It may be hard to believe, but in 2016 the Gosselin kids celebrated their 10 year anniversary as reality TV stars. And as of May 10, 2017, they’re all teenagers. The sextuplets; Leah, Alexis, Hannah, Aaden, Colin, and Joel all turned thirteen, while Mady and Cara, the older twins, are now sixteen. They all still live near Reading, PA, with their mom, Kate Gosselin, who famously divorced their dad, Jon Gosselin, in an ugly public split that played out in the tabloids. But thanks to TLC, fans got to continue following Kate and the kids through the series, Kate Plus 8. Here’s a a peek a what they’ve all been up to as well as what they look like now.
When she was a toddler, Leah was always a little princess. Jon and Kate even said that she was aware of her precious status, and would use it to her advantage, often declaring, “But I’m little!” when she wanted to get out of doing something. Growing up, Leah was very close with Hannah, and she still is to this day, although in fairness, all of the sextuplets (also known as “the little kids”) seem to get along great.
In the season 5 opener of Kate Plus 8, titled “10 Year Anniversary,” Kate gives updates on each of her children and how their personalities have grown over the years. Described as a “math whiz” in a 2013 People profile, Leah seems to still lean towards the analytical. Kate says Leah is “very solution-finding, problem-solving, and effective,” adding, “she’s small but mighty. Watch out.”
In August of 2016, Kate revealed that Colin was living apart from the family as part of treatment for behavioral issues. She told People “Colin has special needs. [There’s] a fairly fluid diagnosis of what those needs are, but he needs to learn certain strategies to help him deal with things.” Colin even had to miss the little kids’ 12th birthday party in 2016, which was tough for the whole family. “We miss him so much, so it’s been hard because there is a huge hole in our family without him here. But it comforts us to know he’s where he needs to be right now, and I can feel good about that,” Kate also told People.
But Colin was still around for the “10 Year Anniversary” episode, during which Kate revealed that when he was born, he was the biggest of the sextuplets. He was a very laid-back baby, which Kate now says would “definitely not fit him at all.” She says that she’s still trying to figure out “what qualities are sticking,” when it comes to his personality, but she knows that “he likes to be in charge and in control.”
According to in Touch Weekly, Alexis is known as the “family comedienne” because of her “silly sense of humor.” As a toddler, she even sharpened that sense of humor into a habit of mimicking people just to annoy them, like in this clip where she does it to her arch enemy/cousin Elissa.
Now a teenager, Alexis is pretty easygoing. In a recent episode in which the little kids are packing for a trip, it is revealed by older sister Mady that “Alexis wears three outfits in her whole life.” Apparently, she isn’t too concerned with fashion, a quality her sisters attempt to help her remedy. But Alexis maintains her exuberance no matter what. Kate says “she finds joy in the smallest things. It’s like life is a gift that she unwraps every day.”
The male counterpart to Alexis’ easygoing ways has to be Joel. Now a dutiful helper, who rouses his mom in the early a.m., and helps pack the rest of the kids’ lunches, Joel is described by Kate as “able to go with the flow.” She also says, “Joel is… I don’t want to say you forget about him, but he definitely is able to just meld in and fly under the radar.”
One thing Joel and Alexis don’t have in common? That fashion sense. According to People, Jon — who has made his own notable wardrobe choices — once described Joel as “a ladies man.” Joel was more humble, suggesting his sense of style was a personal matter. “I like to look good,” he said.
Hannah has always been known as the most mature out of the little kids. Even as a toddler, Hannah preferred to hang around Kate while she did housework, and help her with “adulting” like folding the laundry. Kate even said, “Child’s play is just below her level.”
As a teenager, Hannah has kept on that path. In keeping with her goal of wanting to someday open a bakery, she now helps Kate prepare dinner, and keeps the family pantry organized. In the “10 Year Anniversary” episode, Hannah even shows her mini-Kate streak when she snaps at Leah, saying, “Are you blind?!” when Leah can’t find something on one of their mom’s infamous checklists.
Kate calls Hannah “the mother of them,” and says that it gets her in trouble “because she gets involved in every drama situation, in every conversation that doesn’t involve her, in every situation, she definitely is a lot like me.” Older sister Mady agrees, saying that Hannah is “bossy.”
Aaden was nicknamed was “The Professor” when he was a baby, because even at a young age he seemed to study everything with an academic level of intensity. He eventually channeled his focus into athletics, telling People in 2013 that his goal was to “run in the Olympics.”
Nowadays, Aaden is more of a performer. Though Kate also relies on Aaden to help around the house — he’s right there with Joel, packing lunches in the early morning hours — she says, “His amazing sense of humor came out of nowhere, and the kid is funny. Really.” Older sisters Mady and Cara both think he would make a great “theater kid” and confessed that they’re forcing him to audition for the school play.
Though Cara is the older twin by a total of six minutes, she has always deferred to her more outgoing sister, Mady. Often appearing together for the interview portion of the show, Cara generally only interjects a comment here or there while Mady usually speaks for both of them. Cara’s shy nature was particularly on display when didn’t say a word during the now infamous 2014 Today show clip in which she and Mady humiliated Kate, who for some reason thought they would act like anything other than typical 13-year-old girls.
It seems to just be Cara’s nature to retract from the spotlight. In a recent interview with People (via The Daily Mail) in which the twins were asked to respond to their dad’s claims that they were “being kept from him,” Cara said, “I wouldn’t even know what to say about him.” But despite her type B personality, Cara is still a typical 16-year-girl, which means not only is she learning to drive — on a John Deere tractor, no less — but she’s also taken an interest in boys, as the TLC cameras caught in this clip. “It worries me,” Kate said of the twins’ beach flirtation.
Though Kate thinks Hannah is the most like her, anyone who has seen a minute of the show knows that Mady is Kate’s personality doppleganger. From the very beginning of the show, when the older twins were just four years old, Mady has demonstrated her sass and general “over it-ness” that are both classic Kate traits. In 2012, Mady told People she dreamed of being on the Disney Channel, and while that hasn’t become a reality, she is definitely the standout personality of the Gosselin children.
To that point, in the aforementioned “beach flirtation” clip, Mady explains that the boys they were talking to just wanted to know what was up with the camera crew. Mady told them it was for a show, then flipped her hair and replied, “If you want to see more of this, like, watch it.”
Mady even lashed out at Jon à la Kate, for talking about their estranged relationship in the press. Taking her usual position opposite her sister on the issue, Mady knew exactly what to say, telling People (via The Daily Mail), “This year I’m going to turn 16. I’m going to be learning to drive, taking the PSATs, thinking about college… so much is going on in my life. And the last thing I have time for is a toxic relationship.” Nope, nothing Kate-esque about that statement at all.
One big, big, big happy family
All things considered, the Gosselin kids seem to be enjoying a great life. And they’re all remarkably well-adjusted considering six of them have been on TV since their literal births. Though mom Kate still has her moments, and lots and lots of lists, she’s obviously doing her best to bring up the large brood in a loving and fulfilling environment. At the end of the day, reality TV show or no, that’s what’s important, and that seems to be what has drawn viewers to keep following this family for over a decade.