The romance has long since died, but for Kate Gosselin, a kernel of the emotion still lives.
"A part of me always will [love Jon]," she says. "It's hard to to be married to somebody for 10 years and try to say I, 'No, I don't love them anymore.' It doesn't work really well. I love the memories that we have together."
Sitting down with the TODAY show's Natalie Morales for a special aired on TLC Monday night, Gosselin, 34, describes a bleak life after her split with her husband, with her living in the center of a maelstrom of media attention.
"We can't turn life off," she says. "You're viewing our lives; yes, you can turn it off. I can't turn life off. In the last nine, 10 months, it's gotten real crazy, and I can't seem to get away from it. I just want peace for my kids."
Responding to Morales's argument that she could find peace simply by leaving the cameras behind, the onetime nurse said that her life has turned into a Catch-22 situation she can't seem to escape, and that she has no alternative but to keep pursuing what has become the primary source of income for herself and her eight children.
"At this point, I can't go back," she says.
Later, she adds: "I signed up for a reality show, I didn't sign up to be a tabloid staple. If I said I was done and it was enough, it would just be five more covers of why it is that I'm done, and so I would be living that for a period of time essentially with no income, with no job."
Hopes for the show to go onKate says that she hopes she can continue filming either with the kids or on her own TLC show. As for allegations that she's exploiting her kids and harming them by putting them in the spotlight, Kate was adamant that the critics are wrong.
"Coming from a mom who laid on bed rest from the time I found I was pregnant — from seven weeks pregnant to 30 weeks — and would not put anything in my mouth that would harm them, and fought for every second of their existence, I can tell you there is nothing that would ever force me to put them in harm's way," she says.
There's little support from friends or family, who she says have been either driven away or corrupted by the media's fascination with the family's self-destruction. Ultimately, that included Jon, 32, as well.
"Whatever happened, it happened so quickly. I think I was on a plane coming back from somewhere and I remember thinking, 'We're not going to recover from this,' " she says. "I looked at him and he looked at me, and we were completely different people. I think somewhere down the line his goals changed ... and they felt detrimental to me and the kids."
Choking up, she adds: "I still wake up every day and I think the phone will ring and it'll be ... the old Jon."
But Kate, who calls herself the "forgotten middle child" who now trusts "a very, very small group of people," says she bears some of the responsibility for alienating her husband, especially when it came to her notoriously controlling manner as a wife and mom.
"I was wrong to treat him that way," she says.
But the divorce has been hardest, naturally, on the kids. "They all to a degree say I wish mommy and daddy could be here at the same time, and to that I say, I do too," Kate says.