Sweet Home sextuplets
TLC’s “Sweet Home Sextuplets” reality series debuted in September 2018 starring Eric and Courtney Waldrop, a couple living in Alabama who gave birth to a rare set of 3-3 sextuplets. Over the course of three seasons and 24 episodes, Eric, Courtney and their huge brood of nine children allowed viewers to experience life in a large – and sometimes chaotic – family.
Eric and Courtney were born in 1981 and 1982 respectively. Their first son, Saylor, was born in 2009. As the couple began to struggle with infertility, they took medication to welcome twins Bridge Rayner and Wales Tucker into the world in 2012. In 2017, Courtney miraculously became pregnant with sextuplets after another round of fertility drugs, delivered by cesarean section at 30 weeks gestation. The boys are named Layke Bryars, Blu Wellington and Tag Bricker; the girls are named Rawlings McCaine, Rayne McCoy and Rivers McCall.
Each season spanned several months in the life of the Waldrop family. In the second episode of season one, Layke was diagnosed with ventricular septal defect and the sextuplets came home after a long stint in the birth intensive care unit (NICU). In the next few episodes, the sextuplets made their first public appearance at the family church, Layke and Rivers were attended by a cardiologist, and Eric and Courtney bought a van to drive the whole family around.
In season two, the sextuplets celebrated their first birthday while the Waldrops considered moving out of their home, which was becoming too small to house them all. Eric and Courtney were also spread thin, trying to give their older kids the attention they deserved without neglecting the little ones. Chaos reigned as the entire household came down with the flu, and things got worse when construction on the Waldrops’ new home was halted after a series of blunders.
Season three was the most challenging yet, as the sextuplets grew out of the baby stage and became demanding toddlers. From taking zoo and restaurant trips to enrolling the sextuplets in kindergarten, each episode was jam-packed with activities and milestones. In episode four of the season, the Waldrops moved into a mobile home while waiting for construction work to be completed on their new home.
Of course, Courtney found it nearly impossible to juggle dozens of daily tasks with the other aspects of parenting, including birthday planning, so much so that she considered throwing a big joint party for all nine of her kids. As if that wasn’t enough, tornado season went through Alabama and the coronavirus crisis meant the Waldrops had to film themselves, as production shut down. In the series finale, “Survival Mode”, the family moved back into their house – but Eric and Courtney had no bedroom and were forced to sleep on the couch.
After months of speculation about the fate of the show, Eric and Courtney took to YouTube in July 2021 to tell their followers the bad news. Unsurprisingly, they had decided not to continue with the show, having stopped filming in July 2020.
TLC had approached the Waldrops just a week after announcing they were expecting sextuplets. According to Courtney, she and Eric, who are both religious, prayed about it before deciding to continue with the series. “We’ll try, and if it ever becomes something that’s hard on our family or hard on our kids, we’ll stop,” she said. reasoned.
In the fall of 2020, TLC asked the parents of nine children if they would film season four. At first, Eric and Courtney were all game, despite realizing how difficult it would be to keep up with their kids’ demands, and a packed movie schedule. “There are only so many hours in a day, and it was honestly just too hard,” Eric claimed.
BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!!! Finally I can officially say…..There will be a third season of “Sweet Home Sextuplets”🥰🥰🥰 We are…
As the couple contemplated their decision, TLC decided to cancel “Sweet Home Sextuplets.” That doesn’t mean the Waldrops fell into obscurity, though; to this day, Courtney regularly places her adorable kids on the spot social mediakeeping her nearly 620,000 followers abreast of their antics, no matter how banal.
Clearly, the occasional social media sponsorship is nowhere near enough to raise nine children in today’s economy. Eric and Courtney have since created their own ‘brand’, ‘God’s Divine Nine’, and even sell merchandise on their website, although there is nothing for sale at the moment. Despite criticism from some netizens for their parenting style, the Waldrops seem to be raising well-rounded children in a close-knit family unit.
Despite the cancellation of “Sweet Home Sextuplets,” it’s no secret that TLC loves shows about big families. Similar series on their selection include “From Daughter”which premiered in 2016 and follows the Busby family, who went from one daughter to six after wife Danielle became pregnant with quintuplets.
The controversial Duggar clan were also stars of the network for several years after the premiere of “17 and Counting” in 2008. As America’s largest family, the Duggars were inevitably vilified by some and praised by others. When the original show was canceled due to Josh Duggar’s sexual assault allegations, TLC quickly worked on a spin-off called “Counting On.” Unfortunately, Josh landed himself in hot water again, after being arrested on child pornography charges, and the Duggars have since disappeared from the small screen.
— Brady Williams (@williams_brady) June 1, 2014
“My Five Wives” premiered in 2013 and chronicles the lives of polygamist Brady Williams, his spouses, and his 24 children. Though the show only ran for two seasons, viewers were intrigued to see how the unconventional family raised the two dozen youngsters and managed the dynamics of plural marriage. It is still unclear why the show was cancelled.
Finally, “Jon & Kate Plus 8” was viewed by households in the mid-2000s. Following on from Waldrop’s experience, the reality series saw Jon and Kate Gosselin raise their twins and sextuplets while trying to maintain a balanced household. The series was one of TLC’s highest-rated programs during its run, with nearly ten million viewers tuning in for the season five premiere.
While the Waldrops are no longer part of TLC, the network will continue to provide its loyal viewers with plenty of entertaining series and specials that showcase the lives of all kinds of families.