The Duggar family rose to stardom on TLC’s hit shows 19 Kids And Counting and Counting On. The large, conservative Christian family used the platform to showcase its values; They don’t dance, go to the beach, or celebrate Halloween. They don’t hold hands even when dating (they prefer the infamous “side hug”), and Duggar women aren’t supposed to wear pants.
The Duggars adhere to biblical values when it comes to family. Looking at selected scripture (1 Corinthians 13:4-8) could mean ascribing to the belief that, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” But all families argue and the Duggars are no exception. You just won’t find their family feuds on cable TV. “We always say in our family, we praise publicly, but we correct privately,” matriarch Michelle Duggar wrote in a 2015 blog post dispensing marriage advice.
Even in the wake of a massive tabloid story that rocked the family’s world, the Duggars managed to keep their in-fighting from becoming reality TV fodder. But make no mistake, Duggar drama exists, and TLC’s famous family is actually something of a scandal magnet. We’re shining a light on all of it, as we try to figure out which members of the Duggars just don’t get along.
Derick Dillard spilled the tea on Jim Bob Duggar
TLC officially cut ties with Jill (Duggar) Dillard’s husband, Derick Dillard, in 2017 after tweeted transphobic comments about fellow network personality Jazz Jennings. But years later, Derick revealed his exit from Counting On was more layered than meets the eye.
In a December 2019 Twitter thread, Derick implied that patriarch Jim Bob Duggar “negotiated” contact terms on behalf of the entire Duggar family “without telling anyone.” He also alleged that he and Jill weren’t financially compensated when they allowed the network to record their son’s birth, which is why he asked for compensation “for medical expenses,” because “TLC sure made more than that off of us.”
Later that month, Derick elaborated on the compensation claims in a Q&A with fans on Instagram. “For a long time, Jill and I were under the impression that the family didn’t make money from the show,” he wrote in a comment captured by In Touch, adding, “Rather, it was presented to us … as a ministry that TLC periodically subsidized in the form of reimbursements for things like gas, restaurants, travel…But not any actual pay on top of that.” He also implied that Jim Bob pulled all of the strings behind-the-scenes, and said that he and Jill only participated due to threats of “a lawsuit from the family/TLC.”
Back in the Twitter thread, Derick went so far as to say that the show took the family “to the brink of sanity and could have easily destroyed [their] lives.”
Derick Dillard's Duggar feud been brewing for a while
Fans of the Duggars will remember that 19 Kids & Counting ended in 2015 after the molestation allegations against Josh Duggar came out. The show then transformed into Jill & Jessa: Counting On, following the older daughters in the early years of their marriages and pregnancies, before simply being called Counting On.
Derick Dillard alleged on an Instagram post in 2019 that the Dillard family felt obligated to film, even though Jill (Duggar) Dillard, who was one of Josh’s victims, wanted to quit after Josh’s scandal broke. “We were pressured to think that we were required to [film] and that we would get sued if we didn’t,” Derick wrote in an Instagram comment captured by The Sun. “It’s not going to look good for TLC when it’s exposed that they pressured an abuse victim to continue filming when we tried to quit.”
In another comment on the same post (via In Touch), Derick implied that his family’s participation on the show stopped being volunteering because “volunteerism assumes that you can leave without serious risks such as legal/financial threats in addition to extreme emotional pressure from within and without your family…”
Derick also said in a March 2020 interview with the YouTube channel Without A Crystal Ball that although “there [have] definitely been some ups and downs over the past few years,” he and Jill “have been seeing a licensed counselor which has helped a lot.”
Did Jim Bob Duggar snub his grandson on his birthday?
Jill (Duggar) Dillard and Derick Dillard celebrated their son Israel’s fifth birthday amid the coronavirus pandemic in April 2020. The family shared details of Israel’s day with fans on their blog: “We did a special birthday breakfast and are planning a drive this afternoon to say hey to friends from our car before we make our way to Derick’s mom and stepdad’s for a simple celebration in their front yard (keeping our distance)!” the post said.
The Duggar family also sent Israel birthday wishes via Instagram. “It’s hard to believe you are 5 years old already! You are such a sweet boy with a tender heart and a curious mind!” the post read in part. “We can’t wait to give you big hugs when it’s safe again!!”
The accompanying picture (above) featured Israel posing from inside his house with his grandma, Michelle Duggar, and a couple of his aunts, who peeked through a window.
Missing from both posts is any mention of Israel’s grandpa, Jim Bob Duggar. Could this be a side effect of his apparent feud with his son-in-law Derick? If so, who would snub a five-year-old? Potential feuds aside, wouldn’t you want to be as close to your grandson as possible on his birthday?
Is Jill Dillard feuding with Jim Bob Duggar, too?
Derick Dillard continued his social media bombing of Jim Bob Duggar when he accused the patriarch of shutting his own daughter out of the family. Jill (Duggar) Dillard has seemingly been loyal to her husband throughout his dirty laundry airing campaign, so Jim Bob has allegedly made it as hard as he possibly can for her to see other members of her family.
“We’re not allowed at the house when JB isn’t there,” Derick claimed in an Instagram comment (via In Touch). He added, “Jill even had to ask JB permission to go over to the house to help her sister when she was in labor because her sister wanted her help, but Jill couldn’t provide the assistance until we got it cleared with JB,” he continued. Yikes!
The Dillards and most of the Duggars live near each other in Arkansas, so getting together should be easy — at least, logistically speaking. But the Dillards were conspicuously absent from a large group “Family Night” photo that Jill’s sister Joy-Anna (Duggar) Forsyth posted to Instagram in August 2019. “It’s hard to get all of us together now that we’re getting older and have our own schedules,” Joy-Anna captioned the photo, adding, “Not all of us were able to make it tonight…” Granted, it’s possible the Dillards were just busy, but there has been lots of speculation that their absence from this family gathering, and others, is a an indicator of a big rift.
Josh Duggar's brother-in-law said what?
Anna Duggar (neé Keller) stood by her husband Josh Duggar’s side amid his molestation scandal, as well as his exposure in the hacking of a website that facilitated adulterous affairs, of which he was a member. Addressing the struggles in her marriage, Anna said on Jill & Jessa: Counting On, “It is such a betrayal for a spouse to go through what we’re walking through. … Not only was it a betrayal against me, but it was also a betrayal for those that call themselves Christian.”
She continued. “I knew that my only hope was to cling to my faith, because I know if I went off of what I was feeling, I would turn a mess into a disaster.”
Anna’s brother Daniel Keller would’ve been there to help clean up the disaster. In 2015, People reported that he commented on Jessa (Duggar) Seewald’s Facebook post that alluded to her brother’s discretions. Keller wrote, “I have told her I would pay for her to move out here [with] me and pay for her kidz. I don’t think Josh will see that this is a big deal and be truly broken till that happens.” He continued, “She said she’s staying where she’s at. But I won’t stop trying to get that pig out of our family.”
This plan was probably doomed, as In Touch reported Keller is one of three siblings estranged from his family.
Ben Seewald might make Thanksgiving uncomfortable
It should come as no surprise that the Duggar’s conservative religious beliefs are matched by conservative republican politics. Jim Bob Duggar is a former member of the Arkansas House Of Representatives. He also lost a bid “for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate” in 2002, according to Buzzfeed News. Given Duggar’s conservative sensibilities, it’s no stretch of the imagination to think his views don’t align with son-in-law Ben Seewald, who is married to Jessa (Duggar) Seewald.
According to Raw Story, Ben has expressed support for the left-leaning Black Lives Matter movement by retweeting evangelical preacher Russell Moore who was grieving the death of Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man shot by police. Romper reported that he also retweeted Matt Smethurst, the managing editor of The Gospel Coalition, about the GOP’s hypocricy when it comes to abortion. And while the Duggar family made it clear that they voted for Trump because he would “turn America back to God,” (per Inquisitr), in 2017 Seewald tweeted, “I voted–Just not for Trump or Hillary. I’m just saying I don’t choose to identify myself with either of those parties first and foremost.”
To be clear, Seewald agrees with many Duggar beliefs, but it’s possible that his more open-minded political leanings could cause tension with some of his in-laws.
Cousin Amy Duggar King, the black sheep
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar’s kids are Amy Duggar King’s cousins (her mother is Jim Bob’s sister), but viewers have always known that she grew up under a more liberal regime than they did. It’s clear from her appearances on the show that the Duggars are intrigued and entertained by the free-spirit who can dance and drink alcohol.
As Derick Dillard’s rift with his in-laws became undeniable, Amy clearly took a side. “You really are shedding some light on some very dark gray areas! Keep it up!” she tweeted at him after his scandalous Christmastime Instagram Q&A.
According to The Hollywood Gossip, Amy later recorded an interview with the reality TV vlog Without A Crystal Ball, however, the video was quickly “marked private” after Amy allegedly said that an undisclosed person threatened her with a lawsuit. “In other words? Jim Bob totally pulled some strings, made some calls and got Amy silenced,” The Hollywood Gossip inferred. Without naming her uncle, Amy confirmed the effort to keep her quiet, tweeting, “I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again…A [woman’s] voice should never be silenced.”
In his own interview with Without A Crystal Ball, Derick said it’s a shame that Amy is being prevented from speaking her truth. If Amy was even remotely on the outs with the Duggars, crossing the line to Derick’s side of this family argument has probably assured that their relationship will get worse before it ever gets better.
Austin Forsyth may be heading down a slippery slope
Austin Forsyth and Joy-Anna (Duggar) Forsyth may have slightly broken courtship rules on an episode of Counting On but some accidental touching probably pales in comparison to potentially damaging the family’s fortune.
Austin appears to be on good terms with his in-laws, but that may change depending on how a pending lawsuit goes. According to In Touch, he was sued in October 2019 by a couple who bought a house he flipped. The lawsuit alleged that Forsyth assured them he got a permit for the septic tank on their property but after the tank began to leak, and investigator determined that not only was a permit not obtained, but the “land was unsuitable for the septic system that was installed.” A new system is now required, which could cost them an excess of $20,000 and they are seeking to rescind their purchase, “or, in the alternative, for damages suffered, for punitive damages, costs, attorney’s fees, and all other relief this Court deems necessary.”
While this feud is outside of the family, it could cause one inside of it if Austin loses the battle and needs financial help. After all, Jim Bob famously made the men courting his daughters fill out a lengthy questionnaire that included “a division pertaining to the men’s personal finances” (per the Daily Mail).
If Dereck Dillard is to be believed, Jim Bob Duggar tightly controls everything from the family’s finances to it’s reputation. A son-in-law threatening any of the above should tread carefully.
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