The Plath family of TLC’s Welcome to Plathville has some serious inner-conflicts. One of the biggest struggles is the issue their oldest son Ethan and his wife Olivia have with Ethan’s mom Kim. By season two of the show Olivia and Ethan were completely no contact with Kim and Barry Plath. Now that Kim is divorcing Barry, Ethan and Olivia are communicating more with Barry, but still refuse to engage with Kim. How did this all start?
Because of all the strict rules of their religious upbringing, Ethan and Olivia Plath were set up for a rocky start. Although they love each other and are currently committed to working on their marriage, they’ve had a rocky time because they didn’t get a chance to get to know each other before marriage. They both also seem to be carrying childhood trauma that they’re working through.
Ethan feels most traumatized by his mother, and that’s why he has cut off contact with her, but Olivia also feels hurt by Kim. The origin of this hurt is traced back to Ethan’s proposal and wedding to Olivia.
The first red flag for Olivia was when Kim expressed envy over her engagement ring. Then, immediately, Kim started working on planning the wedding as if it were her own. The final straw occurred when Kim posted about the engagement on social media before Olivia had a chance to tell her own mother.
Olivia has spoken about these problems to US Weekly in a video interview.
Moriah Plath also gave more details about the wedding to US Weekly. She says that in the days leading up to the wedding the family lost electricity on the farm, which heightened tensions even more and caused people “a lot of people’s true colors to come out.” She says that this is when a lot of issues were brought up and other things were exposed.
In Season 3, another issue was brought to light because of Moriah Plath’s first concert at a bar in Tallahassee. Because Olivia was Moriah’s keyboard player and backup singer, they asked that Kim and Barry not come to the concert.
Barry stayed home, but Kim showed up with three of her kids and tried to hide in the parking lot. Ethan and Olivia were alerted that Kim was there, which really triggered Ethan because of the sneakiness.
This is when Olivia revealed that she felt uncomfortable around Kim because Kim once told her she was possessed by demons.
Ethan walked around the parking lot looking for his mom so he could ask her to leave, but only found her empty car because she had moved to a friend’s car to be able to better see the outdoor stage.
This incident further solidified the rift between Kim Plath and Ethan and Olivia. At the end of season 3, Olivia actually spoke to Kim and Barry so she could say goodbye to the younger kids before the couple moved to Tampa, FL, but the situation was still very tense and adversarial. During their talk, Olivia made it clear that she thought Kim had tried to hurt her.
After Kim left Barry in Season 4, Olivia and Ethan have regained conversations with Barry. Ethan had been to see Barry several times to discuss the divorce, and Olivia even spoke to him on the phone to arrange a visit to honor the loss of Joshua Plath, a sibling who was killed in a farm accident as a toddler in 2008.
At this point it’s unclear if Ethan and Olivia will ever mend things with Kim the way they are doing with Barry. It certainly doesn’t look promising.