The wait is over – and so is the marriage.
With an hour-long special broadcast Monday night, Jon and Kate Gosselin, parents of eight young children and stars of the TLC reality show Jon & Kate Plus Eight, publicly announced that they will separate on the same day they filed for divorce in a Pennsylvania court.
“Over the course of this weekend, Jon’s activities have left me no choice but to file legal procedures in order to protect myself and our children,” Kate said in a statement Monday night. “While there are reasons why it was appropriate and necessary for me to initiate this proceeding, I do not wish to discuss those reasons at this time, in the hope that all issues will be resolved amicably between Jon and myself. As always, my first priority remains our children.”
Jon released a statement of his own, claiming his wife was the first to make a legal move. “This afternoon, Kate filed for divorce. Our kids are still my number one priority. I love them and want to make sure they stay happy, healthy and safe. My job is being the best, most supportive and loving father that I can be to my kids, and not being married to Kate doesn t change that.”
“This will be a difficult transition for all of us,” Jon’s statement continued, “but Kate and I will work out a schedule that enables our kids to have plenty of quality time with both of us at home in Pennsylvania. In terms of my marriage, it s no secret that the past six months or so have been very difficult for Kate and me. We are no different than other couples and parents who are facing a crossroads in their marriage. I am of course deeply saddened that we are divorcing.”
And, this may finally be one part of their life that remains private: The divorce papers – filed individually in Montgomery County, Pa., Monday – are sealed, PEOPLE has learned.
The reality TV couple is not getting special consideration since it varies from county to county in Pennsylvania whether divorce records are public, and Montgomery County is one that keeps them sealed to everyone except the parties themselves and their attorneys, a clerk tells PEOPLE. The only thing available for public consumption is the name of each party, the type of complaint they filed (divorce, in this case) and the date they filed.
For fans who followed the couple’s travails on screen and off, it was a busy day. PEOPLE.com first reported Monday that the couple’s marriage had officially entered the endgame, after papers were filed that afternoon to initiate a divorce. Then, on that evening’s broadcast, the couple announced they would separate.
“Yes, Kate and I have decided to separate,” Jon said at the end of an episode that initially focused on building toy houses for the their kids. “I’m not very fond of the idea, personally, but I know it’s necessary,” Kate added. “My goal is peace for the kids.”
The couple said they would keep the Pennsylvania house they share with their kids – twins Cara and Mady and sextuplets Colin, Hannah, Leah, Joel, Aaden and Alexis – and take turns living there, and take any other measures necessary to minimize the disruption in their children’s lives.
• Check out our photo album of the Gosselins’ decade together
• PEOPLE Covers: Celebrity Divorces’
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