Jon Gosselin and Girlfriend Stephanie Lebo Explain Why They Kept Relationship a Secret for Years (Exclusive)

The couple, who recently went public with the relationship, also opened up to ET about whether or not they want to have kids together.

Jon Gosselin and his girlfriend, Stephanie Lebo, are opening up about why they decided to keep their relationship under wraps for almost two years.

Speaking with ET's Rachel Smith at the couple's home in Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania, Jon says "the real reason" was simply because they wanted their privacy. But it's not like their inner circle didn't know about their blossoming relationship. Yes, they all knew -- their kids, their family, their friends. But they wanted to avoid the spotlight until they were ready.

"We were never 'private, private,'" Stephanie tells ET.

Jon adds the couple would go out all the time, though they'd mostly go out publicly in their neck of the woods. 

"So what happened is I started traveling more and DJing in L.A., Miami, New York, like all over the place and we would go together," Jon says. "So, instead of jumping the shark, we pretty much said, 'You know what, let's just organize something and come out publicly because it's gonna keep on happening. We're gonna travel together when we're together.'"

Jon Gosselin

The couple, who met at a backyard BBQ in late August of 2021 and became official just weeks later, said they concocted a ruse that helped avoid "new couple alert" headlines. While out in public and in a major city with paparazzi in the waiting, Stephanie would pretend she was an older friend from college of Jon's daughter, Hannah.

"Yes, in one occasion I was," Stephanie admits. "It was easy enough to just say I was an older college student."

As for who came up with that idea, Stephanie says it was her and Hannah's while out once in Miami. 

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The couple went public with their relationship earlier this month, and come September, they'll be celebrating their two-year anniversary. After hitting things off at the BBQ -- courtesy of their mutual friend, Dean -- Stephanie says she made the first move by messaging Jon. They messaged non-stop, which ultimately led to Jon asking her to meet him for a drink at a restaurant. Stephanie says she was at the gym when she got the invite, but she was not sweating the decision. 

"I decided to just go over there sweaty, natural-looking curly hair, no makeup and he adored me," Stephanie gushed.

But when Stephanie told her mom who she was dating, it triggered quite the reaction.

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"Well, my mom flew out of her recliner when I said I was dating him," Stephanie quipped . "I was not dating anymore and I was like, 'I found somebody' and I told her who it was -- and she don't move fast -- [but] she moved so fast. Now, the great thing is that they talk every day. She knows more about our relationship than I do."

Jon is dad to eight children with his ex-wife, Kate Gosselin. Stephanie has one daughter, 13, from a previous relationship. The two tell ET that they do not want to have more kids together.

"Yeah I'm good. I'm gonna retire soon," Jon said with a laugh. "So, physically impossible, not interested, no expansion, just having the kids home."

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Meanwhile, Stephanie cracked, "One was enough for me. I don't know about him."

The Gosselin family became household names after starring in the TLC show, Jon & Kate Plus 8, which debuted in 2007. The show ended in 2017, but by that time, Jon had left the series and it was renamed Kate Plus 8.

Stephanie knew who Jon was before they met, but wasn’t fazed by his reality star past. She also tells ET what she remembers the most about the hit series: Diapers. A lot of diapers.