Jane Kilcher broke the news in late July 2023 that her husband of 17 years, Atz Lee Kilcher, was divorcing her for undisclosed reasons. They are the stars of “Alaska: The Last Frontier,” a reality TV show on Discovery Channel, which premiered in December 2011 and followed the Kilcher family, who lives the bush lifestyle in the – to many – harsh conditions on a homestead several miles from Homer, Alaska. They were entertaining, so Discovery Channel aired its most recent, 11th season, in October 2022. While Atz Lee will likely stay for the 12th season, Jane may choose not to. She appeared in all six episodes of the last season, but it was evident that she had less screen time. Additionally, she starred in an unrelated TV show, “Bering Sea Gold,” with her friend and fellow homesteader and fisherwoman, Emily Rieder, in December 2022.

It’s unclear how her divorce will affect Jane’s net worth; she will be well off if they split amicably, but financially struggle if there’s bad blood, and disagreement

Yule and Ruth started the Kilcher family homestead on a 160-acre or 0.64 sqkm property that the Alaskan government sold them for a mere US$20 in 1936. After witnessing other homesteads falling apart due to family disagreements, particularly regarding inheritance, Yule created a conservation easement, Kilcher Family Trust covering the property. Atz, Atz Lee’s father, and his brother, Otto, Atz Lee’s uncle, are the leading cast members alongside their wives and children, and are the primary decision-makers in the show.

That is an important distinction because, according to Yule’s rules, Atz and Otto’s six sisters, who don’t appear in front of the cameras, have presumably equal ownership in the trust. Continuing to benefit from its finance requires them never to split the homestead and ensure that their children and grandchildren can preserve the family legacy on the property that grew to 640 acres or 2.6sqkm in 2023. Here’s what’s happened to Jane in recent years, and whether there were indications of her divorce from Atz Lee.

Atz Lee quietly initiated the divorce

Jane Kilcher, who married Atz Lee in 2006, will make drastic changes following her divorce in July 2023. She didn’t provide extra details, only saying that her husband initiated the separation and that she felt hurt, but that the split won’t stop her from living her life. Depending on the divorce proceedings, Jane will either relocate to a separate house on the property, or find a new job possibly away from Alaska.

Her first TV appearance outside the family show, in “Bering Sea Gold” in 2023, suggests that she was willing to seek prominence elsewhere. Additionally, Jane will undoubtedly receive some funds from her divorce; their marriage lasted for nearly two decades and they have two children, daughter Piper and son Etienne -Etienne appeared in “Alaska: The Last Frontier” a few times, but only in recent years, while Piper did not. That was intentional, as their parents wanted to protect them from the negative aspects of a reality TV star’s life. Nonetheless, they might also have to change their lives following their parents’ divorce, mainly because Jane’s net worth is currently undetermined, perhaps around $300,000 in the best-case scenario.

Jane joined the show in 2011

“Alaska: The Last Frontier” initially focused on current homestead leaders, Atz and Otto, and their wives, Bonnie and Charlotte. It gradually shifted focus to their relatives, children, and children’s families. Even when we learned more about Atz Lee and his siblings Jewel, Karl, Hannah, and Shane, and his cousins, Eivin, Levi, August, and Torrey, Discovery Channel lacked screen time to focus on all their lives in any great detail. Furthermore, some Kilchers purposefully kept private information to themselves.

Therefore, we only know that Jane and Atz Lee met when they were pre-teens; Jane established a habit of counting the years since they first met on her birthday every 14 September. Matching that with other information allowed the show’s fans to conclude that the couple met when Jane was 12, and named Christina Jane Freeman, and Atilla Lee “Atz” Kilcher was a year or two younger.

Another obstacle was the distance; although Jane was born in Homer, she grew up in Anchorage and just returned to Homer at 12. She then lived ‘surrounded by storms and men’ while Atz Lee was trying to get his music career off the ground, then was busy building his cabin.

They married other people and had children; Jane had Piper Kassouni from marriage to Dicron Kassouni in 2003, while Atz Lee had Etienne with his ex-wife Nantia Krisintu in 2001. However, once they finally got together and began dating, they had no issues with having a blended family. Jane and Atz Lee married on 7 November 2006, and were ecstatic when they joined the show half a decade later.

Their problems started in 2015

Jane and Atz Lee had a solid marriage and clearly loved each other, based on the screen time that they had. They also loved their children, spending a lot of time with them, but keeping them off-camera to ensure they had a peaceful childhood.

With that said, the viewers could see the first cracks in their marriage in August 2015. Atz Lee was hiking in Otter Cove, near the household, when he suffered an horrendous fall that nearly ended his life. He survived with a broken arm, shoulder, hip, and ankle, and about 15 other broken bone, as well as punctured his lung and crushing ribs. Jane scolded him, but didn’t think twice as she nursed him back to health, while caring for the immediate and extended family. Thankfully, she had part of the summer to prepare resources so that her family didn’t freeze or starve during the upcoming long winter.

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Unfortunately, Atz Lee didn’t return the favor in the way that everyone expected. He isolated himself instead of loving Jane and retaking some of the workload. Atz Lee built a cabin in the woods to prove to himself and the viewers that he was capable and strong, and while he succeeded and returned home in an excellent mood, it distanced him from Jane and their two children. Additionally, he was accused of using a helicopter during a black bear hunt that August, and eventually paid a $17,500 fine for the misconduct; the court appearances and a dent in the budget undoubtedly made things worse.

Jane may have been upset in 2017

Atz Lee sued Otter Cove Resort in 2017 for not putting up proper signs, and demanded $100,000 for his injuries, claiming that his fall wouldn’t have happened with enough warnings. He also claimed that the company should develop a better protection system to prevent falls over the precipice at the resort. He didn’t win his case, but Atz Lee’s actions may have triggered Jane.

Considering how stressful it was and how her husband reacted to her taking the brunt of the physical work and emotional reassurances, she might have wanted to forget the whole thing. One piece of evidence is that Atz Lee and Jane renewed their vows in a special ceremony in 2016 and seemed delighted that they’d restored their connection and could move on.

There were no warning signs

It was hard to see the divorce coming, because COVID-19 stressed the family members, so they acted out of the ordinary during the lockdown. Additionally, the restrictions made filming difficult, reducing the number of episodes. Most seasons had around 20 episodes, but season 10 had 12, and season 11 only six. Jane commented on the importance of understanding the filming restrictions. She called the hate towards the family unsubstantiated and illogical, because ‘the show films about 200 hours and the editors create several 40-minute episodes, so they cannot authentically capture everything that happens in their lives.’

Atz Lee rarely mentioned her

Additionally, the two have shown no strong indications that the situation was dire. Atz Lee rarely featured her on his Instagram account, @atzlee, where he’s most active. Last year, he mentioned Jane’s funny remarks while building a retirement cabin for his father. The year before, Atz Lee called Jane his ‘huntress, fisherwoman, and wife, who plays music and skis with him and is always up for a challenge and a perfect example of an Alaskan woman.’

On the other hand, Atz Lee posted a picture of the forget-me-not flower about two weeks before the divorce news surfaced. Although it may be unrelated, some fans wondered if it was a subtle request for Jane not to forget him after their split. This name for the scorpion grasses plant stems from a story about a German knight who threw the flower to his beloved before he drowned, asking her to remember him.

Jane was more loving

Jane stopped being active on her Instagram account, @janekilcher, in 2019, but switched to her Facebook account, @JaneyKilcher. She gushed about Atz Lee in August 2022, appreciating that they had known each other for 36 years, calling him her favorite musician, funniest friend, a good fishing partner, and the kindest hunter. Jane also shared a video of a song for Atz Lee that she wrote lyrics for in February, noting that she knew that she would marry a poet, and did so.

She handled the divorce gracefully

While Atz Lee didn’t comment on their divorce publicly, Jane handled the rumors gracefully. She posted a Facebook selfie on 23 July 2023, and wrote, ‘Here we go. Atz Lee is divorcing me, and it is very unfortunate, but I cannot control it. I lost my best friend, and it hurts, but I guess that is life. It won’t stop me.’ She defended the healing black eye on the photo a few days later, saying that it happened when she got scoped on TV and that she has nothing bad to say about Atz Lee, only wanting people to leave her children alone and only come after her.

Jane didn’t elaborate afterwards or give hints, and instead used her Facebook to promote positive things. She noted that she was happy to be back home in June 2023 and that her fans should watch her special appearance in the debut episode of “Bering Sea Gold” season 15 in December 2022, and the rest of the episodes. Jane added that Emily had been one of her most loyal friends and that it was an honor to join her in digging gold under Alaskan ice, which is typically a man’s domain.

Also, Jane expressed her sadness that a storm damaged people’s residences and belongings while she was in Nome, Alaska. She also live-streamed her FaceTime real-time discussion with Emily for the season finale in February 2023, revealing her genuine love for the project. Jane also noted that her fans could hear from her on her first podcast, an episode of “Gold Prospectors Space,” from March this year.

She was weight shamed

Jane’s weight has never been the show’s focus; besides being a homesteader, she was portrayed as a loving wife, mother, fisherwoman, and hunter. However, she admitted via Facebook that trolls had been attacking her and her marriage, even going as far as sending screenshots of pictures when she looked worn out and dirty after a few days of not showering. She said on 18 January 2023 that she managed to ignore most, but that five of the same trolls continue to bash her even in her most triumphant moments.

Jane’s last post about her weight dates to 8 December 2018, when she wrote that ‘people had horrible comments about my weight, looks, character, and marriage, but that I’m a proud Kilcher and that Internet trolls needed to be shut down because their comments are untrue and plain hurtful.’ She clarified in the comments that she was a US clothing size eight, comparable to international size S (small) or EU size 38. Regardless, she received hate for being overweight, and was called out for being cold towards Atz Lee because she hates public displays of affection. Those comments were unusual, because her weight didn’t change drastically in the show. Moreover, she seemed slimmer and more athletic in the 11th season.

Jane’s earnings are tied to the Kilchers

Divorce proceedings may last a year or two, depending on potential appeals and objections on one or both sides. CelebrityNetWorth.com lists Jane’s wealth at US$2 million, but it’s much lower, even while she’s married. Her ability to do many things in Alaska with her husband and children is connected to the homestead and joint resources. Kilcher Family Trust, with eight trustees, two brothers and six sisters, is probably worth close to $20 million.

Atz Lee’s father is one of the trustees, not him directly. Therefore, Jane’s soon-to-be ex-husband likely gets a percentage for respecting the conditions and staying close to his father, and Jane only benefits as a spouse. She will probably get some of his wealth, but the court must still reveal how much of it is in Atz Lee’s name, and whether he has money or possessions. Although he’s a musician like his father, he hasn’t released any albums, but has one song, “Wanderlust,” from 2010 on Apple Music, although probably didn’t earn much from royalties.

The court will determine her net worth

Outside of divorce, potential child and spousal support, Jane may increase her wealth through TV appearances. If she’s invited, most of Jane’s future income will be from what she earns through Discovery Channel’s salaries in the yet-unannounced 12th season of “Alaska: The Last Frontier” and possibly the 16th “Bering Sea Gold” season. Each family member probably received $1,000 to $3,000 per episode from Discovery Channel in the first few seasons; that number likely reached $5,000 to $50,000 per episode per person in the 10th and 11th seasons.

However, Discovery Channel presumably paid the salaries to the family trust or a business instead of every cast member. Thus, court documents will show how much Jane has received and whether she invested her proceeds outside her family. Although there are no signs that she wants to, she could leverage her social media following to promote products or services. With that in mind, Jane may have earned $40,000 for eight episodes of “Bering Sea Gold”, and $30,000 to $300,000 for six episodes of “Alaska: The Last Frontier.” Unless she has undisclosed businesses and until her divorce is finalized, Jane’s net worth is in the low hundreds of thousands of US dollars, but it could grow to as much as US$1 million.

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