TLC's The Little Couple follows the lives of married couple Bill Klein and Dr. Jennifer Arnold. But this isn't an ordinary couple: both Bill and Jennifer suffer from skeletal dysplasia, meaning that they're shorter than most humans - hence the show's title. The reality series follows them as they live with their disorders while trying to make their marriage work, as well as struggling with trying to have a family.
In 2012, the two tried to have a baby with a surrogate, but, unfortunately, that baby did not survive. They eventually adopted two children, both who suffer from dwarfism. In 2013, Jen revealed that she had rare form of cancer and she allowed the television cameras follow her through her treatment and recovery.
The Little Couple is still going strong, thanks to viewers having fallen in love with the pair and wanting to follow their story. Even when episodes just deal with the mundane things in their daily lives, fans still can't get enough. Perhaps it's their strength through adversity that makes them so popular on television. However, it's true that Bill and Jen have a few secrets that their fans might not know about. But
Here are 15 Secrets From The Little Couple You Had No Idea About.
15 Jen had to step down from work due to cancer
Being diagnosed with cancer is one of the most difficult things that a person could ever face, but it's even more difficult when you're the star of a reality television show.
In 2013, Jen went on television with her diagnosis of a rare cancer and chose to allow the cameras to document her struggles and treatments as she fought the disease. Because this kept her so busy and had her focused solely on getting better, she had to take a hiatus from her job as a neonatologist and stopped seeing patients. This also allowed her to spend more time with her husband and children.
“It’s this work-life balance that’s very hard for anyone, and I think having gone through what I’ve gone through has made me re-evaluate,” she told People. “I just took a big step down from clinical and am no longer seeing patients.”
Jen is now cancer-free.
14 As a child, Jen underwent 22 surgeries
Even before doctors ever diagnosed Jen with cancer, she was no stranger to hospitals. Because of her condition, she spent much of her childhood being treated for various ailments and had a total of 22 surgeries before she turned 18. Jen admitted that every time she went under the knife, though, she was terrified. As fans know, though, she got through all of those surgeries and is now a stronger person for it.
The surgeries didn't end in her teens, though: she continued to spend much of her life in and out of hospitals. This is probably why she showed such courage when she got her cancer diagnosis: Jen was already a survivor and had beat the odds. That meant that she could beat cancer, too. And she did.
13 The FBI raided the show’s production company last year
In 2016, the FBI raided the offices LMNO, the company behind the production of The Little Couple, as part of an ongoing embezzlement and extortion scandal. The company had previously claimed that Discovery, which owns the TLC Network that the series airs on, used unethical business tactics to steal the show away from it after the series started getting filmed in-house by Discovery. Apparently, Discovery disagreed.
There aren't a lot details about the raid because the search order for it was sealed by a judge. Fans will probably never know what happened, but it did lead to a lawsuit that left the show in a sort of limbo between seasons 8 and 9. During that time, both Bill and Jen stayed busy with their jobs and family.
12 Jen struggled to bond with adopted daughter Zoey
One of the happiest moments of Bill and Jen's lives was the adoption of their daughter, Zoey. But it wasn't all rainbows and unicorns at the beginning. Jen admitted that she initially had trouble bonding with her new daughter.
Part of the problem was the change of scenery: Zoey was born in India and had to adjust to life in the United States with people who were originally strangers to her. This was also around the time that Jen received her cancer diagnosis.
“She wanted nothing to do with us,” Jen told People. “It was months before she really came around.”
The couple, though, continued to offer Zoey a normal childhood, with books. games and bedtime stories. Fortunately, Zoey eventually came around and is now a happy member of the family.
11 Bill was bullied in college
Being a "little person" is not easy because kids and adults can be pretty nasty. Bill admitted that he spent much of his life as the target of bullies. But the bullying didn't end with high school: it followed him into college.
"I was called 'midget,' I was teased, I was ignored, I was threatened, I was chased, I was beaten up," Bill wrote in his 2015 book Life Is Short (No Pun Intended).
At one point, the bullying became so severe that Bill had to file a report with the police because the bullies were throwing things at him. This also eventually led him to feelings of depression and thoughts of suicide. Fortunately, Bill stood strong and rose above the bullying.
10 Jen faced discrimination when she applied to college
Not only did Jen have to survive a series of surgeries as a child, but she also had to deal with discrimination, not just in her daily life, but also with school, including when she began sending out her college applications.
When she put in her application for the University of Miami, the college interviewer went way too far in questioning her height. Needless to say, Jen did not attend that college, but went to John Hopkins Medical School instead, where she excelled as a student.
Of course, that doesn't mean that Jen doesn't still face discrimination on a daily basis, and given the stories of Bill's harassment at college, it's good that the two are so successful, as it is, ultimately, the perfect revenge.
9 Bill admitted to alcohol abuse
Bill spent his entire life being different from almost everyone around him. That made him the target of bullying and discrimination, which obviously, had to take a toll on him, especially when he was younger. It got even worse in college, when bullies would not just taunt him with verbal insults, but also began to throw things at him.
It got so bad that Bill once called the police on students that just wouldn't leave him alone. Eventually, this led Bill to fall into a severe depression and gave him thoughts of suicide. He also began to drink and admitted that he became addicted to alcohol to help numb the pain.
Fortunately, Bill survived those horrible years of college and overcame his alcohol abuse to become a successful businessman.
8 Lawsuit nearly ended the show
The hiatus between seasons 8 and 9 of The Little Couple left many fans worried. It was during this time that LMNO, the production company behind the series, sued Discovery for breach of contract and copyright infringement after Discovery cut ties with the company and moved production of the TLC series in-house.
Discovery stated that it made this decision because of fraud perpetrated against the show, as well as Bill and Jen, by LMNO. Discovery claimed that LMNO inflated prices for production and falsified accounting documents, among other things. Eventually, something worked itself out because the show returned earlier this year, leaving fans relieved.
We may never know what really happened, but the good news is that The Little Couple is back on the air.
7 Jen’s first memory is riding in an ambulance
Most children have happy memories of their childhood, including those first memories which could involve the sound of their parents' voice, playtime or something about their families' daily lives. Jen's first memory, though, is something a lot more eventful and terrifying. She admits that the first childhood memory she has is of riding in an ambulance.
"My first memory ever is of riding in the back of the ambulance that came for me," she said. "The lights were flashing, and my parents were tucking towels around my head, trying to make sure I was secured for the trip to the hospital.”
Unfortunately, Jen has many such memories as a child because she spent so much time in and out of hospitals.
6 Majority of the series is staged
Although reality television shows what happens in the "real" lives of "real" people, the truth is that many scenarios and events get scripted and staged for the camera. That means that even a show as sweet as The Little Couple often gets this treatment.
All those birthday parties, anniversary celebrations and other events are just for the cameras. Even something as simple as a child's birthday party doesn't get filmed until it's planned out. What makes The Little Couple unique is that they will often stage these things for the cameras, and then have a separate event for themselves in private: something that is just for them and their family.
Maybe this seems a little deceitful, but that's the reality behind reality television.
5 Bill struggled with suicidal thoughts
Being in front of the cameras 24/7 means that all aspects of your life end up coming out to the open. But sometimes, there are secrets that only get revealed when a reality star decides to reveal them. In 2015, Bill admitted in an interview with HuffPostLive that he had a hard time dealing with bullying in college, which led him to experience depression and thoughts of suicide.
"In college, I had reached the deepest [pit] of depression and that brought me to the brink," Bill said.
However, Bill survived those years and became stronger for it. "I've had bumps along the road every year to deal with, but that said, I hope I can teach my kids to do better than I did when it comes to dealing with people you can't control," he said.
4 They first met when they were 10, but Jen doesn’t recall it
It's no secret that Bill and Jen are completely in love and devoted to each other. Usually when someone meets the love of their life, though, they remember it. Bill stated that he first met Jen when they were 10 years old, but for some reason, Jen doesn't remember that meeting. It seems that she made more of an impression on him than he made on her.
Fate has a funny way of bringing people together, but even a decade later, friends failed to bring them together. But, fortunately, fate also doesn't give up very easily: the two joined an online community geared toward little people and eventually found each other there. After they began talking (with Bill the first to initiate dialogue), they realized that they were meant to be.
3 Jen’s hospital was reluctant to appear on the show
It makes sense that a place of business would not want anything to do with a reality television series, considering the dramatic nature of those shows. That's probably why it's no huge surprise that Jen's place of employment, Texas Children's Hospital, found itself reluctant to have any kind of presence on The Little Couple.
As a neonatologist, the hospital and Jen's work there is an important part of her life. It took some convincing, but eventually, the hospital agreed to let TLC feature it on the show.
"As a hospital, they have a lot to lose, and they wanted to make sure it would show the hospital in a good light," Jen told Glamour. "A lot conversations took place with our production company, LMNO, and the hospital administration, and they were able to come up with an agreement."
2 Dr. Ben Carson operated on Jen when she was 2 years old
Most Americans know of Dr. Ben Carson because of his time as a politician, having run for the Republican nomination for President just recently. Since then, he has become a rather controversial figure, giving his conservative stance on pretty much everything. But before that, Dr. Ben Carson was just that: a doctor. In her new book with Bill, Think Big: Overcoming Obstacles With Optimism, Jen admitted that she was once a patient of Dr. Carson's.
Jen spent much of her childhood in and out of hospitals, having a total of 22 surgeries before she turned 18. When she was two-years-old, she needed a risky spinal surgery. At the time, Dr. Carson worked closely with Jen's skeletal dysplasia specialist to perform a successful cervical spine procedure on her.
"Whenever he looked at you, his eyes conveyed a deep level of sincerity,” she wrote. “For patients, this helped calm the nerves."
1 After having a miscarriage of their own, their surrogate also had one
Growing up as a "little person" is hard enough, especially when having to deal with multiple surgeries and bullying. But Jen and Bill faced heartbreak again when they decided to try and have a family. Unfortunately, their conditions made it difficult and their attempt ended in a miscarriage.
But that didn't stop Bill and Jen: they began going to a fertility clinic and had their egg and sperm joined to create an embryo, meant to be carried by a surrogate. After the surrogate was impregnated, the couple began to look forward to finally having a child of their own. Unfortunately, that pregnancy also ended in a miscarriage.
Although this devastated the couple, they decided to continue to try and have a family. They turned to adoption and now have two adopted children, Will and Zoey.
Do you have any secrets to share about The Little Couple? Leave them in the comments!