Hours after the mother of eight’s cover story was revealed on Wednesday, which details the couple’s past marriage and gives updates on the children, Jon, 39, told Entertainment Tonight: “I’m very upset.”
The PEOPLE interview also reveals that Collin – one of the parents’ sextuplets – is enrolled in a program away from home to help him with his needs, and includes an exclusive interview with 15-year-old twins Cara and Mady, the latter of whom says of their father, “He doesn’t even know us.”
“I love my children very much. I’ve always been there for them and I always will be. It’s shocking,” Jon, who never responded to multiple requests for comment from PEOPLE, told ET. In early August, he revealed that he isn’t on speaking terms with either of his daughters.
“He makes it seem like we’re being kept from him, which is insane,” Mady told PEOPLE. “He should maybe spend some time thinking about why we don’t want to see him, and maybe realize that if he ever does want a relationship with us, talking about us on TV is not the way to make that happen.”
• For more updates on the Gosselins – and how the kids are handling Collin’s absence – pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
Although Kate, 41, admits that the teens “do struggle … it’s not going to be an easy road – anyone who grows up with a parent who is often absent is going to have issues to deal with,” she applauds her eldest daughters’ maturity.
She adds of Mady: “She doesn’t want to join his game. At that age, to be able to locate the high road and stay on it, that just blows me away.”
In the decade since TLC aired Kate Plus 8, Kate – who lives with her children in Wernersville, Pennsylvania – has reflected on her past.
“When you’re younger, you may have more energy, but when you’re older, you’re wiser,” Kate says. “We’ve been through so much, from the divorce to issues with Collin, and now I see that the other things I thought were important are just not.”