Apparently Jon Gosselin's reflection is different from the image he's been seeing on TV for four years.
"I had an epiphany one day," he said tonight on Larry King Live, a hot spot for all things Gosselin these days. "I looked in the mirror and I said, 'I don't want to be this person anymore.' "
That was one of the explanations the disgruntled reality-TV dad offered up as a reason for why he, after once defending the integrity of the show completely, has now ordered TLC to quit filming him and his kids, prompting the network to suspend production.
"I'm sorry I said that," he said, referring to his past on-camera comments about what a great time the kids were having on the set. "If I would have said opposite of that—breach of contract."
"I meant it and I felt that way," he added. "Now looking back..."
According to Jon, his change of heart is not because the show will be called Kate Plus 8 when/if it returns in November—a name change he had no prior knowledge of, he says.
"It's my right as a parent and as a father of my kids to determine whether the show is good for my family," he said. And now, "I don't think it's healthy for them because we're going through a divorce right now. I don't think it should be televised and I think my kids should be taken off the show."
"I take blame [for not speaking up sooner and] for not being an initiator. I was an avoider. I was passive."
Which was a persona that suited Jon better in the court of public opinion, at least.
When asked whether he perhaps should have never agreed to do Jon & Kate Plus 8 in the first place, Jon said that he definitely has regrets.
"In the beginning, it was for financial purposes. I can't tell you if I would have had a better life then or now. Would we have been better off? I don't know."
The family as a whole has been making $22,500 per episode, the father of eight revealed, adding that he didn't always not get along with TLC. The bad blood started in January, when he was rumored to be having an affair with a school teacher.
"I started getting calls from the executives. Basically, I'm in breach of contract, I can't go out, they put me on house arrest, they gave me a bodyguard for three weeks."
Jon said that he has a great lawyer now, Mark Heller, who, as Jon's No. 1 supporter, was right by his client's side tonight.
"Truth of the matter is, we had asked weeks ago for this production to stop and the minute TLC learned we were coming on Larry King's show...they decided to save their face and preempt this individual by coming out and firing him before it became public that he fired the show."
Heller, who said repeatedly that TLC had made $186 million off of the Gosselin phenomenon, a figure he read in a New York Post report, told E! News earlier today that TLC may have a hard time defending its treatment of the Gosselin children, in terms of monetary compensation, in court.
TLC fired back in another statement today, saying that Jon did not request to pull the plug on the show until after it announced the name change. Prior to that, his requests to the network "related solely to his demands for money" and other self-serving issues.
Jon says that the second he hired Heller two weeks ago, they went after the network.
King asked Jon whether he thinks Kate—whom early last month he said he "despised" for various reasons—is a good mother.
"Yes, she's a good mother," the 32-year-old replied. "I've made mistakes, I've learned from my mistakes, I regret things. I have to move forward...I really didn't mean 'despise.' I regret saying that word. I was very emotional...sometimes you just say things you can't really mean."
Also sitting in was Kate's divorce attorney, Mark Momjian. When King asked why Kate wanted to keep the show going, Momjian said he couldn't answer for her, but offered this:
"Jon and Kate agreed with each other that the children would continue their participation in this show. If she thought it was detrimental for one minute," she would pull the plug herself.
"I have to take initiative," Jon reiterated. "I have to be a man. I have to grow up."
"What he doesn't understand," he said, referring to Momjian, "is our life is our show. Our show is our life. I want it to stop completely."
Here's what Kate had to say about Jon's seemingly sudden case of stage fright on behalf of the kids.