The American reality television series, “The Little Couple,” has been off the air since 2019. It was never renewed even though it gained a decent following over the years. It featured the lives of a newly-wed couple with skeletal dysplasia, as they went through love, marriage, and building a family. Each year, fans would wonder if the TV show will be renewed for its 15th season, but TLC has been silent about it. Since they’ve been gone from TV for almost three years now, loyal viewers have been curious about what the couple has been doing, along with their two kids.
- 1 Get to know the Kleins
- 2 Bill and Dr. Jen Arnold Klein’s inspiring journey in “Little Couple”
- 2.1 How did “The Little Couple” start?
- 2.2 How did Bill and Jen meet?
- 2.3 The newlyweds and their life-changing decision
- 2.4 Tried building a family through surrogacy
- 2.5 The Kleins became three, adopting a little boy from China
- 2.6 Kept the tradition of calling the first son, William
- 2.7 And then they were four, as they welcomed Zoey into their lives
- 2.8 Jen battled cancer and recovered from it
- 3 The Klein Family in 2022
Get to know the Kleins
“The Little Couple” had been on TV for 11 years, and there’s a huge chance that most reality-TV fans had gotten to know this sweet couple, 4ft-tall Bill Klein and his wife, 3ft 2ins tall Dr. Jen Arnold, about 1.3m and one-metre respectively. However, for fans who came late to the game, here’s some background information about the couple:
Bill Klein – Early Life, Education, and Family
Bill Klein was born on 13 October 1974, to parents William Walter Klein Sr. and Barbara Jane Diecidue at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Bethpage, Long Island. He never knew any other home growing up, except in the incorporated village of Port Jefferson in Brookhaven, which can be found in Suffolk County, Long Island, New York. He was born with Skeletal Dysplasia, a medical term for people with dwarfism. It has many variations, but in Bill’s case, he had a rare condition called Spondyloepiphyseal Dysplasia or SED. The doctors already knew from the very beginning that something was wrong with him, because aside from his suspected dwarfism, he was a cyanotic, also known as a blue baby. He stayed for a while in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) before his parents took him home, but he still spent a lot of time in the hospital while growing up.
He has two brothers named Tom and Joe – it was a surprise that he was afflicted by a rare condition, since both his brothers were over six feet tall. He was bullied by the people around him when he was young, and his mother had a hard time dealing with it, especially since there was no accurate diagnosis of his condition at that time, while his father, who was a police officer, shrugged off all the negative comments. Bill’s physical growth was well behind the normal rate – he was delayed in learning how to walk due to the size of his head, but cognitively, he was light years ahead of the average. At 10 months he was already talking, and at 14 months he could easily communicate with others. He said that most people were shocked that his vocabulary was that of a fifth-grader, because he looked like an infant. It didn’t surprise his family later on that he easily graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Biology from New York University.
Jennifer Arnold – Early Life, Education, and Family
“The Little Couple” reality-TV star and Bill Klein’s better half, Jennifer Arnold, was born months ahead of him on 12 March 1974, at St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida. Her’s was the same birth story as Bill’s, if not more harrowing. Jen’s parents thought that it would be a normal delivery, because her mother had an uneventful pregnancy. However, she had to go through so many difficulties in the delivery room – first, she was in labor for more than 24 hours, then Jen’s feet came out first, and by that time, her mother was already hemorrhaging. There was a huge chance they could both die, since Jen wasn’t breathing when she came out fully from the womb.
When the doctors saw her, they all knew immediately that something wasn’t right about her, but couldn’t give the exact diagnosis because there was limited information about it. For a time it was touch and go for her, since there was a couple of large hematoma under her scalp. Initially, they told her parents that she had hydrocephalus because of her large head, and that she would grow up to be mentally challenged, but subsequently it was found out that it was just hydrops, a fluid build-up in the baby’s tissues that caused extensive swelling. She stayed in the NICU for quite some time, and she had surgery several times early in life to correct the alignment of her bones, because if left unchecked, she would have been wheelchair-bound for the rest of her life.
According to “The Little Couple” reality-TV show, it was this experience that inspired Jen to complete her undergraduate degrees in Biology and Psychology at the University of Miami in Florida. She then earned her medical degree in 2000 at St. John Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, then completed her Pediatric residency program at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, and was awarded her Neonatology fellowship in 2007, as well as finishing her Master’s degree in Medical Education at the University of Pittsburgh in 2009.
Bill and Dr. Jen Arnold Klein’s inspiring journey in “Little Couple”
With a plethora of reality-TV shows featuring little persons on cable television, both Bill and Dr. Jen were invited to be part of a show, but declined. They were reluctant, saying that there should be a balance between voyeurism and raising awareness.
How did “The Little Couple” start?
It wasn’t a surprise that the Kleins received multiple invitations, because their individual life stories and as a couple were interesting enough for TV. The first came after “Good Morning America” aired her interview. Some producers saw it on TV, and said that they wanted to film their wedding, but they said that they weren’t interested. Then, they received an offer to document their lives in a series called “The Little Couple”, but they continued to refuse. The good doctor had a change of heart when a young kid about seven or eight years old approached her inside a shop, and told her, ‘Oh, you’re a little person like “Little People, Big World.” She was surprised that the term “little person” was being used to describe her, and realized that the reality-TV genre was an effective tool in raising awareness of their world. They filmed the pilot episode, and the timing was perfect because, at that time, they’d just moved to Texas.
How did Bill and Jen meet?
The love story of Bill and Jen was one for the books. They met when they were about 10 years old in the most unlikely somber place, the hospital. Bill had just had his cast removed, and was playing around in a wheelchair in the hallway while Jen was pumped up with narcotics, recovering after her surgery. The troublemaker Bill went inside Jen’s room, and while she didn’t remember most of it, he had that moment embedded in his mind; at that age, they didn’t exchange any numbers. Years later, the couple had a near-miss moment because they shared the same doctor, but never met while they were being treated, but fate was kind to them because they eventually saw each other again, this time on a dating app for little people, and they’ve been together since then.
The newlyweds and their life-changing decision
When “The Little Couple” aired its first episode, it was quite an eye-opener for those who weren’t familiar with people with dwarfism. Bill and Jen were practically newlyweds back then, however, they spent a lot of time apart, since they were both heavily involved with their individual careers. He had a successful business in New York, while she was a dedicated and thriving neonatologist in one of the top hospitals in Florida. Bill moved to Texas so that they would have more time for each other – to make that happen, they sold their home and Jen went back to New York, so that the couple could take a road trip from Long Island to Houston. Clearly, from the get-go, the viewers loved that the couple really had this amazing chemistry, and had fun crossing nine states in four days. They even had a short side trip to New Orleans,as they said, to experience the magic of the place.
Tried building a family through surrogacy
Just like any other married couple, they dreamed of having children, the normal way. They talked about it, but they both knew that even if they wanted them to be genetically theirs, it would be impractical. Jen would take so many risks due to the stress on her body, especially in their case. There was a whole season of “The Little Couple” in which the narrative was fully dedicated to their fertility tests, egg harvesting, and looking for the ideal surrogate mother. They even went to Los Angeles several times to make it happen, however, the surrogate mother had miscarriages, and so they weren’t successful.
The Kleins became three, adopting a little boy from China
One of the options “The Little Couple” stars Bill and Jen talked about when they first discussed starting a family was through adoption. However, instead of looking for normal, healthy babies, both of them wanted to adopt babies with special needs, just like them. They both experienced how it was to have several health issues growing up, due to their rare condition. They reached out to Martha Osborne, founder of Rainbow Kids, an organization that assists orphanages and other agencies around the world to match those babies to their ideal future parents. The couple wanted a little person to complete their family, and to fast-track the whole process, they widened their search and went international. Eventually, they were introduced to a two-year-old Chinese boy with dwarfism, and the moment they saw pictures of the boy, they could already envision him running around inside their home. Ms. Osborne said that the Kleins were the perfect candidates to be the parents of little persons.
Kept the tradition of calling the first son, William
When the baby boy was introduced to them in photos and videos, people from the adoption agency called him Ben, but the Kleins decided to change his name to William, as in Bill’s family, it was a tradition that the first son is named William. There was a heartwarming story that Bill shared in one of the episodes of TLC’s “The Little Couple.” When Bill’s parents found out that he had dwarfism, his mother told his father that in light of their situation and with all the teasing they received, he could change the name of the baby. Instead of William III, they could use one of the names they created for their other future babies. However, his father was steadfast in his love for his son, and said that no matter what, his son would be his junior.
Happy Gotcha Day to you, William RiJin Klein! We are so lucky to be your parents. #GoldenSon #gotchaday #china #adoption #adoptionislove #littlecouple #momsofinstagram #Will @reallybillklein https://t.co/pmrmQZ5Oxn
— Jennifer Arnold, MD (@JenArnoldMD) March 5, 2021
And then they were four, as they welcomed Zoey into their lives
Not long after they’d taken Will into their home, Bill and Jen filed an adoption paper for another baby. This time, a two-year-old girl from India was found, but it took them 16 months to make it happen. Viewers of “The Little Couple” were teary-eyed when Will met his sister Zoey for the first time. Bill said that they prepared Will so he wouldn’t feel left out when the new addition entered the picture; he was worried that his son might feel as if they were replacing him with another baby. However, when the two siblings met, Zoey was crying as Bill placed her on top of the sofa, but when she noticed Will, she stopped crying and stared at him. Will then kissed her foot to welcome her, and in own his way reassured her that she’s in a great place. There were tears in Jen’s eyes when she witnessed what Will did, because it was so spontaneous. Bill said that it seemed Will was more prepared than they were.
Jen battled cancer and recovered from it
During the second adoption, Jen was diagnosed with Stage 3 Choriocarcinoma, a rare cancer that was due to her non-viable pregnancy, which started in cells that later became the placenta. She couldn’t help but wonder at the irony of her situation, and said, ‘The one time I get pregnant, I get cancer.’ Jen only discovered her condition when she was bleeding profusely while she was in India at that time for Zoey’s adoption in 2013. Due to her medical condition, she returned to Texas for treatment, leaving her husband to take care of the adoption requirements. Fortunately, she recovered from the illness, and is now cancer-free.
The Klein Family in 2022
Over the years, the Klein children, Will and Zoey, had multiple surgical procedures, some of them featured in the reality-TV show, “The Little Couple.” Bill and Jen had already anticipated them, since they’d already experienced the same. The parents felt so stressed each time one of their kids went under the knife, saying that the feeling was way different from the perspective of being the patient, to being the parent. However, they shared that they feel blessed that their kids have the backing of better research, technology and facilities as compared to themselves.
A trip back home for some beach time is the best time #littlecouple #beach #spring #momsofinstagram #momlife #stpetebeach #vacation #relax #familytime @ St. Pete Beach, Florida https://t.co/oTebEUwEfR
— Jennifer Arnold, MD (@JenArnoldMD) April 21, 2022
Will and Zoey’s speech therapy was worth it
One of the things that Bill and Jane focused on was their kids’ speech problems. They enrolled them into speech therapy in 2015, after watching them struggle in expressing themselves; they knew that correcting them early in life would boost their confidence. They had sessions with Anna Eifert, a Senior Speech-Language Pathologist – in the beginning, Anna said Will was limited to one-word utterances, and most of the time it was difficult to understand what he was saying. Zoey, on the other hand, was initially exposed to an Indian language, and it was expected that she would have speech delays. However, today they are articulate, and can clearly express what they want to say without stuttering.
Bill and Jen are still together, strong as ever
During an interview, they said their relationship was far from perfect, but they willingly worked on their problems and found solutions together. Each year, “The Little Couple” fans would ask if they are still together, and Jen wondered why they do that. In 2021, when she had hip surgery, there were rumors that they’d split up because they decided to move to Boston, and most times when someone moved or transferred to another city or state, it would mean a couple has separated. However, Jen updated their fans on the Instagram Live session, saying, ‘I don’t know why there are some rumors that Bill and I were no longer together.’ She explained that she accepted an offer from the Boston Children’s Hospital to be the new Program Director for the Hospital’s Simulator Program.
In 2021, the loyal fans of “The Little Couple” thought that the 15th season of the TV show had been green-lighted by TLC executives. There were rumors that the reason why the show stopped releasing new episodes was that LMNO Productions sued the TLC network, alleging and that the network owed them $7 million. It was also said that Bill and Jen joined the legal fray, because they were advised to become involved so that they could take a slice of that money, which they truly deserved. The action is on-going, but aside from that, the ‘little’ family is going strongly.