Sweet Home Sextuplets
The TLC reality series “Sweet Home Sextuplets” debuted in September 2018 and starred Eric and Courtney Waldrop, a couple living in Alabama who birthed a rare set of 3-3 sextuplets. Over the course of three seasons and 24 episodes, Eric, Courtney, and their vast brood of nine children allowed viewers to experience life in a large – and at times chaotic – family.
Eric and Courtney were born in 1981 and 1982 respectively. Their first son, Saylor, was born in 2009. When the couple began struggling with infertility, they took medication to welcome twins Bridge Rayner and Wales Tucker to the world in 2012. In 2017, Courtney miraculously became pregnant with sextuplets after another round of fertility medications, delivered via C-section after 30 weeks of 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 lengthy stint in the natal intensive care unit (NICU). Over the next few episodes, the sextuplets made their first public appearance at the family church, Layke and Rivers were attended to by a cardiologist, and Eric and Courtney purchased 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 accommodate them all. Eric and Courtney were also spread thin, trying to give their older children the attention they deserved without neglecting the little ones. Chaos descended when the whole household became ill with flu, and things got even worse when construction on the Waldrops’ new home was put on hold after a series of blunders.
Season three was the most challenging yet, as the sextuplets grew out of the baby phase and became demanding toddlers. From undertaking zoo and restaurant outings to enrolling the sextuplets in preschool, each episode was jam-packed with activities and milestones. In episode four of the season, the Waldrops moved into a mobile home as they waited to finish the construction work on their new home.
Naturally, Courtney was finding it almost impossible to juggle dozens of daily tasks with the other aspects of parenthood that include birthday planning, so much so that she considered throwing a huge joint party for all nine of her children. If that wasn’t enough, tornado season passed through Alabama and the coronavirus crisis meant that the Waldrops had to film themselves, as production shut down. In the last episode, “Survival Mode”, the family moved back into their home – but Eric and Courtney didn’t have a bedroom, and were forced to sleep on the couch.
After months of speculation regarding the show’s fate, Eric and Courtney took to YouTube in July 2021 to give their followers the bad news. Unsurprisingly, they had decided not to continue with the show, having ended filming in July 2020.
TLC had approached the Waldrops just a week after they announced that they were expecting sextuplets. According to Courtney, she and Eric, who are both religious, prayed about it before deciding to go ahead with the series. “We’ll give it a shot, and if it ever becomes something that is hard on our family or hard on our kids, then we’ll stop,” she reasoned.
In fall 2020, TLC asked the parents of nine if they wanted to film season four. At first, Eric and Courtney were all game, despite recognizing how challenging it would be to keep up with their childrens’ demands, and a jam-packed filming schedule. “There are only so many hours in a day, and it was honestly just too difficult,” Eric claimed.
While the couple were mulling over their decision, TLC decided to cancel “Sweet Home Sextuplets”. However, that doesn’t mean the Waldrops faded into obscurity; to this day, Courtney regularly posts her adorable kids on social media, keeping her almost 620,000 followers up to date with their antics, no matter how banal.
Obviously, the odd social media sponsorship is nowhere near enough on which 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 available to purchase at the moment. Despite receiving criticism from some netizens for their parenting style, the Waldrops appear to be raising well-rounded children in a tight-knit family unit.
Despite the cancellation of “Sweet Home Sextuplets”, it’s no secret that TLC loves shows about large families. Similar series on their roster include “Out Daughtered”, which premiered in 2016 and follows the Busby family, who went from having one daughter to six after wife Danielle became pregnant with quintuplets.
The controversial Duggar clan were also stars of the network for several years following the 2008 premiere of “17 and Counting”. As America’s largest family, the Duggars were inevitably vilified by some and praised by others. When the original show was cancelled due to Josh Duggar’s molestation accusations scandal, TLC quickly worked on a spin-off named “Counting On”. Unfortunately, Josh once again landed himself in hot water, 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 chronicled the lives of polygamist Brady Williams, his spouses, and his 24 children. Although the show only ran for two seasons, viewers were intrigued to see how the unconventional family raised the two dozen youngsters, and manage the dynamics of a plural marriage. It remains unclear why the show was cancelled.
Lastly, “Jon & Kate Plus 8” was household viewing in the mid-2000s. Echoing the Waldrop’s experience, the reality series saw Jon and Kate Gosselin raise their twins and sextuplets while trying to maintain a well-balanced household. The series was one of TLC’s highest-rated programs during its run, with almost ten million viewers tuning in to the season five premiere.
Although 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 show the lives of all sorts of families.