TLC’s Sweet Home Sextuplets follows the lives of spouses Courtney and Eric Waldrop and their nine children, which includes, of course, a set of sextuplets. According to an announcement from the network, the series was unprecedented given that cameras began following the family before the babies arrived. "Our viewers get to see exactly what it’s like to experience such a life-altering moment in its entirety, going from a family of five all the way through expanding to a family of eleven," said Howard Lee, TLC’s president and general manager. As TLC, the home of the once huge hit Jon and Kate Plus 8, hoped, Sweet Home Sextuplets resonated with viewers, leading the network to bring the show back for a second season in 2019.
Loyal fans who’ve watched the Waldrops since the series premiere in September 2018 have witnessed the family experience a myriad of moments — both heartwarming and hectic — and yet there is still a lot to learn about this extraordinary family. Read on to discover the untold truth of Sweet Home Sextuplets.
Sweet Home Sextuplets’ Eric and Courtney Waldrop have known each other since middle school
TLC’s announcement for Sweet Home Sextuplets described Eric and Courtney Waldrop as "childhood sweethearts," and that’s no exaggeration. In the series’ debut, reported In Touch Weekly, the couple revealed they were both eighth-grade students attending middle school when they first met each other. The two have been together ever since, with Eric proposing to Courtney during their final year of college when they were both studying at Alabama’s Auburn University. One month after they graduated in May 2004, the couple headed to the altar.
In early 2019, the Waldrops celebrated 22 years together, sharing their happiness in a sweet Instagram post. "Happy 22 years to the love of my life and best friend," wrote Courtney in the caption. "God knew He would give us nine little angels one day!! And God knew I needed this man to be my rock and my strength…"
How the Sweet Home Sextuplets stars wound up having six children at once
Sweet Home Sextuplets couple Courtney and Eric Waldrop were already parents of son Saylor when they made the decision to have a second child. According to TLC, a subsequent attempt ended in a miscarriage, leading Courtney’s doctor to diagnose her with a clotting disorder that complicates pregnancy. As a result, the couple turned to fertility treatments and in early 2012, they welcomed twin boys Wales and Bridge.
In 2017, the couple decided the time was right to add a fourth child to their brood, but this time they decided to forgo medical treatment. Courtney quickly became pregnant, but once again miscarried. "It was devastating because I can get pregnant so easily, I just can’t hold on to them," she told People. "It was upsetting, but we had experienced it before and I knew I had a medical issue that contributed to it."
They once again turned to their doctor, who put Courtney on a low-dose fertility treatment that was supposed to minimize the possibility of having more than two babies. That, however, didn’t prove to be the case. When she ultimately became pregnant, the couple learned they were expecting not one baby, but six.
Sweet Home Sextuplets: the birth story
December 11, 2017, was a big day for the Waldrops. "Well yesterday started out a little different than what we expected," wrote Sweet Home Sextuplets‘ Courtney Waldrop on Facebook, revealing that her contractions started early the previous morning, followed by her water breaking. Noting that "everything happens on God’s timing," she shared her belief that the big guy upstairs "knew my body couldn’t last much longer."
Growing and giving birth to six babies, she admitted, put her body "in complete shock," and she had lost a lot of of blood. As People reported, when the sextuplets — three boys and three girls — were born they ranged in weight from "2 lbs. and 4 oz. to 2 lbs. and 14 oz." with all six delivered by Cesarean section. In addition to their doctor, noted People, the delivery required nurses, surgical assistants, neonatologists, maternal-fetal medicine specialists and anesthesiologists. All told, a team of about 40 people were on hand to usher the Waldrop sextuplets into the world.
"They’re oh so very little but absolutely perfect!!" wrote Courtney of her six new arrivals on Facebook. "May take a few more days for me to recover. But it was all worth it."
How the Sweet Home Sextuplets family reacted to their "new normal"
As one might expect, coming home from the hospital with six newborns was life-changing for Sweet Home Sextuplets‘ Courtney and Eric Waldrop in pretty much every way imaginable. Yet, as Courtney Waldrop told Today in an interview conducted when the babies were around nine months old, her family’s life had become "fun-crazy."
While those early days were unbelievably hectic, as the sextuplets got older the spouses were no less busy — albeit in an evolving sort of way. "It’s a different kind of exhaustion now," said Eric of the sextuplets, who had recently started crawling. "They’re doing great, even in those moments where we think we’re going to lose our minds."
Admitting he worried that raising nine children would place them in an "impossible situation," Eric said they were somehow managing to get it done. "I’m not saying it’s not hard, but you just kind of adapt and make it work," he explained. "It’s the new normal, how crazy it is, and I just jump right in after I come home from work and before you know it, it’s midnight."
Viewers couldn’t get enough of Sweet Home Sextuplets
After being introduced to the Waldrops, TLC viewers liked what they saw. After the initial season in 2018, the network ordered a second season of Sweet Home Sextuplets, which aired the following year. As TLC’s announcement indicated, the second season featured plenty of firsts, as the sextuplets began "developing distinct personalities, taking first steps, speaking first words and sharing milestones." Meanwhile, the babies’ three older brothers were also keeping their parents on their toes.
The second season was successful enough to spawn a third, with Courtney taking to Facebook in November 2019 to announce that the show would be returning with a new season at some point in 2020. "We are excited and have already started filming," she wrote to her followers.
While Courtney didn’t have a premiere date to share, she did reveal the new episodes would likely air sometime in the spring or summer, adding that many things would be happening in the 2020 season. "The babies are at the age now that things are getting really fun and really crazy," she further revealed.
The Sweet Home Sextuplets family is "constantly on the go"
Sweet Home Sextuplets couple Eric and Courtney Waldrop revealed to Today just what it’s like to feed six hungry babies — something they admitted is kind of an all-day, all-night experience. "We love every second of it but it is something, having to feed around the clock," she said.
In addition to the near-constant feeding, the couple told WAFF 48 News that in those early days they would typically burn through 70 diapers a day. Meanwhile, they also had three young boys to contend with, which were all bursting with energy. "We aren’t just home with just six babies. We have three older boys. We’re constantly on the go," Courtney said.
Despite how busy they are with the new six, the couple was adamant about maintaining their sons’ active schedules as well. "We don’t want to hold them back," she said of her three sons. "They continue to do everything they’ve always done, play every sport and Eric coaches them." Keeping all that going, Courtney admitted, "can be challenging. I think that’s something different about us!"
How the Sweet Home Sextuplets couple chose their babies’ names
When it came time to select their sextuplets’ names, Sweet Home Sextuplets‘ Courtney and Eric Waldrop definitely thought outside of the box, naming them Rayne, Layke, Rivers, Tag, Blu, and Rawlings.
"Their names are different, and on social media that’s been like the big talk, is the names," Courtney admitted during the debut episode (via In Touch Weekly). "I like different names … Names you don’t hear a lot," she explained. In fact, she revealed that even when she and her future husband were just dating, she had an eye on the future, writing down interesting names she’d hear to tuck away and have on hand when she eventually did become a mom. "You can look at my bible right now and the front page is filled with names," she divulged. "I didn’t ever know I would use them all, but I got to!"
Sweet Home Sextuplets’ Courtney Waldrop welcomed a "huge surprise"
When speaking with Today while promoting the first season of Sweet Home Sextuplets, Courtney Waldrop was asked to single out the most surprising thing she discovered about parenting a set of sextuplets.
The biggest surprise, she said, was that "at four months old, the babies started sleeping through the night." That unexpected bonus, Courtney admitted, was not only a "huge surprise," but something of a lifesaver for both parents. "I never would have thought that would have happened," she marveled about all six infants miraculously snoozing their way throughout the entire night. "So for the most part, we are getting a bit of sleep and we are able to survive off that."
Courtney elaborated in an interview with WHNT News 19. "Nine kids and six babies, it is definitely a challenge finding time for anything other than taking care of our kids," she said, admitting she was thankful that the babies were now sleeping straight through the night. "The good Lord knew He had to give us good sleepers or we just wouldn’t survive," she joked.
The holidays are extra hectic for the Sweet Home Sextuplets family
The holidays are an exceptionally busy period for most people, but that particular time of year is an especially hectic one for Sweet Home Sextuplets‘ Eric and Courtney Waldrop and their nine children. That, the couple said in a statement to People, is because their sextuplets were born on December 11, right smack in the middle of the holiday season.
The couple said that they "not only … have the holidays to enjoy with one another, we also have the celebration of our six miracles being born during the sweetest time of the year." In addition, they added, all three of the sextuplets’ older brothers also have birthdays around the same time. "So for us, the holiday season brings many reminders of all the things we have to be thankful for!"
The holidays have always been a treasured time of year for both Courtney and her husband, "but now that we have our six babies to share it with," Courtney explained, "it makes everything a little more special."
Sweet Home Sextuplets’ Courtney Waldrop feared she wouldn’t be able to eat enough during her pregnancy
When Courtney Waldrop was pregnant with her growing sextuplets, her belly swelled to extreme proportions. In order to sustain and nourish those six little humans snuggled inside her, she revealed in a Facebook post at the time, her biggest concern was "being able to take in the huge amount of calories required to keep this many babies and myself healthy."
She asked her Facebook followers to "please pray that my appetite will allow me to eat like I’ve never eaten before." She continued, "I’m determined I can do this!" The Sweet Home Sextuplets star’s primary goal at that point, she explained, was to ensure they kept growing at the rate they had been and that she could "hold onto them long enough for them to be healthy."
That was a goal she managed to achieve, although it was close; the babies were born prematurely, about 10 weeks ahead of schedule, arriving at just 30 weeks’ gestation, reported People.
The Sweet Home Sextuplets matriarch always wanted a big family
Courtney Waldrop had always wanted to have a big family, a detail about herself she revealed in an interview with WHNT News 19. "I knew I wanted a houseful," she admitted. She got her wish and then some when her sextuplets arrived and joined their three older brothers, making for a family that, while not as big as some TLC reality-show clans (we’re looking at you 19 Kids and Counting), is still plenty big.
As viewers of Sweet Home Sextuplets no doubt witnessed, having that many children under one roof can border on chaos. And while it would be easy to assume that adding a reality TV crew to the mix would only add to the pandemonium, that didn’t turn out to be the case. In fact, Courtney admitted that having their lives filmed actually brought an added sense of order. "It was almost like they knew if it became crazy we’d stop and they’d let us get everything calm," Courtney told Today. "We honestly never had to say turn the cameras off. They sensed it."
The community has been helping out the Sweet Home Sextuplets family
In addition to the never-ending chores involved with tending to six infants while also raising three young sons, consider the costs involved in raising a family of nine. For the Waldrops, every trip to the grocery store is not only a major undertaking, it can be a huge expenditure.
Luckily, the family’s friends and people in their community stepped up and pitched in. According to the Gadsden Times, when Courtney and Eric Waldrop first announced they were expecting sextuplets back in 2017, their neighbors put together a combination 5K run and gender reveal fundraising event in order to raise money to help the family when the babies arrived.
"We’ve been very, very, blessed with a lot of love and support," Sweet Home Sextuplets mom Courtney told Fox 61 News of the assistance and financial help they’ve received from friends and neighbors in their community. "We wouldn’t be here right now without all the love, support, and prayers."
The Sweet Home Sextuplets stars vacationed in a massive log cabin
In an episode of Sweet Home Sextuplets Season 2 — appropriately titled "Vacation: Impossible" — Eric and Courtney Waldrop packed up their three sons and six babies and headed on vacation to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee: home of Dolly Parton‘s Dollywood.
As one might expect, some special accommodations were required for a family of 11. A local company called Large Cabin Rentals was able to find the ideal cabin for the family. According to the company’s website, the Waldrops stayed in its Big Elk Lodge, which the company touts as "one of [their] biggest cabins in the Smoky Mountains." The Waldrops likely didn’t feel cramped up inside the cabin, which features a whopping 16 bedrooms and is large enough to house up to 74 guests. In addition, they were able to enjoy such amenities as a home theater system while the three older boys could make use of an air hockey table and a pool table.
As Courtney Waldrop wrote on Facebook, taking the brood to Dollywood was no mean feat and required bringing several friends and family members along to provide assistance. "We survived Dollywood as a family of 11," she wrote, adding that everyone "had a lot of fun."
The Waldrops were initially hesitant to star in Sweet Home Sextuplets
While many people would jump at the opportunity to be the focus of their own television series, Eric and Courtney Waldrop were tentative when TLC approached them about letting cameras document their lives for Sweet Home Sextuplets. "When we first considered saying yes to TLC, we were VERY hesitant," Courtney shared on Facebook. "But we also knew that God did not place us on this journey for us to not share his word and what He can do in everyone’s lives."
Speaking with Today, Eric admitted that seeking fame was the last thing on their minds when they agreed to be filmed by the network. "We didn’t go into this wanting to be — I don’t even like the word — celebrities," he said.
In fact, he explained the couple’s actual motive was to share their faith and the gratitude they have for the blessings they felt were bestowed upon them by a higher power. "We want to show America how good God has been to us," he explained.
The family crammed into a mobile home while their house was being built
In order to accommodate their growing family, Eric and Courtney Waldrop decided they needed a bigger home. As a result, they set out on building their new dream home, which would provide a lot more space as their children grew older.
During construction, the Waldrops and their nine kids temporarily set up residence in a mobile home next to the site of what would eventually be their new abode. While it wasn’t an ideal situation, it would do for a short time — or at least that was the plan, until the COVID-19 pandemic hit in the spring of 2020 and extended construction. When schools closed, this created a whole new layer of difficulties for the Sweet Home Sextuplets family.
"It has been a challenge for sure," Courtney told Fox News in June 2020 of being stuck in a mobile home with all nine children, all day long. Clearly frustrated, she added, "We’re going on seven months now and we’ve still not completed this renovation."
Homeschooling presented unique challenges for the Sweet Home Sextuplets family
When schools across the country shut down in spring 2020, many parents were faced with the difficult task of having to homeschool their kids plus, of course, having their little darlings underfoot 24 hours a day. This issue was confounded in the Waldrop household, given that the Sweet Home Sextuplets couple were quarantined in a small space with nine children.
In an interview with Fox News in June 2020, Courtney said, "When school permanently closed down and the big boys come home and I still have six two-year-olds. I’m trying to do everything on top of school work. It’s a lot for sure."
As her husband, Eric Waldrop, explained, the couple’s faith had always helped them through even the most trying situations, and this one was no different. "If it wasn’t for our faith, we wouldn’t be sitting right here right now," he said. "There’s no question about it."
Sweet Home Sextuplets’ Courtney Waldrop launched a jewelry business
Feeding, housing, and clothing nine children is an expensive undertaking, which may be why Sweet Home Sextuplets star Courtney Waldrop came up with a plan to supplement the family’s income by selling her handmade jewelry online. In a post on the family Facebook page in mid-July of 2020, Courtney thanked all the many customers who’d placed orders. In fact, she received so many orders that she was scrambling to get them all sent out.
"Everyone has been so patient as we have been getting them out!" she wrote, noting that "sweet Eric jumped in" to assist her in getting all the jewelry sent to her customers. The jewelry, which can be found on the family’s website, includes a selection of earrings, bracelets, and necklaces. In addition to jewelry, the website also once offered a fabric travel bag boasting an anchor design.
In an earlier Facebook post, Courtney admitted she was "blown away" by the volume of orders she’d been receiving. "I’ve been adding more everyday," she said of her jewelry offerings, pointing out that certain items had been "selling out as soon as I put them in" — a good problem to have, of course.
The Waldrops likely earn a pretty penny from Sweet Home Sextuplets
With all those mouths to feed, it’s a no-brainer that Courtney and Eric Waldrop’s grocery bills are enormous; add the costs of clothing and housing nine children, and that leads to some pretty hefty monthly expenses. Yet opening their lives to Sweet Home Sextuplets has not only brought the family fame, it’s also placed some much-needed money in their pockets.
How much money? That’s a bit of a trade secret, as TLC typically doesn’t reveal how much the stars of its reality shows are paid. However, an estimate can be determined based on info provided by reality TV producer Terence Michael, whose series have included Duck Dynasty and Auction Hunters. In an interview with E!, Michael revealed "the general rule of thumb" is to pay a family featured on a reality show approximately 10 percent of the budget for each episode.
According to E!, TLC reality series such as 18 Kids and Counting and Kate Plus 8 are budgeted at anywhere between $250,000 and $400,000 per episode. Even if Sweet Home Sextuplets’ budget were to be on the low end at $100,000, the couple would still rake in $10,000 per episode.
The Sweet Home Sextuplets stars finally moved into their new home
Thankfully, living in a mobile home was only temporary. In June of 2020, Courtney Waldrop offered her fans a look at their new home, which was nearing completion. "Slowly but surely we are getting there!! We have been out of our house going on 7 months now and are so looking forward to the day we get to move back in!!" she wrote in an Instagram post, accompanying a photo of the home. She promised the end of construction was "just around the corner."
The following month, she took to Facebook to share some photos of the home’s stunning new kitchen, which viewers would eventually see for themselves in episodes of Sweet Home Sextuplets. "I’m so thankful to have a kitchen that’s open so I can see all my crazy kiddos running around, a big island that they can sit at and a very big farmhouse table that we can all sit at and eat together," she wrote.
Why the Waldrops look back fondly at quarantining together as a family
When the new season of Sweet Home Sextuplets debuted in 2020, the family’s experiences during early days of the pandemic were chronicled. In an interview with Access, Courtney and Eric Waldrop opened up about what it had been like to quarantine in a cramped mobile home with nine children. Two of the episodes, they revealed, had been "self-filmed," the only way to create content when having the usual camera crew on hand simply wasn’t feasible.
While the resumption of school in the fall gave the couple a bit of a reprieve as their three older boys went back to class, they also admitted it was creating a lot of anxiety. "You know, all of those worries… you know, our kids are big in sports, our older kids, so the transition of that stopping and then starting back, and the decisions that go with that…," explained Eric.
Looking back, Courtney admitted she kind of missed those days in quarantine. Even though they "were still taking care of nine kids," she admitted that "it was just nice to not have anywhere to go, anywhere to be."