Fans first met the Duggars in 2008 when their TLC reality series, originally titled 17 Kids and Counting, premiered. The show highlighted the devout Baptist family’s day-to-day lives, from homeschooling to courtships. However, the network suspended the series in May 2015 after it was revealed that Jill’s brother Josh Duggar had molested multiple girls as a teenager.
One month later, Jill and her sister Jessa came forward as two of Josh’s victims. The siblings shared their story during an in-depth interview with Megyn Kelly. “This is something that we chose to do. Nobody asked us to do this,” Jill asserted at the time, adding that she had “forgiven” her brother for his past behavior.
Jill also praised her parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, for how they handled the situation behind closed doors. “Being a mother now, I look back and I realize my parents did such an amazing job for me,” she said in the sit-down. “As a mom, I hope I can set up the same safeguards with my family that they did.”
The Arkansas native welcomed two sons — Israel, born in 2015, and Samuel, born in 2017 — with her husband, Derick Dillard. Although 19 Kids and Counting was officially canceled by TLC in July 2015, Jill, Derick and other members of the Duggar brood returned for a spinoff titled Counting On later that year. After six seasons, the couple exited the series in 2017.
“We found out we didn’t have as much control over our lives as it related to the show and stuff, as we needed,” Jill explained in a YouTube Q&A three years later, noting that she and Derick “don’t regret” the choice they made to leave. “We had to make a decision at that time to kind of put the show aside … to pursue our own goals and everything.”
Though the pair believed they did what was best for them and their kids, not everyone was pleased with the decision. “There’s been some distancing there,” Jill said of her family’s strained relationship. “We’re not on the best terms with some of my family. We’ve had some disagreements, but we’re working toward healing definitely and restoration, but we’re having to kind of just take some time and heal.”
Four months later, Jill told Us Weekly exclusively that there was still “drama” between her and some relatives, adding that she and Derick were “learning to develop boundaries” in therapy.
“We were ready to leave and felt strongly about leaving. … There are definitely some issues there,” she told Us in February 2021. “We definitely feel like we’re in a healthy place now for our family and have control over our lives. … Certain people are more supportive than others. I think it ebbs and flows with a family of that size. Every family has drama and so when you’ve got that many more people giving opinions or whatever, it can get crazy.”
“They’re working through some things,” the pastor said in April 2021 of his sister-in-law and Dillard. “We’re giving them their time to do that … but we’ve got a great relationship [with them].”
Scroll down to learn more about Jill’s ups and downs with her family: