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Jon and Kate Gosselin 'have decided to separate' (but they're getting divorced)

June 22, 2009 |  6:44 pm

In a heavily hyped episode of "Jon & Kate Plus 8" tonight, Jon and Kate Gosselin, the embattled parents of eight children/tabloid stars, announced they will separate. Toward the end of the episode, however, a text chyron dispensed with euphemisms and stated plainly that their marriage is being legally dissolved.

"I just need relief now," Kate said earlier. "I need to turn the page."

Jon, in a separate interview, said: "I don't hate Kate. But I have to do what's best for me and my kids."

It was not a surprise by any means: Earlier in the day, People.com posted an unsourced report that said that the couple had filed divorce papers in Pennsylvania, where they have lived.

Nevertheless, viewers were subjected to 34 minutes of filler and product placement before the popular TLC show finally got to it. Before then, in separate interviews, Jon and Kate made veiled allusions to their problems. Kate referred to her public persona as "very hardened, very crass, jaded maybe" but said she was trying only to protect her children.

Eventually, the floodgates opened.

Jon: "We can't be cordial with one another."

At the end of May, the Season 5 premiere confirmed what readers -- even casual ones -- of magazines such as People and Us already knew: The Gosselins' marriage was in trouble. Addressing their fame and their problems, which are inextricable, Kate said then: "Very swiftly, we turned into two different people."

That episode drew a record-breaking 9.8 million viewers for TLC. But as the weeks went on and episodes aired that had been filmed before the public admission, the ratings settled back to their average, around 2.9 million viewers.

On Monday, Kate said she would continue filming the show. Jon seemed less certain.

-- Kate Aurthur

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