Lynette Rice
April 29, 2009 AT 09:24 PM EDT

Jon Gosselin — co-star of TLC’s top-rated Jon & Kate Plus 8 — issued a statement Wednesday after US magazine published a paparazzi photo of him leaving a Pennsylvania bar with an unidentified woman. The picture, which the magazine alleges was taken around 2 a.m., shows Gosselin in the passenger seat of a car with a young woman behind the wheel. It was reportedly taken at a bar called Legends on April 18 near the Gosselins’ home about 90 minutes outside of Philadelphia.

“Like most people, I have male and female friends and I’m not going to end my friendships just because I’m on TV,” Gosselin said. “However, being out…late at night showed poor judgment on my part. What makes me sick is that my careless behavior has put my family in this uncomfortable position. My family is the most important thing in my life and it kills me that these allegations have hurt them.”

This isn’t the first time the tabloids have splashed a photo of Gosselin with a woman who wasn’t Kate, his wife and mother of their eight children.

In February, the gossips pounced on a pic that showed Gosselin with two young coeds at a college bar. TLC has insisted the encounter was innocent — he agreed to pose for the picture — but these kind of incidents are definitely taking their toll on the 32-year-old father. In an exclusive interview with EW last week, Gosselin admitted that the show, which is about to begin its fifth season on May 25, has offered financial security for his uber-family (he quit his job in 2007 so he can be with his family — and the show — full time). Still, Gosselin says he really doesn’t like the public life.

“The paparazzi thing and public eye, I don’t like it at all,” he told EW during an exclusive interview in the family’s home. “I don’t mind taking fan pictures and stuff like that, but it’s strange to me. I moved back here to be away from that all, we’re in the middle of the country, and now they’re here taking pictures, whatever. Everywhere.”

In fact, the Gosselins said it’s common to find upwards of 200 cars parked on the country road outside of their home on any given day. Strangers routinely try to snap pictures of the family, who now live in a picturesque, two-story home on a sprawling piece of rural property. But the house is at least 400 feet away from the road, so it’s nearly impossible to catch the clan in the front yard. The gate at the top of the driveway and the semi-private nature of the

property are a great comfort to Kate Gosselin.

“I’m far back from the road and I’m safe,” says Kate, 34. “I feel like when I go through those gates, I’m good and it’s pretty weird because we’re still just like a normal family, we’re functioning as a family and whatever, I always say, people say has this changed you?  It has not changed me, it’s changed people’s perception of me.”


the family’s unscripted series on TLC shows no sign of a slowdown. The March 23

series finale was the show’s most-watched episode ever, and Kate Gosselin’s

just-released second book, Eight Little Faces: A Mom’s Journey, reached

No. 5 on the New York Times bestseller list after only one week on the shelves.

Keep an eye out for more exclusive news on the Gosselin family in an upcoming issue of EW.

More Jon and Kate:
Jon and Kate Plus 8: ‘Green’ day!
Jon and Kate Plus 8 book signing: On the scene
Jon and Kate Plus 8: Are the Gosselins up for season 5?
Jon and Kate Plus 8 goes to the dogs

addCredit(“Mark Arbeit/TLC”)

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