increase from the $1.1 million that was spent to purchase it in 2008. The Gosselins’ home sold in January 2021 for just under $1.1 million, meaning she took a loss on the transaction.
One year prior, she was sued by her former employee, Andrea Novak, for over $55,000. Novak claimed that Gosselin, “willfully failed or refused to pay employee contributions, employer contributions, reimbursement, interest and/or penalties as required under the US Law.” Lucky for her, the complaint was eventually dismissed.
In September 2021, The Sun reported that Gosselin—who said she would never go back to nursing—had in fact filed for a license to practice in her new home state of North Carolina. (She also holds a Pennsylvania nursing license that remained active until October 2021.)
Kate Gosselin’s Net Worth
According to multiple websites, including Celebrity Net Worth, Kate Gosselin’s alleged net worth currently stands at $500,000.
It’s an unfortunate state of affairs, given Gosselin’s many lucrative opportunities outside of television. During the height of her fame, she was known to command up to $30,000 per event in public speaking fees. She also wrote three books: Multiple Blessings (2008), Eight Little Faces (2009), and I Just Want You to Know (2010). Each one nabbed a spot on The New York Times Best Sellers list.
She even had a stint as a blogger for CouponCabin.com, which would have suggested that she’s great at pinching pennies.
But we can’t account for the money that Gosselin says she squirreled away for the kids’ college tuition. According to daughter Cara’s LinkedIn page, she currently attends Fordham University on both a scholarship and tuition award.
One thing we do know is that Kate Gosselin is likely to return to everyday life.