So much for that TLC "gag order."
In the interview (which the network is milking for all it's worth on two episodes of Good Morning America and a prime-time special Tuesday), the Plus 8 patriarch says he was pushed to the limit by his wife throughout their 10-year marriage.
"I was verbally abused," the 32-year-old accuses. "I was beaten down. She separated me from my family. She used to hold the kids over my head and say, 'Don't spend time with your mom, spend time with your kids.' Why can't I spend time with my mom and kids together?"
Then there was the name calling and put-downs...
"She'll call me, like, almost like a 'lame fish,' " Gosselin grouses in the Q&A, which was taped back on Aug. 28. "Like I wasn't going anywhere. Well, excuse me, I'm taking care of the kids. She's on book tours, she's doing all these things. You know, she's gone a week. You know, comes back. Unpacks, repacks, does laundry, packs up and leaves again. And I'm standing there like, 'Oh, OK. Your mom's gone again.' But I took a lot of abuse from her. You know, I was put down."
The patriarch recalls one specific occasion when he got fed up and "stood up to Kate" for the first time, fighting for his right to party.
"In 10 years, I've never gone out...When she said, 'I don't want you going out,' I...I used to say, 'OK, I'm not going to go out.' I was very passive. This is the first time I said, 'You know what? I want to see my friends. I'm going out,' " Gosselin says.
"That was the first time in my life I ever stood up to Kate...I just felt like I had to take back some time in my life, and I did it. And I felt really good. I made my own decision...I was beaten down for so long, I couldn't even make my own decision. And when I did, I was like, holy cow! You know? Yeah, what's she gonna do? Divorce me? All right. Obviously. You know."
The former fun couple married when Jon was only 22, and he seems to be trying to make up for lost time.
"I had twins at 23. I had sextuplets at 27. Bye-bye, twenties," Gosselin says. "Raising all those kids until you're 30 and, you know, you don't even think about what's going on around you. You do what you got to do to survive."
But Jon says those survival strategies for their eight kids is not what ultimately doomed the marriage. Despite couples therapy sessions, he says, it was Kate's put-downs that made the relationship irreparable. Although Kate has claimed it was Jon who called it quits, Jon says the opposite was true.
"She made the first move. She knows the truth," Gosselin says. "I wish to God she would speak from emotions."
Kate addressed this allegation in a statement to GMA.
"While I certainly have a very different perception of how our marriage dissolved, for the sake of my children I maintain that I'm not going to go into details of aspects I believe should remain private," she said.
Despite a few wishful fans, the future looks grim for the reality-TV twosome.
"I can't sit on a sofa with that woman. I can't sit on someone right now that I despise—I despise because she's not speaking from the heart. Please, the stuff you tell me in private should be the stuff you tell me on TV."
The Gosselins are now living apart and sharing custody of their children, and Jon says although his family has seen a positive change in him since the split, the divorce has still taken its toll on him.
"I've cried more now in the last, like, eight months...than my entire life," Jon said. "Our relationship will never be fixed... I don't trust her anymore. I was abused...I was beaten down...I'm not going back to that lifestyle."
Jon also explains why he's jumped on the bandwagon and begun wagging his tongue about the dissolution of his marriage.
"You get frustrated and pent up. I have no voice in the media," he tells Cuomo. "I want to let the world know that I'm a real person with feelings. Yeah, OK, I made mistakes. Maybe it wasn't the best idea to go out to the clubs."
Now that that's off his chest, maybe he'll actually do as he suggested earlier in the sit-down and "finish what we've got to finish and stop feeding into the frenzy."
The ABC interview with "America's Favorite Father" airs Tuesday at 10 p.m. in the special Primetime: Family Secrets. Excerpts from the session will be split between Tuesday's and Wednesday's installments of Good Morning America.
We bet Kate's already set her TiVo.
(Originally published on Sept. 7, 2009, at 9 p.m. PT.)