In the weeks leading up to the season premiere of their hit reality series "Jon & Kate Plus 8," Jon and Kate Gosselin repeatedly have appeared on covers of celebrity magazines with reports that they have cheated on each other and that their nearly 10-year marriage is on the rocks.
Is the timing a coincidence or a publicity ploy?
One thing is for sure: The controversy is likely to boost attention and ratings for the couple's TLC show. When season five premieres May 25, viewers will tune in to see if the Gosselins, parents of 8-year-old twin girls and 5-year-old sextuplets, address their off-screen troubles on the show.
There's a chance they may. On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times reported that the first episode was not yet in the can, as producers tried to figure out how to incorporate the latest headlines into the show.
"We are in production for season five and moving forward as planned, while fully supporting the family and respecting their needs as they work through this challenging time," a TLC spokeswoman, Laurie Goldberg, said in a statement to ABCNews.com. "This show has always been about a real family dealing with real-life situations, and that will continue to be the case for the new season."
Fortunately for the show's producers, the Gosselins' current real-life situation happens to be of the headline-grabbing kind.
It started two weeks ago with Us Weekly reporting that Jon Gosselin had been in a three-month affair with 23-year-old school teacher Deanna Hummell. The magazine ran a photo of Gosselin sitting in the passenger seat of a car with Hummell behind the wheel.
He denied he was having an affair to Entertainment Weekly.
This week, Us Weekly reports that Kate Gosselin has grown suspiciously close to her bodyguard, Steve Neild, and Jon Gosselin has threatened to have her followed by a private investigator.
Kate Gosselin told People magazine in its cover story this week that she was "horrified" by suggestions she was having an affair with Neild.
She did reveal, however, that her marriage is in trouble and has been for a while.
"I don't know that we're in the same place anymore, that we want the same thing," Kate Gosselin said of her relationship with her husband.
But the marriage is not over yet.
"I will never give up hope that every member of our family can be absolutely happy again," she told People.
Kate Gosselin, who is also promoting the family's latest book, "Eight Little Faces," following their bestselling "Multiple Blessings," also has spoken about the current scrutiny of her marriage on the "Today" and "Rachael Ray" shows.
All this talk is likely to have a positive effect on both the book and the reality show, as singer Leann Rimes must have discovered when Us Weekly reported she was having an affair with actor Eddie Cibrian a week before their movie "Nora Roberts' Northern Lights" aired on Lifetime.
The television movie drew 4.5 million viewers, making it the network's most-watched movie so far this year. It was no doubt assisted by tabloid rumors that Rimes and Cibrian's steamy love scenes were more than just good acting.
Stories like these can actually work in a celebrity's favor, whereas the average Jill or Joe caught in an affair is more likely to be fired. Moreover, the timing for dropping a bombshell is no accident, either.
It's designed to get us talking and -- celebrities hope -- buying their books, seeing their films and tuning into their shows.