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Josie Kellyn (Bates) Balka is the tenth of Gil and Kelly Bates' nineteen children. She is married to Kelton Balka, and they have two children, Willow and Hazel Balka.

Early Life

Josie as a baby

Josie Kellyn (Bates) Balka was born on August 4, 1999, to Gil Bates and Kelly Jo Callaham. She was the couple's tenth child, and they went on to have nine more children after her.

As her older sisters married and moved out, Josie stepped up to fill in the gap around the house. She is good at directing and organizing her younger siblings on projects at home. She is said to be loyal, dependable, and encouraging. Although she is generally quiet, when around people she knows she is giggly and fun.[1]

Childhood Education

Josie was homeschooled. She and her siblings were raised as active participants of Bill Gothard's Institute in Basic Life Principles.



Josie met Kelton Balka in 2014 at a piano recital, although the two did not connect much. The following summer, they got to talking after a church service and become friends. Later that year, Josie ended their friendship, and she and her parents felt she was too young to be in a serious relationship. [2]

In November of 2016, the two reconnected when Josie accompanied her family on a trip to Kelton's school so his roommate Bobby Smith could ask Josie's sister Tori to begin courting. The two talked cordially, but began texting after that trip. They spent the next semester talking regularly.[2]

Josie and Kelton shortly after beginning their courtship

On August 10, 2017, the couple announced that they were dating.[3]

A screenshot of the since-deleted engagement photo

In the fall of 2017, Kelton asked Josie's parents for permission to begin courting her, which they granted. In January of 2018, the two spent a day together in Gatlinburg, TN, and at the Emerts Cove Covered Bridge Kelton officially asked Josie to court.[2] This courtship was publicly announced on January 24, 2018.[4]


On June 19, 2018, Kelton Balka proposed to Josie, and she said yes.[2] On June 21, 2018, photographer Emily Klarer shared a photo of Josie with Kelton on her instagram account with a caption about shooting their engagement photos. This photo was later deleted, as were comments about the engagement on Josie's account. [5]

Josie and Kelton's first official engagement photo

On June 22, 2018, the couple officially announced their engagement on UpTV. Kelton arrived at Josie's work and sent her on a scavenger hunt that began in Knoxville, TN, and led to Arches National Park in Utah. Each stop of the scavenger hunt included a new charm for Josie's charm bracelet. At the final stop, Kelton proposed, and Josie said yes.[6]

Josie and Kelton at their wedding


Josie married Kelton Balka on October 5, 2018. The marriage took place outdoors at Cove Lake State Park in Caryville, TN. Her father, Gil Bates, officiated the wedding. Her sister Alyssa Webster was the matron of honor, and her bridesmaids were her sisters Katie and Carlin Bates, sister-in-law Whitney Bates, future sister-in-law Ariana Balka, and friend Makayla Landrum. Her flower girls were her nieces Allie Webster and Brooklyn Paine and her future sister-in-law Kiersten Balka. Her brother Trace Bates was among the groomsmen. Her dress was designed by Leanne Marshall. [7]

Josie and Kelton with Willow


On February 13, 2019, Josie and Kelton announced that they are expecting their first child, who is due in July of 2019. [8] On March 28, 2019, they announced that the baby would be a girl named Willow Kristy Balka. [9]

At 2:23 am on July 19, 2019, Josie gave birth to her first daughter, Willow Kristy Balka. She weighed 6 lb, 10 oz, and was 19 inches long.

On September 9, 2020, it was announced via Josie's Instagram page that they had been expecting a baby that would have been due in March 2021, but she had had a miscarriage the previous month.[10] On August 25, 2021, Josie announced via her Instagram page that it was the 1 year anniversary of her miscarriage, saying

Josie and Kelton with Newborn Hazel

'One year ago we lost an Angel. You were so tiny, but so loved. You made us stronger, you made us love deeper, and you will never be forgotten. 08-25-2020'[11]

On January 5th, 2021, they announced they were expecting their second child in June 2021.[12] On February 18, 2021, they announced the child would be a girl and her name would be Hazel.[13]

On June 14, 2021, Josie gave birth to her second daughter, Hazel Sloane Balka. She weighed 6 pounds and 3 ounces, and measured 18 inches long.[14]


Josie with her sister Tori and brother Trace at their college graduation


Josie began studying cosmetology at Crown College of the Bible in 2016.[15] She finished her last semester in December of 2017.[16] On May 7, 2018, Josie graduated with a degree in cosmetology.[17]

Cosmetology Career

Josie currently works as a stylist at R&Co Salon in Knoxville, TN.[6]

Josie and her brother Nathan in a Bringing Up Bates ad

Television Career

Josie appeared on the TLC show 19 Kids and Counting many times as a child.

In 2012, TLC aired one season of the show United Bates of America, which focused on Josie's family.

In 2015, UpTV began airing a similar show, Bringing Up Bates, which is currently in its eighth season. Josie is regularly featured on this show.

Wedding Involvement

Josie has been involved in the following weddings:

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