“I put myself on a reality show, but I did not do anything that would put me in the tabloids.” Thus spake Kate Gosselin on Monday night’s TLC special Kate: Her Story.

At this point, if you transcribed all of Kate Gosselin’s TV interviews, their total length would probably exceed that of David Copperfield and Bleak House combined, with descriptions of teary pluck and children under duress that might well have made Charles Dickens sob in envy of so much drama parceled out in serialized form for profit.

Certainly, TLC can never complain that Kate has not fulfilled her contract. (“I’m a rule-follower,” she said of her TV commitment this night.) Left with a few weeks to fill the 9 p.m.-Monday void of no new Jon & Kate Plus Eight episodes, she and the cable network enlisted Natalie Morales to be a soothing enabler (“Would you like to set the record straight?”) and prodding inquisitor (“Many think you’re selfish”) for a few hours.

Meanwhile, backstage, Kate was busy trying out some new gray eye-liner that made her look as though she’d rubbed the ashes of her burned-out soul onto her eyelids.

Kate: Her Story — TLC apparently didn’t have the nerve to go with its first choice, Kate Gosselin and the Chamber of Secrets — was a story of isolation in the midst of so many little vital lives. Kate’s contact with her own parents is limited to, “Well, we e-mail.” She communicates with husband Jon via “texting… notes… phone calls, only where it relates to the kids.” She feels lonely: “When you look around and very close, trusted people you’d swear on your life would never ‘cash you in,’ for lack of better words, when people leave your house and tell completely different stories, you tend not to trust people.”

Welling up with tears regularly, she said, “I still think the phone will ring and it’ll be” — pause; tears — “the old Jon.”

Beneath the heavy make-up, formal dress, and an especially elaborate version of the Kate Seagull ‘do, there were glimpses of the good old funny Kate, as when she was asked what she sees when she looks at her children: “I see little balls of promise.”

To those who say the TV show killed her marriage, she argued, “Had we never done the show, it would have been me a nurse, him in I.T., and that would have gotten the better of us even sooner.”

“We did four seasons without paparazzi,” she noted correctly, and certainly those were the seasons that built the fan-base that has alternately embraced and scorned her since the marriage disintegrated. To the charge of being selfish about media attention, she noted that that’s how she supports her “one-parent” family (huh? Jon does still see the kids) and that, “It doesn’t feel selfish. It feels self-less.”

She flashed real anger only once, when the subject of possible infidelity with her bodyguard was raised. “To have Jon fan that into this huge tabloid nightmare, it’s disgusting,” she hissed.

Going existential, Kate said, “Fans [used to] annoy me. Now I see we are because of them.” Of the possibility of doing a Kate-plus-kids show, she said, “I hope to continue with TLC… I would love to do it.”

“The kids miss the crew. The kids miss the filming.”

“I would go back and do it again.”

Is that hard to believe, or is that all too easy to believe?