Twenty-seven years ago Gil and Kelly Jo Bates tied the knot with no plans to have kids. Fast forward 19 kids later and this tight-knit family, seemingly too good to be true, has a tremendous bond but are far from perfect. As you will see, when you have a house full of 19 children, from ages two to 25, daily chaos is multiplied exponentially, but so are the joyful and poignant moments that life can bring.
Led by devoted father Gil (49) and his loving wife Kelly Jo (47), the Bates do everything in bulk while staying true to their values and rules for the family — which means everyone has chores, little to no TV, only dresses for girls (though pajamas are worn in private), strictly side-hugs until marriage (except for front hugs on special occasions), and more. With a grand total of 19 children ranging in age from two to 25, they are the definition of a “big, happy family.” But lately — as viewers will see — their simple rural lifestyle in Tennessee is in a flurry of transitions.
The new season will explore new, ever-changing family dynamics as the Bates celebrate the birth of the first grandchild with son Zach (25) and his wife Whitney; foster the courtship of Michaella (24) and Brandon Keilen by allowing him to share an extended visit with the family during the holiday season; support Erin (23) and her husband Chad Paine as they face a health issue that challenges their hope of starting a family; check in on newlywed Alyssa (19) as she finds her way in Florida with new husband, John Webster, the son of a U.S. Congressman and makes a surprise announcement; encourage Tori (18) to bring order to the family schedule and step up to meet the challenges of child training as her parents have become more lax in their later years.