When her reality show, with then husband Jon Gosselin, first went on the air in 2007, they were a young couple struggling to raise a eight children, including miracle sextuplets.
They were middle-class, hard-working and viewers could easily relate to the trials and tribulations they faced as they tried to manage their miracle family.
After two seasons on the Discovery Health Channel, the show moved to TLC, where it grew in popularity.
But as the episodes progressed, it became evident that friction was building between Jon and Kate.
Jon seemed plodding and indifferent; Kate seemed hard edged and ambitious. She began to regularly berate and belittle him in front of the kids, a no-no for most parents.
She went through a remarkable transformation. Tabloids reported that it included a tummy tuck, breast enhancement and botox. On ABC’s “The View,” she denied both surgeries.
She also dyed her hair blonde and got a trendy asymmetrical style at a high-end Manhattan salon.
Meanwhile, she continued to take the kids to a cut-rate Supercuts.
She also began wearing mini-skirts and stiletto heels. Before long, she looked more like a Beverly Hills socialite than a suburban Pennsylvania mom.
Viewers continued to watch, but for a different reason. They were transfixed by the slo-motion implosion of their marriage.
On June 22, 2009, in an extended one-hour episode, Jon and Kate announced that they were separating.
The show’s rating soared as the divorce exploded in the tabloids, fueled by allegations of infidelity and double dealing.
The controversy cost Kate her own talk show after she’d taped a pilot with Paula Deen. Her audience was polarized by the divorce, and she was deemed to controversial by network suits.
For a time, the show suspended taping after Jon refused to allow the kids to appear on air as the bitter court fight continued.
On Dec. 16, 2009, the couple’s divorce was finalized. TLC renamed the show “Kate Plus Eight,” and announced the show’s relaunch.
By now Kate, 36, was a full-fledged celebrity, followed by the paparazzi.
She was photographed on the beach in a bikini, showing off her tight figure and on regular jaunts to New York City’s trendy restaurants, shops and that high-priced hair salon, without the kids.
Far from a happy family, the kids, now older, were starting to come across as bratty, entitled and dysfunctional. Problems in school followed.
Kate made an appearance on ABC’s “Dancing With The Stars” last year with partner, Tony Dovolani.
But even that ended in controversy, after several more qualified contestants were dismissed ahead of her because of her ardent fanbase.
Then she was paired with Sarah Palin in a disastrous trip to Alaska that Kate cut short.
She went on talk shows lamenting that she couldn’t find a man, even as her bodyguard Steve Nield was constantly photographed at her side.
The new season debuted Aug 8. with Kate, once again, in New York City. It had the air of the “Bachelorette” or “The Dating Game.”
Kate claimed her eight children were begging her to get married again, and she aggressively pursued a passerby in a scene that turned out to be a disaster.
The man didn’t even know who she was.
Even the trip to Australia and New Zealand, failed to generate much in the way of ratings, which ultimately sewed the show’s demise.
When the ax fell, Kate was stoical.
‘TLC cancelled it. I’m sorry. We’ve had a great run! Six years of whirlwind fun-filled adventures,” she Tweeted to her fans.
“While it is very sad for me and the kids (there were many tears at the breakfast table this morning!), we are looking forward with great anticipation to our bright future!” she added.
Kate said she is looking forward to future endeavors and the network says it will keep Kate and her brood in mind for future specials.
Maybe this is the break Kate needs. Now she can finally ditch the kids and become a star in her own right. Maybe “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills?”
The final episode of “Kate Plus Eight” airs Sept. 12 on TLC.