Pat Fagan, a bouncer at Legends Lounge, calls Jon's recent night away from home completely innocent – even though he did show up with a woman who was not his wife.
"They seemed like casual friends," says Fagan. "There was no romantic anything. They weren't gazing into each other eyes."
Fagan also shoots down any suggestion that Gosselin has been spotted without his wedding ring. "He always has his wedding band on. He talks about his kids all the time. He loves his family."
According to Dustin Sands, a family friend who has known Jon for nearly 20 years, Gosselin just needs a little downtime from raising eight kids – and starring on TLC's Jon & Kate Plus 8, a reality show about their lives. "The guy just needs to be cut some slack once in while when he wants to relax a bit," says Sands.
This week, Gosselin admitted to showing poor judgment for his late night out but insists he's not going to give up on any of his friendships just because he's on TV.
Brian Sep, a longtime friend, supports this view, too, saying, "He's just hanging out, relaxing with his friends." In fact, Sep believes his friend doesn't get enough opportunities to unwind. "Honestly, he doesn't go out that much," says Sep. "It seems like he's on house lockdown. He's a fulltime Dad."
Although Jon admitted to PEOPLE in February that fame is putting some tension in his marriage, friends remain optimistic about the couple's future. "They have their disagreements but he's a family-oriented guy," says Sands. "I don't think he'd put that on the line."