When The Little Couple premiered on TLC in 2009, audiences were drawn into the lives of Bill Klein and Jen Arnold. The couple captured millions of fans’ hearts with their adorable marriage and family. They both went through countless surgeries throughout their lives, but that isn’t what makes them unique.
The show documented Klein and Arnold’s ups and downs as well as the adventures of their two children. It was an undeniable hit for 12 seasons, but there was more going on behind the scenes that viewers didn’t know. Today, the couple is battling producers in a $7 million lawsuit, and we are taking a deep dive into what led to this moment.
They Met as Children
When Bill Klein was ten, he remembers exactly how he met his now-wife, Jennifer Arnold. He was at a hospital in Baltimore for physical therapy while she was there for surgery. They both came from out of town to see the same orthopedic surgeon, who specialized in cases like theirs.
Bill said he was in good spirits, but Jen wasn’t doing well after her surgery. Jen doesn’t remember meeting Bill because she was out of it after her procedure. Although she doesn’t recall the encounter, Jen believes Bill because of his description of the day, hospital, and people present.
Another Decade Passed Before They Met Again
It took another ten years for Jen and Bill to cross paths again. In her early 20s, Jen was studying at Johns Hopkins Medical School to become a neonatologist. Meanwhile, Bill was studying biology elsewhere. The two had mutual friends who tried to set them up on several blind dates.
However, life got in the way, and their blind date never happened. But with the rise of online dating, Bill and Jen both made profiles on the same site. Bill messaged Jen many times, but she didn’t see his messages. When she eventually logged in, she found Bill, and they decided to meet.
After messaging back and forth, Bill flew out to Pittsburgh to meet Jen. They got coffee at Starbucks and then went out to dinner. For the next three years, the couple had a long-distance relationship. They traveled back and forth to see each other, which wasn’t always easy, but it was worth it.
The two bonded over their shared life experiences as little people. They had both spent a lot of time in the hospital throughout their lives and related to each other. Even before they started dating, Bill knew Jen was the woman he would marry, and his dream came true after five years.
They Had Similar Childhoods
Today, Bill stands at four feet tall because he has a rare variation of skeletal dysplasia called Spondyloepiphyseal Dysplasia. He has undergone more than 20 surgeries throughout his life because the condition requires many orthopedic procedures. While some people see it as a negative, his medical condition helped him meet Jen.
Like Bill, Jen also has Spondyloepiphyseal Dysplasia. Since she was a child, she has had over 30 surgeries, which hasn’t been easy. Despite their battles, Jen and Bill have proven that there is more to their lives than what people see on the outside. Their perseverance is what makes them so unique.
Tying the Knot
After being in a long-distance relationship for three years, Bill and Jen decided to take their relationship to the next level. The two started planning their wedding; as a Florida native, Jen wanted a beach wedding even though she lived in New York.
Luckily, Jen’s family in Florida helped plan the wedding, and the two walked down the aisle on April 12, 2008. Their nuptials took place in St. Petersburg, Florida, and it was a beautiful ceremony and reception. Jen and Bill recently celebrated their 13th anniversary.
Jen and Bill’s story was originally featured on a one-hour TLC special called Little People: Just Married. They were so popular that TLC offered them a series about their life as a couple. The show was called Little People, and it premiered in 2009. They were an overnight success.
Millions of viewers tuned in to watch the couple as they moved to Texas to build their custom home and start their family. While Jen was working at Texas Children’s Hospital, Bill worked at a medical supply and telemarketing business. However, there was something off about the series.
Nothing Is Perfect
It might seem like Jen and Bill have a picture-perfect marriage, but not everything is as it seems. When you are “little” in a world of average-sized people and have some rare health issues, you face a lot of hard times. However, many of these moments aren’t shown.
When the couple went to India to adopt their daughter, things weren’t going well, and Jen had to rush back to the U.S. for a medical emergency. None of this was featured on their show. It gives fans the perception that they have a perfect life.
Backlash for Adopting
When the couple wanted children, they applied to a few countries for adoption. As they started the year-long legal process for their son William in China, they were also called about their application approval for their daughter Zoey in India.
Bill and Jen decided to announce the adoption of both children, but they were met with criticism. Everyone started commenting on the sudden, simultaneous adoption of both children because people thought they wouldn’t have a good upbringing. They thought that their fans would have been happy for them.
Jen Secretly Lost a Child
While Jen and Bill thought it would be challenging to conceive a child naturally, they tried anyway. Soon after they adopted William and were finalizing the adoption of Zoey, Jen got surprising news— she found out she was pregnant. She said it was unexpected, to say the least.
The couple had gone through two years of fertility treatment and surrogacy that led to miscarriages. Unfortunately, the joy was short-lived because they learned the pregnancy was not viable. Although they were heartbroken, Bill and Jen were still thrilled to adopt.
A Medical Emergency
Shortly after they arrived in India to bring Zoey home, Jen started bleeding. Since the D&C (a procedure to remove tissue after a miscarriage), she had been tracking her hormone levels. At first, she and Bill weren’t concerned because it subsided. Then, it started again and got worse.
Bill knew something was wrong, but Jen was torn between taking care of her health and finishing the adoption. Jen’s health continued to worsen, and the debate to stay turned into a discussion of how soon she could get home.
It was a good thing Jen decided to go back to the U.S. because when she got to the doctor, she found out she had stage 3 choriocarcinoma. The rare form of cancer began after her pregnancy loss when the cells that would’ve been the placenta turned into cancer cells.
Due to Jen’s skeletal dysplasia, the treatment would be complicated. Doctors wanted to avoid surgery due to her shortened airway and her difficulties with past surgeries. However, the disease was not responding to chemotherapy, so they had no choice.
Did Jen From the Little Couple Die?
Jen’s doctors reached out to other medical professionals because the circumstances were unusual. It was almost unheard of that this cancer would be found in a little person. Despite the risks with surgery, it was the only option to save Jen’s life.
After having surgery to remove the mass, Jen developed pneumonia. After recovering from pneumonia, Jen went through several months of intensive chemotherapy treatments and went into remission. She has been cancer-free since 2014.
They Renewed Their Vows
After six years of marriage and two children later, Bill planned to surprise Jen with a vow renewal on their 6th anniversary. In 2014, Bill set up the event on a beach in Galveston, Texas, surrounded by 50 of their closest family and friends.
Bill said, “This time around, it was about taking care of Jennifer, and even though she found out about it at the last minute, she came up with better vows than the ones I wrote.” Bill made sure the reception had all of Jen’s favorite foods.
Struggling to Bond With the Kids
In the midst of dealing with Jen’s cancer, the couple struggled to bond with their adopted children, William and Zoey. Adopting one child is a difficult task but bringing home two children from different countries was a larger challenge. Their struggles weren’t shown in full.
William and Zoey moved across the world to a brand-new environment, which had to have been hard. When Jen was diagnosed with cancer, it took longer for the family to bond and communicate well. Zoey especially struggled to be comfortable around Bill.
Twice Is Nice
The series featured many celebrations, birthdays, parties, and events pulled off just for the cameras. While these parties actually happened, Jen and Bill revealed they did it just for the viewers. It makes sense because no one can focus on a celebration with a camera in their face.
The couple said they host real celebrations when the cameras aren’t around so everyone will feel comfortable. Doubling celebrations gives them a chance to celebrate privately with their family and friends while keeping their fans intrigued.
They Are Better Communicators
While being on TV has had its ups and downs, Bill and Jen said the show has made them master communicators. Bill said, “On occasion, we have to expand upon a topic that we otherwise would have skimmed across because of time, our days, and our busy jobs.”
The show allows them to communicate in more detail. Besides having good communication between them, Bill and Jen stick by the rule to never go to bed angry. The couple knows how to resolve a fight before it festers.
They Divide and Conquer
Jen and Bill are a very busy couple. They both have full-time jobs (besides the reality show) and have to parent their two children. It makes people wonder how they have any time to get things done around the house. Jen revealed that they split chores 50-50.
In addition to household chores, the couple divides other duties according to their strengths. Bill is more business-oriented, so he takes care of the finances and contracts with the production company. Meanwhile, Jen handles the medical stuff with their children. Everything is balanced in their partnership.
They Have Been Through Hard Times
In front of the camera and behind the scenes, Bill and Jen are known for sharing a positive message and showcasing an uplifting outlook on life. For this reason, it was unexpected when Bill opened up about his struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts.
In a 2015 interview, Bill talked about his past struggles with mental health. He suffered from years of bullying, which pushed him into the deepest depression. He thought about taking his life in college. While his life has gotten better, he said it’s an ongoing battle.
The Kids Aren’t Always on Camera
Although William and Zoey were a significant part of the show’s success, they aren’t featured on camera too often. Jen said the kids don’t mind the cameras until they get in the way of what they’re trying to do. Then they’ll say, “Move, you’re in my way!”
Yet, Bill said a large part of their lives is off camera because the couple wants their children to grow up in a normal, comfortable environment. Bill and Jen want their children to have experiences they are private and not in front of an audience.
The Little Couple’s objective is to spread a positive message about being different, but it has received negative feedback from viewers with disabilities. One viewer wrote, “reality shows on modern television that feature such people are not much different than freak shows from 100 years ago.”
Some people thought that shows, like The Little Couple, focus on how these people are different from those who are “normal.” Although Bill and Jen have been applauded for educating viewers about dwarfism, some critics say viewers pity and objectify them.
Their Home Is a Target for Fans
When you have a reality show, many private details about your life are broadcast for the world to see. Nothing remains private, not even your home, which has become a problem for Bill and Jen. Fans show up at their home all the time.
They’ve had people leave notes in their mailbox, and people even come on Christmas Eve. Although Bill and Jen are flattered by the gestures, it can sometimes be scary because they don’t know if people always have good intentions. People feel like they know the family.
Filming Isn’t Always Easy
As a neonatologist at Texas Children’s Hospital, Jen was filmed at work for the show. However, it took a lot of time and effort to convince the hospital to allow camera crews inside. They have a lot to lose as a hospital because there is a reputation to protect.
When the series became a reality, conversations took place between the hospital and the production company LMNO to reach an agreement. LMNO has produced shows in other hospitals, so everybody involved felt more comfortable about the situation.
Moving to Florida
Since The Little Couple premiered, Jen, Bill, and their two children have lived in Houston, Texas. Jen and Bill moved there for her job. But in 2017, a new opportunity presented itself in Florida. Jen was excited because she would be close to her family again.
She took a position as the medical director of the Simulation Center at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida. She had come full circle because she first came to the hospital as an infant in the neonatal ICU. It was the right decision.
Their Children Are Just Like Them
When Bill and Jen decided to adopt, they wanted to help children in need. William was abandoned by his family due to his dwarfism, and Zoey was put up for adoption in India for the same reason. The couple spent their lives dealing with the same health-related issues.
William and Zoey were the perfect matches for the couple. Although it was hard to bond with them at first, they have become a tight-knit family. It has been a journey filled with many bumps along the way, like William’s medical issues.
William Has Sleep Apnea
After a routine sleep study, Bill and Jen’s son, William, was diagnosed with sleep apnea. Jen explained that children with skeletal dysplasia have a greater risk of developing the disorder. If it hadn’t been diagnosed, there could have been negative consequences to Will’s health in the future.
As a result, Will has to wear a CPAP mask at night to make sure he can breathe while sleeping. The condition causes a person’s breathing to stop and start while they sleep. Luckily, they are taking steps to treat Will and keep him healthy.
Despite The Little Couple’s impressive ratings, the show’s future became uncertain due to a nasty legal battle between Discovery Communications (the parent company of TLC) and LMNO (the show’s independent production company). It started in June 2016 with a $7 million lawsuit that spiraled out of control.
It was a mess between an “extortionist accountant,” embezzlement, and falsified records with the couple caught in the middle. As the lawsuit raged on, Bill and Jen had enough. In May 2017, they filed papers asking for “compensatory damages, punitive damages, and emotional distress damages.”
The Lawsuit Halted Production
Due to the ongoing legal battle, the show went on a more prolonged hiatus than usual between Seasons 9 and 10. LMNO claimed that Discovery breached the contract by canceling several LMNO series and taking over the production of The Little Couple.
Discover fought back because LMNO shortchanged profit participants and overcharged them for expenses. LMNO alleged that its accountant had been embezzling from the company for years. After the Season 10 premiere in 2017, the two companies settled the case in March 2018. But it wasn’t over for the couple.
What Happened to The Little Couple?
Although the two companies settled their lawsuit, Bill and Jen continued to pursue compensation upon word of falsified accounting documents from LMNO. The couple feared losing valuable monetary and intellectual property rights without their interests being represented. They accused LMNO of fraud and conversion.
In May 2020, Bill and Jen lost a large portion of their lawsuit. A Judge rejected their fraud and conversion claims. They also won’t be able to rescind intellectual property rights. The couple and LMNO reached a settlement agreement a few months later, ending the three-year ordeal.
Is The Little Couple Coming Back?
There hasn’t been an official announcement about the series cancellation, but The Little Couple has been on a hiatus since 2019. Fans fear the show won’t come back for a 13th season after two years of no new episodes.
Although Jen and Bill settled their legal battle with the show’s production company in 2020, there hasn’t been any indication that filming has resumed. Fans thought Jen hinted that a new season was coming when she posted an Instagram photo captioned, “Guess who’s back, back again,” but nothing is official.
Viewers Have Missed a Lot
There have been many changes since the last episode of The Little Couple aired. Bill and Jen’s children are now twelve and ten and look so grown up in their latest pictures. Viewers also missed seeing how the family handled the pandemic and working/learning from home.
Although Jen and Bill have shared updates on their social media pages, it wasn’t the same as seeing their lives on the series. Jen revealed that she was working from home. Being a cancer survivor, the Johns Hopkins doctor said she needed to stay safe at home.
Bill Injured Himself
The show’s hiatus also meant that viewers missed seeing Bill injuring his arm. After a run-in with a swarm of wasps in August 2021, Bill fractured his elbow. He shared the news on Instagram with a picture of his x-ray and talked about needing surgery.
Unfortunately, the broken bone wasn’t healing on its own, so Bill talked about surgery. Due to the pandemic, the surgery was considered “elective” because hospital resources were stretched too thin. In October, he was able to get the surgery, and Jen removed his stitches at home.
They Are Comfortable With Each Other
As Bill and Jen approach their 14th year of marriage, they reflect on everything they’ve been through together. From building a home to becoming parents and moving several times, they have gotten very comfortable with each other, which still surprises Jen.
She said, “No one prepared me for how comfortable you are in front of someone.” Jen added that she never thinks about being self-conscious in front of Bill. The couple has total faith and trust in one another. Their lives are taped, so Jen always has eyes on him.
They Wrote a Book
In addition to being working parents with a reality show, Bill and Jen knocked another item off their bucket list when they published a book in 2016 titled “Life Is Short (No Pun Intended): Love, Laughter, and Learning to Enjoy Every Moment.”
The idea of the book was to connect the dots for people who knew them and explain to fans why they are the way they are today. The couple also wants their children to read the book when they’re older. Bill thinks it will help them deal with life’s challenges.
A year after the success of their first book, Bill and Jen released their second book called Think Big: Overcoming Obstacles with Optimism. The two of them have overcome many obstacles in life, both individually and together, so they wanted to share their advice with the world.
Based on their popular speaking presentation, Think Big, Bill and Jen wrote their second book as a guide for dreaming big, setting goals, and the steps to get there. They shared many personal stories to give a glimpse into how they approach life’s greatest difficulties.
They Don’t Have the Same Last Name
Although they have been married for over a decade, Bill and Jen don’t have the same last name. Jen uses the last name Arnold while Bill’s last name is Klein. There is no secret behind their names other than choosing not to change their last names.
Bill said that people presume they share Jen’s last name. When he was at a hardware store, a fan came up to him and said, “It’s very nice to meet you, Bill Arnold.” He didn’t care about the mistake, and it became a running joke.
They Always Make Time for Each Other
With their busy schedules, it might seem impossible that they get time together. However, Bill and Jen said they make sure they have a few minutes alone each day. Whether it’s a glass of wine after dinner or watching a show together, they always find the time.
They say that’s the secret to their enduring and happy marriage. Bill and Jen also have at least one date night a month alone or with their kids where they get out of the house instead of watching TV because they want good quality time.
After years of having a reality show, Bill and Jen should be used to seeing their relationship on TV, but Bill says it’s still helpful for him. When they were filming, watching the episodes on TV gave him an outside perspective of their behavior as a couple.
He said it was therapeutic because it helped them notice many things in their relationship that they never would’ve realized. Bill and Jen said how eye-opening it was to see themselves on TV, which helped their marriage. Bill said it was nice to know that they’re truly happy.
What Happens When the Cameras Stop Rolling?
Despite seeing their lives on TV, Bill and Jen have a life even when the cameras aren’t rolling. Their family is like so many others. However, when they aren’t filming, the family spends more quality time together.
Bill and Jen like to curl up in bed and watch TV shows like Homeland or Dexter at night. Although Jen is a doctor, Bill said she doesn’t like the gore in Dexter. They also cook dinner and talk about the ups and downs of work and family.
They Work Together
Bill and Jen might have their own jobs, but they also have worked together. The couple has a business called Candu Enterprises, which provides media services, such as public speaking and philanthropic appearances at schools to assist anti-bullying campaigns. They use their celebrity status to spread awareness.
The couple also owns Rocky & Maggie’s, a pet supply business with an online store and physical location in Houston. They named it after their family dogs, and it supports local rescues and charities. Although they don’t live in Texas anymore, the business is still open.
Their Home Is Stunning
As fans of The Little Couple will recall, the couple’s Houston home was breathtaking. At the start of the series, they were in the process of building the house that they have now sold. The custom home was even better than people got to see on the show.
When they moved to Florida, the couple listed their four-bedroom, six-bathroom home for $1.04 million. The listing highlighted the home’s media room with a beverage center, wine grotto, mudroom, and a “resort-style pool/spa.” The stunning home also had a fire pit and an outdoor kitchen.
They Have Thought About the Show’s End
In a 2013 interview with Glamour, Bill and Jen were asked how long they would do the series. At the time Bill said they didn’t think about it too often. However, he said they’d leave it behind if it became too difficult.
They became so used to balancing their lives and capturing TV-worthy moments. They said they hoped viewers would be more open-minded about disabilities when the show ends. But with all the legal drama over the past few years, they might not return to TV.
Why Did the Little Couple Get Divorced?
Bill and Jen are not getting divorced. They remain happily married despite the confusion. Some people were confused because another TLC couple ended their marriage. According to their social media pages, the family just celebrated a quiet Christmas and took a trip to Disney in early December.
They are more in love with each other now than ever. Bill said he was attracted to Jen “for everything but her driving!” Jen loved that she felt like she knew him forever after their first conversation. They will soon celebrate their 14th wedding anniversary in 2022.