Collin Gosselin recalls to ET spending multiple birthdays in an institution and reacts to claims he has special needs.
More than six years after Kate Gosselin said her son, Collin Gosselin, was enrolled in a program away from home to learn skills for his "special needs," the now-18-year-old is sharing his side of the story after recently suffering a car crash.
"It was definitely hard, like, not being in the media to kind of explain everything 'cause, you know, I wanted to take time for myself and I wasn't able to give the truthful answers. I mean, there were just things out there, you know, not my words -- other people’s words," he tells ET's Kevin Frazier. "It was tough, but, you know, it's good now to be able to put my own word out there."
As for where he was around 2016, Collin says he was in two different institutions. "Institution -- scary place, but I learned a lot about myself," he says.
Collin eventually wrote a note to his dad, Jon Gosselin, pleading to get him out. "I was in a dark place mentally," Collin recalls. "I think being in a place like that does more damage than it helps you."
At the time he was admitted, the young reality star was 12 years old. "I spent my 13th and 14th birthday there, so I was young," Collin shares. "I didn't have a lot of life skills. I didn't really know even what to expect, what to think of being there at the time, so I was hopeless and, you know, I figured out how to write to my dad and that was kind of one thing that kind of helped me mentally figure out that there was a way out of there in fact."
Being institutionalized ended his relationship with his mom, according to Collin. "After being there, I didn't have a relationship with her," he tells ET. "Even before then, I don't think we had much of a relationship and I think that just kept tearing it even more down so."
As for their lack of relationship to begin with, "I want to believe it was because of TV and what being in the public eye does to a family."
He adds, "I think it tore us apart and it gave us less time to actually be together as a family, but more time to be in the public eye."
ET has reached out to Kate's rep for comment.
Reacting to Kate's past quotes claiming he has special needs, Collin tells ET, "It's unfortunate that that's how my mom, you know, phrased me as a person. You know, I don't see those things and I don't think anybody else sees those things, but if that's how she sees me then, you know, that's her point of view and I hope that, if we met again one day, she would understand that, you know, it's not the case."
In the meantime, Collin is busy living the life of a regular teenager. "I would say just from things that have been said and things that have been seen in the media, a big misconception about me is that I'm incapable or, you know, that I'm still kind of hung up on the things that I've been put through because I'm not," he says. "I work just like everybody else. I go to school. I hang out with my friends. You know, my life is great and I'm very fortunate for the life I have now."
The teenager is also encouraging others to wear a seatbelt and drive carefully following a car accident he suffered after falling asleep at the wheel on his way to work. "Next thing I know, car was flipped," Collin describes, "and I'm just, like, sliding upside down across traffic."
Having survived the crash, his message about resilience could not be more apt.
"I wanna say, in life, we all go through hard things," he says. "We all get knocked down. We all experience really, really difficult things, but don't sit around and mourn and cry about it, you know. Address the situation you're in and fix it and come out on top of it because resilience is a really important thing."