When Welcome to Plathville premiered on TLC in November 2019, fans were introduced to yet another seemingly wholesome family, the Plaths. Kim Plath and Barry Plath raised their 10 children in rural South Georgia under strict rules and religious guidelines. But at the time of filming for season 1, their older children Ethan Plath, Moriah Plath and Micah Plath, were becoming adults and venturing out into the world and experience life on their own terms. Unfortunately, that caused major tension between the family members and a major feud ensued. To find out why Ethan and Olivia were fighting with Kim, keep scrolling below.
Why Did Olivia Plath and Ethan Plath Feud With Barry and Kim Plath?
On the season 1 premiere of Welcome to Plathville, Ethan and Olivia had just gotten married six months prior and it seemed like the seeds for their feud with mom Kim and dad Barry had already been planted. While they adjusted to married life, Olivia also introduced Ethan to things his parents’ strict rules would have never allowed like his first basketball game, his first time going to see a movie in a theater, watching TV shows like Friends and drinking his first can of Coca-Cola.
“Obviously, we’re our own family and we’re gonna do things the way we choose to do ’em and we allow a lot of different things in our home that his parents wouldn’t and that’s just a personal choice,” Olivia said in her joint confessional with Ethan. “When we got married and we moved in here, we had alcohol in the home — that was a big source of tension. We’d want to go out for ice cream and that would create conflict because it would be like, ‘Well, you shouldn’t be eating sugar.’ And we’d be like, ‘Well, we’re adults. We can make that decision ourselves.”
The tension continued to grow between Olivia and Ethan and Barry and Kim, mostly because they were worried that Ethan and Olivia’s lax lifestyle would negatively influence their younger children at home. That led to Barry and Kim to banning Ethan and Olivia from spending time with Ethan’s younger siblings.
By the time they returned for season 2, Ethan revealed that he and Olivia had since cut off contact with his parents because of how hurt they were by not being allowed to visit the family. After not being able to come to a solution to solve their issues, season 2 ended with a blowout fight between Ethan and his father over his treatment of his wife. Because of the family divide, Ethan and Olivia planned to move away from the Plath family’s hometown of Cairo, Georgia.
Why Did Ethan Plath and Barry Plath Feud?
During the tense season 2 finale, Ethan and Olivia drove to the Plath family house to say goodbye to Ethan’s siblings and Olivia stood in the car while Ethan told his parents their plans. However, Barry and Kim would only allow it if they were present. Ethan put his foot down and said that if the children couldn’t say goodbye to Olivia and Ethan in private without parental supervision, then he would have no choice but to not see them again until they each turned 18.
“That’s his call,” Kim told her son, gesturing to Barry. “You’re the neck that turns his head and we all know that’s how it’s always been,” Ethan told his mother.
Barry interrupted, “Ethan, I love you. In spite of all the vitriol that is coming our way.” Ethan responded, “It is very nice of you to say that you love me, but behind my back, when you talk about my wife to other people, it’s not going to fly with me.”
Ethan told his family that they would not get to say goodbye to Olivia, but Barry insisted that the whole family walk toward the end of their driveway to greet Ethan’s wife in the car. In an attempt to protect Olivia from confronting his parents, Ethan grabbed at his father’s hand to stop him from walking toward the car, then grabbed him by the arm and pointed his finger in Barry’s face. “You are not going walk over to my wife, do you understand?” Ethan said as his younger brother, Isaac, ran up to separate them.
The scene ended with Ethan saying goodbye to his siblings without Olivia, leaving his mother and sisters in tears.
How Did Ethan Plath and His Parents End Their Feud?
After being estranged for most of season 3, season 4 brought a new layer of drama to the Plath family — Kim and Barry were separated and headed for divorce. Ethan felt it was time to put an end to their nearly two-year-long estrangement and he agreed to speak with his father and older siblings alone without his mother present. Ethan and Barry were able to put their differences aside so that Ethan could support his family during their difficult transition.
Once Ethan and Barry had mended things, Ethan decided he was ready to face his mother one-on-one. During an emotional scene on season 3, he laid out all of his issues with Kim on the table.
“I definitely feel a ping of resentment when I see things that don’t add up with my mom,” Ethan said about his mother’s decision to divorce despite raising her family with strong Christian values which frown upon divorces. “Like in the things that she taught us to do that she doesn’t do.”
Ethan asked his mother if she regrets raising their family with strict rules and if there was anything that she would do differently. “I think if we’re being honest with each other, sugar and soda never was the issue. The issues that I’ve always had with you and dad have been schooling, dating and the right and the wrong way to go about that,” Ethan said. “I feel like in many ways, you were extremely relaxed as far as the amount of effort you put into schooling kids. I’ve felt that way literally since I was 13, I felt behind in life, like couldn’t compete with people that were in my age group as far as academics.”
Kim explained that her plan was to help each of her children to find their passion in life and then set themselves up for success in that field, as Ethan was passionate about fixing cars. Kim reminded her son that it was difficult for her to get him to concentrate on books when he’d rather be in the barn building things, but Ethan insisted that he was a kid and she should have offered more guidance and structure for him in terms of schooling. Kim apologized to her son and insisted that she tried her best, but Ethan said he felt like she didn’t try hard enough.
Ethan then took issue with the way his parents approached dating. “You and dad had pretty much told us you don’t start dating someone if you’re not gonna marry them, you start a relationship and then you get married,” Ethan said.
“Dating and sex before marriage, that was a sin, that was wrong and that pretty much made you impure or you’re going to hell or whatever,” he added in his confessional. “Maybe it wasn’t just my parents, maybe it was the churches they were involved in, a number of factors but nonetheless, that’s the message that I got. I mean, just that alone with where they’re at now, it’s like, there’s clearly more to the story. It’s not that black and white.”
Kim explained to her son that while she taught her children to date with the intention of marriage, also known as courtship, they should be “looking for red flags” during the courtship so that they don’t end up marrying the wrong person. “I don’t know if we ever communicated that to you, maybe we didn’t,” Kim said, while adding that Ethan and his wife, Olivia, were very much in love when they met and would have eventually ended up married either way.
“I’m not saying that, I’m saying the environment that we grew up in literally bred someone that would go straight to the first person that you had a mutual feeling for, and it was never taught to any of us that there was another way,” Ethan said.
In his confessional, he pointed out the hypocrisy in his mother’s actions and the way she raised her children. “I mean, obviously right now with the divorce, it would be 100 percent fair to say my mom is not adhering or following the things that she told me for so many years. So it’s just kind of frustrating,” Ethan said. “You hear all this for so many years as a kid and you believe it, and then you act on it, and then you become an adult and you realize that wasn’t the only way — and then your parents don’t actually follow through or do the same things that they preached to you for so many years.”
Finally, Ethan asked his mom if she “had any remorse” for the way she treated him and his wife, especially banning them from seeing the younger kids. “As far as how as things went with me and Barry and you and Olivia, I mean, I feel really bad about it,” Kim said. “But I’ve never been in a situation like that before where there was so much conflict. I know that I did things that hurt you and I want you to know that was never my intention. Like, I never set out to hurt either one of you but I know that there were things that did hurt you and for that, I am sorry.”
Ethan accepted his mother’s apology and agreed to move forward in repairing their mother-son relationship.
Why Won’t Olivia Plath End Her Feud With Kim Plath?
Olivia revealed why she was so hurt by her mother-in-law during the season 4 finale of Welcome to Plathville. “I met Kim when I was 16 and she, when I first met her, made me feel important. She kind of took me under her wing and in many ways, kind of made me her new best friend,” Olivia said in her confessional. “She was calling, emailing me every day. I trusted her more than I did my own mom. And at that point in my life, I really, really needed a mom figure because the mom I had was not nurturing and also, being one of 10 kids, it was really easy to feel overlooked and forgotten and I just really needed to feel important to someone.”
“And you loved her?” a producer asked and Olivia nodded as she choked back tears. The producer then asked what changed between her and Kim to make their relationship go south.
“I think what changed is when I started to realize that I was just being used,” Olivia explained. “I felt like I was only of value to her if I did what she wanted me to do. I will never forget marrying a 20-year-old man who his mom was using his credit card and buying things for herself and not paying him back. And I’m looking at him and saying, ‘Why?’ and he’s saying, ‘Well, I don’t know the computer password and I don’t know the password to my account so I can’t stop her.’ Like those were literal what the f–k moments. And so many of those happened.”
She continued, “I remember, I changed his password for him and she’s like, ‘Oh, can you send it to me?’ And I was like, ‘No. That’s his password now.’ And that was the first time she ever blew up at me and yelled at me and slammed the door on me when she had me come meet her in town over that.”
“It went from like, ‘I love you so much,’ to ‘you have the devil in you,’” Olivia claimed. “It just kind of changed overnight. Being wanted by someone doesn’t mean they love you. They can want you ’cause you meet their needs, not ’cause they want to meet yours.”
While Olivia was uncomfortable being around Kim, she agreed to be cordial during the family’s group outing to a nearby river to go rafting for Ethan’s birthday during the finale, which aired on August 2, 2022.
How Did Moriah Plath Defend Mom Kim Amid Her Feud With Olivia?
Just three days after the season 4 finale aired, Moriah took to her Instagram page to share a lengthy statement where she defended her mother and hinted that the family drama may be a result of editing.
“We as a family have decided to not be divided anymore. There is a lot more to the story than what you all have seen on the show. While we understand that this is a TV show and we are not in control [of] how the show is edited, we are actually a family that is full of love and respect for each other,” Moriah wrote via Instagram on August 5. “that being said, we as a family are not going to sit back and watch as our family is driven apart. For example, we wanted to clear up some thing that Olivia said during the last episode. What Olivia said about our mom using Ethan‘s credit card was not the full story. Mom and Ethan had a business agreement in which Ethan earned a good bit of money. And both parties were aware of any transactions that were made. Our mom should have had the opportunity to defend herself and tell her side of the story.”
She continued, “Some of us kids have been rebels and are finding our place in life and are very thankful to be supported and unconditionally loved by our family… No matter what choices we make or who we become. Please remember that we are human and do make mistakes. Nobody is perfect and we continue to learn and grow with every day. Not one person is at fault.”
“We also have younger siblings that are at very vulnerable ages and this is not fair nor healthy for them. We’ve come to the realization that unless we speak up, this cycle will never end. We ask that you have compassion for us and understand that not everything you see on the show is as it actually is in real life,” Moriah added in her statement. “Thank you for your continued support. Family first! With love, from the Plath family.”