TODAY

TODAY   |  April 13, 2010

Kate to Jon: I am not an absentee mom

Kate Gosselin, reality-TV star, mother and author, dismisses her ex-husband’s claims that she is choosing fame over family, saying gigs like "Dancing With the Stars" help her to provide for her family.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> back at 7:42. a year ago, fans of " jon and kate plus 8 " were waiting for a new season to begin. but instead of happy family outings, what viewers got instead was a year of drama, divorce and scandal. now kate gosselin is out with a new book called "i just want you to know ," recently sitting down with us for an interview. i asked her why she decided to write the book now after the year she had.

>> this idea actually came to me as i was driving one day just a couple months ago. through everything that we've been through, everything that i've had conversations with my kids, i feel a lot of times i never wanted to have obviously, and i just wanted them really to know how much i love them, how much everything i do is for them. and it's not just a coined phrase, it is not just what i tell people, it is not a cop-out. it is truly what is in my heart and i wanted to write it down so they have h advice for now, advice for the future and kind of like a legacy.

>> you look so emotional even as you talk about it .

>> i'm really tired and i really miss them honestly. but it was the most fun book out of all of the ones i've written. i told the publisher when i sent the letters to them, they were to remain untouched and unedited.

>> you really get to see in those letters the impact that your break-up with jon had on the kids. to hanna, you write over the last few years our family has changed. this has caused pain and doubt in you. it is shaken you and it has shaken each of us. to aden you write, i do not possess the skills to father you but i will do everything i can to show you the way. how are the kids doing?

>> they are -- you'll juster that again and again from me. they are the eight most fabulous kids on the planet. they're strong, they're loving. i don't see anything negative they've taken from this. i see, if anything, i see the kids and i becoming so much closer and they're more open to me.

>> do they understand the divorce?

>> they do now. they've lived it for just about a year and they don't like it. i don't think any child likes it. they still say things like, i wish mommy and daddy could be together and those sort of things. but they still have their same innocent love for each of us and i appreciate that.

>> you currently have primary custody of the kids but jon has sued for primary custody because he says is he an absentee mom, more interested in fame than raising the children . what's your reaction to that?

>> my reaction to that is i'm a working mom and cameras are on me so people catch me traveling and working. i've got to work harder now than ever because i am a single mom . in my heart i'm always in my kitchen baking and cooking for my kids and i'll always be there. it is a struggle to be here, to be anywhere. the emotion that you see is because i would rather be at home with them.

>> but you feel you have to do this?

>> i have to work. i have to provide for them and it's a struggle that every working mom especially single moms go through. i'm really feeling it now and it's really hard.

>> he brings up in particular " dancing with the stars ," what you're doing now. that's out in california . the kids are back in pennsylvania . how do you balance it all?

>> i travel back and forth. i'm on the first flight as soon as the show lets me out, i'm on a plane and that's my night of sleep . and i get home and i dance and i'm done by the time they're home from school and i spend the rest of the week with them. and it's difficult. i mean if i had 24 hours a day , seven days a week with eight kids it wouldn't be enough time in my book. to minus out the working days is really hard but i make the most of every minute i do have with them and i have a lot of conversations with them. they know that i have to work, they know that i have to go, they don't like it, but when i'm home, we make those little spots of time really big in our memories.

>> let's talk a little bit about " dancing with the stars ." it's been four weeks and you're still on the show. did you think you would last?

>> no.

>> you didn't.

>> it's just starting to hit me now that i'm really there, that this is week after week. it's truly one of the hardest things i have ever done.

>> you said from the beginning you're not a dancer.

>> i've never taken a dance step in my life. is like talking chinese. just watching that freaks me out. it's been a great opportunity, i've learned a lot about myself. i feel like i'm a strong person but this is like, wow. this is -- the judges have been very tough on you. some of the comedians have gone after you. does that hurt your feelings or have you developed a thick skin ?

>> i don't really have time to pay attention and i do have a thick skin . people are always asking, are you upset by the judge's comments? to be honest, i take the constructive part and the rest of it, i don't remember what they say. i don't know. i take a lot of criticism so -- it's their job. they're there to do their job. i appreciate that.

>> let's dispel the rumors that you're a diva on the set, you don't talk to the other dancers.

>> i love them. except for the fact that i have to miss my kids when i'm out there, most of them i will stay in touch with. i mean we have so much fun, from the hair people to the makeup people to all the cast and crew, all the dancers. it is like a big family unit and it truly is. actually a lot of the people that work on the show like the hair and makeup people, they're like we love all of the groups of people that come through here but they're like from the very beginning you guys with all very close. they are -- i laugh so hard when i'm with them. like most of them are young and they're going out and night and staying out and i'm like, i am too old for that.

>> it's interesting, because the judges may have their feelings about you but the fans certainly keep you coming back week after week. what does their support mean to you?

>> there are no words to describe it. i honestly say this jokingly, but i mean it -- the fans' votes, my supporters, the people who believe in me i think more than i believe in myself are the ones that are keeping me on the show because certainly it is not my dancing. and to them i say thank you so, so much for caring and believing in me.

>> we'll have more with kate gosselin tomorrow on "today," including her reaction to criticism over starting production on yet another reality show .

>>> still ahead , jane pauley gets