Long before the tabloids and media frenzy, Jon Gosselin -- one half of the parenting duo "Jon & Kate Plus Eight" -- says the chaotic stress of raising eight children took its toll on the young couple.
"I got married at 22. I had twins at 23. I had sextuplets at 27. Bye-bye, twenties," Gosselin, now 32, told ABC News' Chris Cuomo in an exclusive interview. "And then raising all those kids until you're 30 and, you know, you don't even think about what's going on around you. You just do what you got to do to survive."
But it wasn't the demands of parenting, but what Gosselin calls Kate Gosselin's constant verbal "abuse," that sent their 10-year-marriage into a tailspin. Now, he says, the relationship is irreconcilable.
"Our relationship will never be fixed," he said. " ... I don't trust her anymore. I was abused ... I was beaten down ... I'm not going back to that life style."
Watch Jon Gosselin's interview on "GMA," Tuesday, Sept. 8, and more on "Primetime: Family Secrets," at 10 p.m. ET.
While Gosselin says that Kate ended the marriage, his soon-to-be ex-wife has been telling a very different story in the media, appearing on magazine covers and talk shows.
"She made the first move. She knows the truth," he said. "I wish to God, she would speak from emotions ... She's not speaking from the heart. Please -- the stuff you tell me in private should be the stuff you tell me on TV."
Gosselin told Cuomo that the marriage reached a breaking point when he "stood up to Kate" for the first time, going out to see his friends.
"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,'" he explained. "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."
Gosselin told Cuomo that during his marriage to Kate, he changed who he was.
"My mom and my brothers, they say to me, 'It's so good to have the real Jon back. It's so good to have the warm, loving, kind, caring person that we knew you when you were ... before you got married,'" Gosselin said. "I've changed for her. Because I loved her ... But don't forget who you are. That's what happened to me."
The former reality TV duo now lives the life of parents with shared custody. Gosselin commutes from New York City to the family's Pennsylvania home when it's his turn to be with the kids.
Their ongoing custody battle has resulted in the police being called to their Pennsylvania home, when Kate came home to find the kids with a new babysitter, hired by Gosselin.
"I wouldn't let her in the gate," Gosselin told paparazzi. "I said, I'm spending time with my kids ... and she's going to have to leave, and she tried to cry it up with the cops, and it didn't work and they just basically said [to her], You have to leave."
Despite the drama, Gosselin says he tried everything to avoid reaching this point, including therapy sessions, which proved fruitless.