“Happy Father’s Day to the man who has always been my biggest supporter,” the 21-year-old captioned an Instagram carousel on Sunday, June 18, sharing throwback photos from his childhood. “Pops, Thank you for your endless sacrifices, your belief in me, you always pointing me to Christ, and the countless memories we’ve made together.”
James continued: “I am grateful to call you my dad, and I’m proud to be your child. Regardless of what anyone may say, your [sic] the best dad I in [sic] the world!”
The first photo in the post showed Jim Bob, now 57, cradling his infant son in his arms while the duo wore matching red shirts. James also included a selfie with his dad and a second baby pic. “Today, and every day, I celebrate you and the incredible father you are,” he wrote. “Love you a Ton! . ❤️ #FathersDay #bestdadever.”
James is the 13th child of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, who share a total of 19 children. Their big brood rose to fame on their TLC series 19 Kids and Counting — and its spinoff, Counting On — both of which were canceled by the network amid controversies involving the couple’s eldest son, Josh Duggar.
Fans have continued to follow along with the Duggar family as tension seemingly arose off camera between Jill, who left Counting On in 2017, and her relatives. The Counting the Cost author, 32, has been vocal about her highs and lows through the years — and recently discussed her ultra-conservative upbringing in the docuseries Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets.
Jill and her husband, Derick Dillard, spoke candidly about their reality TV experience in the Prime Video doc, which premiered earlier this month. While reflecting on the decision to leave Counting On, Jill claimed that she was “never paid” for her participation.
“No check, no cash, no nothing. … We were taken advantage of,” she alleged.
Following a dispute about their contracts, Jim Bob allegedly offered to give his older kids a small sum for their on-camera work amounting to roughly minimum wage. “In order to receive that, you had to sign another deal with my dad [and] his production company, Mad Family Inc.,” Jill claimed. “It would be [for], like, forever. We were automatically like, ‘We’re done.'”
Shortly before Shiny Happy People began streaming, Jim Bob and his wife addressed the “sad” docuseries in a lengthy statement. “This ‘documentary’ paints so much and so many in a derogatory and sensationalized way because sadly that’s the direction of entertainment these days,” they wrote via their family blog on June 1.
The pair — who have been married since 1984 — hinted at their drama with Jill, adding: “We have always believed that the best chance to repair damaged relationships, or to reconcile differences, is through love in a private setting. We love every member of our family and will continue to do all we can to have a good relationship with each one.”
While some of the Duggar family — including Jinger Duggar and cousin Amy Duggar — have praised Jill’s bravery for speaking up, the majority of her siblings have kept quiet about the doc. The Growing Up Duggar coauthor, meanwhile, asserted that she will always love her parents despite their differing perspectives.
“I also realize nobody is perfect (myself included),” she wrote in response to a fan’s DM earlier this month, which she shared via her Instagram Story. “My love for my family’s hasn’t changed … that’s not what this is about.”