Olivia Plath, Ethan Plath’s wife on TLC’s Welcome to Plathville, grew up just like her husband. One of 10 kids, Olivia was raised in a Christian fundamentalist homeschooling family. She and Ethan even met at a summer camp for similar families.
But the 22-year-old slowly began to break out of that mold as she got older. In a recent Welcome to Plathville interview, Olivia opened up about the process of gaining her independence and breaking away from her restrictive upbringing during her teen years.
Olivia’s family became more conservative as time went on
Growing up, Olivia’s father was a pastor on the weekends, but he had a typical job during the week. Most of the time, she explained, they lived a “typical American life.”
But, according to the Welcome to Plathville star, that all changed when her dad became interested in a much more conservative church. The family started homeschooling, adopted stricter beliefs, and moved to a remote, rural area.
“Our lives changed pretty drastically,” Olivia revealed. “We moved to the neighborhood to a farm, and we became farm kids and pastor’s kids.”
As for her childhood, Olivia was ambivalent about it. While she wouldn’t have traded how she grew up, she didn’t want to “recreate it” for her own children. Her family was too large for her to get a lot of one-on-one attention or time to herself. Olivia wanted to focus more on each of her kids on a personal level.
The ‘Welcome to Plathville’ star knew she wanted more freedom
Long before Olivia met Ethan, she was already questioning her upbringing and her family’s beliefs. Over time, she realized she wanted more out of life – especially independence and freedom to make her own choices.
While the Welcome to Plathville star didn’t have one “defining moment” that led her to leave her childhood way of life behind, she came to realize she didn’t want the cookie-cutter lives she saw around her.
“I’m looking around me and thinking, ‘All of these people have the exact same lives, and they all believe the exact same thing,’” Olivia said of her time in church as a young teen. “I wanted to express myself differently.”
But being different in any capacity was “looked down on” in her circles. If she was going to be fully herself, Olivia realized, she couldn’t do it there.
She found independence through work and a business of her own
Eventually, Olivia found some self-confidence and financial independence by working in construction. She “got a lot of flack” for working in a male-dominated field, but she was proud to be able to earn money with such an important skill.
“I got a lot of flack for it because it wasn’t ‘feminine’ to do a job like that, but I’ve never felt so empowered or confident in myself,” the Welcome to Plathville star said.
Later, Olivia realized that her true passion was photography. She started saving up enough money in her construction jobs to leave town for a few weeks at a time to travel and shoot wedding photos. Eventually, her business took off, and she was able to switch to photography full-time. Her ability to shape the life she wanted gave her more confidence than ever, and she knew she never wanted to go back.