UPtv disappointed many viewers by canceling the family reality TV show “Bringing Up Bates” after 10 seasons. Although there were some controversies, the family didn’t leave the show. Instead, the media network explained on 19 January 2022 that the reason was ‘a change in programming that year, and a focus on movies and scripted series.’ However, that explanation didn’t sit well with over 200,000 fans who follow the show on Facebook, and thousands more who tuned in for each episode. We are equally mesmerized by the mega family, so we investigated how their lives unfolded in 2023.
- 1 Most fans are still interested in the family
- 2 Many fans blame Carlin and Evan
- 3 Carlin and Evan welcomed a son
- 4 Kelly Jo and Gil are still madly in love
- 5 Katie and Travis became parents
- 6 Alyssa gave birth to her fifth child
- 7 Chad and Erin’s daughter is growing up
- 8 Whitney and Zach will soon have five children
- 9 Bobby and Tori are raising their family
- 10 Nathan and Esther Keyes had Kenna
- 11 Trace and Lydia are expecting
- 12 Jackson proposed in March
- 13 Lawson could expand his family soon
- 14 Josie Balka and Kelton are now absent from social media
- 15 Michaela had a miscarriage
- 16 The family follows the path they set
Most fans are still interested in the family
What angered most people was that UPtv confirmed that the TV show would return in a September 2021 update, and set the premiere date for 10 February 2022. Then, a month before the first episode was set to air, they cut ties with the Bates family. It was even more infuriating that they only uploaded one post on the family’s social media accounts.
The family was equally vague, and only released a joint statement, saying, ‘As the next year begins, our family will be experiencing many new changes. One of the biggest was that the network would not renew a contract to film new “Bringing Up Bates” episodes.’ They cited the same programming-related reasons, and added, ‘God’s timing is always perfect.’
However, many fans think that the racist social media post from Carlin forced the company’s hand. Regardless of the cause, the family still has a large following, and is expanding. Some married or welcomed their first children, while others followed in their parent’s footsteps, and are becoming parents again this year.
Many fans blame Carlin and Evan
Carlin Bates married Evan Stewart in May 2019 and welcomed their first child, daughter Layla Rae, in January 2020. Evan and Carlin announced their second pregnancy in August 2021, and she gave birth to Zade Patrick in late March 2022.
However, her Instagram story video, posted in November 2021, likely led to the show’s cancelation. It showed her children playing charades with other Bates kids. When one card required them to act “hunting,” Lawson mimicked shooting one of his younger brothers with a bow and arrow. However, another brother in the background yelled, ‘George Floyd!’ as a guess. That sparked outrage, and many viewers saw it as racist or a mockery of an undeserved murder.
Katie Joy, the blogger for the “Without A Crystal Ball” website, also pointed out that all Bates kids know the Duggar kids, and that both families have nearly 20 children and successful TV shows. That was important, because Josh Duggar, who was arrested in a child pornography case, mentioned Carlin in one text, allegedly telling Evan that he was bringing her a Fitbit Versa smartwatch. It’s reasonable to assume that UPtv didn’t want any scandal, mainly because his message’s timestamp allegedly matches with one instance of Josh reportedly downloading some illegal material.
Carlin and Evan welcomed a son
Despite accusations, the couple seems unbothered, and prioritizes their online presence as an income source. They post on social media, primarily Instagram accounts @carlinbates98, and @evanpstewart16, and on a joint YouTube channel, The Stewart Family, which they created on 1 January 2020. Their channel picked up steam in 2022, and they posted more often at the beginning of 2023 – they reached almost 180,000 subscribers, who they call “The Stew Crew members,” in early May.
Evan and Carlin also manage Instagram accounts for their children under the handles @laylaraestewart and @zadepatrickstewart, and in January, they used those channels to answer the concerns that they weren’t caring for Zade since he had eyebags and trouble sleeping in December 2022. They announced that they took him to urgent care, where the doctors diagnosed him with a cold or an allergy. Evan and Carlin promptly applied an ointment to clear his pink eye infection and continued administering the respiratory treatments that doctors prescribed for a previous illness.
Moreover, they celebrated the second birthday of their family dog, Izzy, in January. The following month, Carlin and her mom Kelly Jo went to New Jersey to support Katie, whose due date was approaching. She calmed her sister down during her contractions and took her shopping to take her mind off the challenging period. After Hailey’s birth, Carlin said that she was ‘getting the baby fever again.’ Carlin and Evan also went to New York City in March, and she sported a new hairstyle around that time, including blonde highlights in her dark brown hair. The young couple then embarked on their first cruise, to the Bahamas with their best friends, and left their two children with Evan’s parents. On 27 March 2023, they celebrated Zade turning one, and styled the party with blue, brown and white balloons, bear-shaped cookies, and bear stuffed animals, because it was his ‘beary first’ birthday, a wordplay for “very first.”
Carlin was also open about her seizures, which started in May 2022, and revealed that she was visiting the neurologist and testing different medications. In early 2023, she struggled with medication that made her energy crash by 3 p.m., forcing her ‘to become a coffee girl,’ but she reiterated that she would continue experimenting. They also revealed that Evan quit his job due to Carlin’s seizures, and would now work with her for Bates Sisters Boutique alongside Whitney and Zach, and help design and sell maternity-friendly dresses and clothing for children. They also celebrated the boutique’s fourth birthday in late April, and organized a $1000 giveaway for two lucky followers. Then on 2 May, the couple announced that Zade had taken his first steps.
Kelly Jo and Gil are still madly in love
While they enjoy caring for their children and grandchildren, the couple continues to set aside some down time. They married in 1987 after meeting while attending the same college, Anderson University in South Carolina, and still live on the large family property in Nashville in 2023, and encourage all their children to live in Eastern Tennessee, to see each other often; nearly all of them listened. Moreover, they built a church for their evangelical Christian faith in 2019, and Gil is giving sermons since then, which tends to tie them to the location.
They celebrated Valentine’s Day this year, which they call the “I Love You Day” holiday, and exchanged gifts with family members. Once again, they didn’t exchange gifts the previous Christmas ,because they thought that gift-giving twice in a short period would diminish the excitement and impact. Their joint Instagram account, @thebatesfam, shows the couple consistently praising each other, describing their love, and ensuring not to take each other for granted after celebrating 35 years of marriage in January, and Gil’s 58th birthday shortly after.
Their strength was tested multiple times; in December 2022, Kelly Jo’s mom Peggy went to the ER with respiratory syncytial virus- RSV – and passed away in the hospital surrounded by the family. Then in April, they had to bury Craig Fleming, the husband of Gil’s sister Jenifer, who passed away suddenly at 55. Although it was heartwarming, the entire family, save a few members who might have been there but weren’t in the picture, gathered to bid the final farewell, showing how close they are despite some members living in other states, traveling, or expecting.
Outside of those traumatic events, Gil and Kelly Jo continuously post birthday celebrations of their youngest children, who prefer or are advised to stay off social media. The matriarch and patriarch celebrated Isaiah’s birthday in October 2022, and Jeb’s 11th and Addallee’s 17th birthday in February.
They also shared fun moments, such as when Jeb imitated Lydia in April, or when they unintentionally showed that Warden, who rarely appears online nowadays, may have got a wrist and forearm tattoo a month before. However, fans will have to wait for Warden’s birthday celebration in late May to get a closer look. Although Kelly Jo and Gil have yet to celebrate the birthdays of Judson, Callie and Ellie, the family posted a picture of them inside their church in April, and captioned the image with an announcement that four family members were learning sign language, presumably for Addallee, who had hearing loss.
Katie and Travis became parents
Katie Bates and Travis Clark, who married in December 2021, were the first Bates family members to welcome a child in 2023. After announcing that they were expecting a girl in 2022, they clarified that her name would be Hailey James, and that the due date was 4 March 2023. However, Hailey was born earlier, on 17 February at 10.29 p.m., at a bit over 6lbs or 2.5kgs, measuring 19ins or 48cms. The couple also posted videos on Katie’s Instagram account, @kgbates200, of them bringing their daughter into the nursery they built in their New Jersey home. Both new parents continued to share images of her firsts, such as taking her to the beach, bathing her, and celebrating their first Easter with her.
They also stated that their Goldendoodle sleeps with her, and protects her. Finally, the couple began collaborating with jewelry and clothing brands such as Pandora and Lalabu Baby to supplement their income. However, the post-pregnancy recovery wasn’t uneventful; Katie passed out in the shower in late February, which was one of the reasons Carlin visited. After a thorough examination, doctors had to give her blood transfusions because her iron level was low. Although recovered, Katie began discussing post-partum hair loss to sell a product in April 2023. Her advertisement drew fans’ ire – they thought that she was scamming her followers because such post-partum symptoms would disappear by that point.
Alyssa gave birth to her fifth child
Katie’s sister Alyssa Bates helped expand the family when she announced that she and her husband, John Webster, had a son named Rhett in March 2023. They’ve welcomed four children, Allie, Lexi, Zoey and Maci Jo since they started dating in 2013. Additionally, they are among the rare siblings who left Eastern Tennessee and now live in Florida, as John works for Webster Air Conditioning & Heating, his father’s company based in Orlando.
Alyssa also shared some political news. In January, John’s younger brother Michael Clark was running for a position in the fourth legislative district of New Jersey’s state assembly. John’s father, Daniel, was also a US representative for Florida’s 11th congressional district.
Chad and Erin’s daughter is growing up
Chad and Erin, like Alyssa and John, relocated to Florida after the show’s filming wrapped up. Eris Bates is still a musician, but her role as a mother occupies most of her time. After she married Chad Paine in 2013, they’ve welcomed four children, Carson, Brooklyn, Everly and Holland.
However, doctors thought that she would have to stop there because of medical problems. In the past, Erin announced that she had a ruptured cyst and underwent three operations. Additionally, she had an ovary removed during the operation in February 2021.
Luckily, the couple announced in August 2021 that they were expecting their fifth child, and in January 2022, they welcomed their daughter Finley Marie, whom they dubbed ‘a miracle child’. Unfortunately, while fans could previously follow their lives via a joint Instagram account, @chad_erinpaine, the couple deleted it this year.
Whitney and Zach will soon have five children
Zach and Whitney, who married in 2013, will give Trace and Lydia’s daughter someone to play with by also becoming parents for the fifth time. Their four children, Bradley, Kaci, Khloé and Jadon, were excited to meet their baby sister this year, since the parents announced that the due date is August. The couple is also awaiting their ninth anniversary on 14 December, but mourning the loss of Whitney’s father, JC Perkins, who passed away last year from septic shock in the Intensive Care Unit after an operation.
As for their professional life, Zach and Whitney are actively working at Bates Sisters Boutique. Additionally, Whitney proved her statement to Us Weekly from February 2021, when she said that they would ‘have a few more kids, but certainly not 15 more like Zach’s parents.’ That means we could expect a sixth child next year. Unfortunately, Zach deleted his Instagram account, @zachnwhitbates, around early 2022, which makes it hard to stay in the loop.
Bobby and Tori are raising their family
Tori married Bobby Smith in 2017, and they had two sons, Kade and Kolter Gray, before announcing that their daughter, Charlotte Raine, was due to be born in June 2021. They stayed silent during the family show drama in the following months, but revealed on Mother’s Day that they were awaiting the birth of their fourth child, and Tori gave birth to Cambree Layne Smith on 2 August 2022, and revealed that Cambree and her mother now share a middle name. However, the couple went silent on social media again after December 2022. Their last post was an image of them celebrating their fifth marriage anniversary on their joint Instagram account @bobby_torilayne_smith.
The memories God has given us with these two little boys have been piling up so quickly! Every day is a new adventure,…
Posted by Tori and Bobby Smith on Monday, June 15, 2020
Nathan and Esther Keyes had Kenna
Nathan Bates previously worked as a flight instructor, and bonded with his girlfriend over having a big family; Esther Keyes has 13 siblings. and the two got engaged in May 2021 after dating since December of the previous year. They married in a 350-person wedding in October of that year, but things remained quiet until almost a year later, when they welcomed their first daughter, Kenna Joy, in October 2022. However, Nate deleted his Instagram account, @natebates93, in March of this year.
Thankfully, before he did, Nate revealed that he was working with the Medic Corps non-profit organization, and that he collected funds and donated items and money to help the victims of the earthquakes in Syria and Turkey. He previously helped rescue refugees from Ukraine, and has likely done so this year. Esther’s account, @estherbates97, is the only source of news for the fans of the family. She used it this year to show Kenna’s firsts, such as a beach vacation, photoshoot, and colorful headband, describe her personality, and praise her husband.
Trace and Lydia are expecting
Trace is one of the rare siblings without a child, but that will change. After he married Lydia Romeike in early October 2022, the fans briefly waited for the big news. They announced that Lydia was pregnant on 5 March, and that the due date for their first child is September 2023. They also hosted a gender reveal party in April, followed by a YouTube video, when they revealed that their unborn child is a boy.
They then celebrated Lydia’s 25th birthday in April, and went to other people’s weddings. Throughout the year, on his Instagram account, Trace demonstrated his passion for skeet shooting or shooting clay pigeons, horse-riding, and snowboarding. Trace seemingly still works as a police officer, and nurtures his previous interests in skydiving, scuba diving, and carpentry. Lydia also used social media in early May to express concern after she started blacking out whenever she got up quickly or exercised. Luckily, the doctor told her that she had a low blood count, and she bounced back thanks to electrolytes and extra salt in her diet.
Jackson proposed in March
Kelly Jo and Gil announced on the family’s Instagram account that their son, Jackson, became engaged to his girlfriend, Emerson Wells, in March. They didn’t specify whether the couple was expecting a child, but after captioning one image with ‘counting down the days…,’ the couple shared a link to The Knot website, which stated that their wedding was scheduled for 14 October of this year. Additionally, they revealed that they moved to Florida like some of Jackson’s siblings.
Furthermore, Emerson, who previously had a private one, started using his Instagram account @jacksonbates in mid-March, after they had a joint account @jack_n_emy. Unfortunately, they disabled both accounts in early May.
Lawson could expand his family soon
Lawson Bates married Tiffany Espensen in May 2022 in San Diego, California. Since then, he’s relocated to Nashville to work on his music career as a singer and songwriter, and has released several songs as a recording artist on his YouTube channels, Lawson Bates and LawsonBatesVEVO, most notably albums “What Country Means to Me” and “Freedom Sure Ain’t Free”, and a single with a music video recorded in Italy, entitled “Crazy Love,” in March 2022. Tiffany was an actress for Disney and MCU, but has since committed to a family life. In light of that, the couple sparked rumors that they were expecting. Lawson stated that they focused on traveling and developing their professional life in a video, “WHERE IN THE WORLD HAVE WE BEEN?” from March of this year. In other videos, they teased moving to California. Furthermore, in the “ADOPTION Q&A! ANSWERING YOUR MOST ASKED QUESTIONS!” video uploaded on 16 April, the couple revealed that they want to have children but haven’t decided when. Additionally, they stated that they are open to adopting one because Tiffany was adopted.
Moreover, fans thought the couple was planning something after organizing a beach photoshoot in late April, and asking Lawson’s sister-in-law Lydia, who is expecting, to take pictures. When fans commented that they expected an announcement after such a professional set of images, Tiffany replied with a winking face emoji and a heart. That led to speculations that she caught the baby fever, because they’d recently spent a weekend with the entire family. Their followers also noticed that Tiffany was more emotional in vlogs, and that she mentioned wanting a baby girl someday.
Can’t wait to do FOREVER with you, Tiff ✨ https://t.co/QFejwN1Qlv
— Lawson Bates 🎙 🎸 (@lawbates) May 14, 2022
Josie and Kelton, who married in 2018, posted online about their family life with daughters Willow and Hazel over the years. However, several pictures from the airport they published in January were noteworthy. On the same day, other family members, including Lawson, Jackson, Nathan and Esther, Lydia and Trace, and Warden, posted similar pictures via Instagram stories. Moreover, Alyssa mentioned that John would join some of the trip but that she couldn’t due to her pregnancy.
After fans pieced all the information, it became clear that several siblings were going on a skiing trip to Keystone, Colorado, likely to Keystone Ski Resort. Unfortunately, Josie deleted her Instagram account, @josie_balka, at some point afterwards, thus preventing fans from following her family’s life. However, previous posts showed the family going on dinners and vacationing in Arizona. Josie still sells hair accessories and other items on her online store, The Effortless Beauty Co Shop.
Michaela had a miscarriage
Michael goes by Michaela because she dislikes her masculine birth name. She married her partner, Brandon Keilen, on 15 August 2015 and moved away from the family home. They had troubles with conception, and she did fertility tests and bloodwork in early 2017 before undergoing a hysterosalpingogram, an X-ray of the fallopian tubes and the uterus to eliminate any problems. Although they were open about that, the couple never revealed the results. However, they reiterated how much they loved their family, nephews, and each other, and that they trusted God and wouldn’t let infertility isolate them from their nieces and nephews.
Although the couple deleted the joint Instagram account @brandon_michael_jn15 sometime this year, they mentioned in one Instagram story in February that they ‘have a daughter in Heaven’ and showed a picture of them holding an ultrasound image. However, they elaborated on the miscarriage, and admitted that the pain was there, meaning that it could be recent. Luckily, their fans could see them in a group family picture when they gathered for Craig’s funeral in April. Their business, Keilen Corner, which sells gifts, swaddles, baby blankets and more, is also active.
The family follows the path they set
After analyzing how the Bates family developed since early 2022, we can safely conclude that disappearing from TV screens did not hurt their reputation or popularity. Kelly Jo and Gil are still the same, upholding the values they preach through their religion, and hitting their family goals. They’ve raised their children to do the same, and their parenting works; no one’s divorced or been involved in a scandal. Instead, most of them met their partners after a courtship, became engaged within a few months, then married and welcomed one or multiple children.
Those who did not, such as Michaela and Lawson, were not pressured to do so, but were encouraged to trust in God and wait for the right moment. All Bates family members are hard-working, come together in times of need, and are resourceful away from the spotlight. Some work for their father’s tree service company, or have started another business, while others leveraged their media popularity to become influencers. Therefore, their fans can expect more excellent news this year.