Kate Gosselin Recalls Her Traumatic Divorce from Husband Jon: 'He Changed Overnight'

The mother of eight tells PEOPLE that her ex-husband became a "different person" shortly before their marriage ended

Photo: Larsen & Talbert; Ben King/Startraks

Kate Gosselin and her kids open up about how finding reality TV fame more than 10 years ago changed their lives forever. Subscribe now for an inside look at how they’ve overcome setbacks and remain hopeful for the future, only in PEOPLE!

In 2009, Kate and Jon Gosselin‘s very public marriage crumbled, the pair victims of public scrutiny and tabloid rumors that grew alongside the success of their TLC reality TV series, Jon & Kate Plus 8.

The relationship’s dissolution was still a shock to Kate, who tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue that her ex-husband transformed suddenly.

“I really would have thought he’d have been here for the long haul,” Kate says. “The weirdest thing is that overnight he became a different person.”

Kate, 41, says Jon began buying motorcycles and cars, and staying out late – despite having eight young kids – including sextuplets – at home.

“People closest to me thought I was crazy and making it up,” Kate says now. “When they saw it for themselves, they were like, ‘Whoa.’ They saw the proof – and then I saw all the letters from women saying, ‘I’ve been there, too.’ ”

The pair divorced in 2009, and the show was later revamped to just Kate Plus 8. It will celebrate its 10-year anniversary with a special next year.

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

Gosselin says she wouldn’t have been surprised if someone told her 10 years ago that she’d wind up as a single mom.

“I wouldn’t have said you’re crazy,” Kate tells PEOPLE. “I knew the divorce rate for parents of multiples, especially higher-order multiples, is so high. I’d done the math.”

Now, the twins, Mady and Cara, are nearly 16, and the sextuplets, 12. Jon, who works as a deejay in the same part of rural Pennsylvania where Kate and the kids live, has not seen some of his children in several years.

And while Kate worries how the divorce has affected her kids, she says she lives “without regrets.”

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