Launched to fame via TLC reality show 19 Kids and Counting, the Duggars became renowned for preaching wholesome values. But when a dark family secret came to light in 2015, everything changed. As a result, the show was swiftly canceled after ten seasons. But as you’re about to discover, the Duggar clan have plenty more skeletons in their closets.
40. Jill’s midwife credentials have been disputed
The founder of the Labor Sit midwife service, Jill Duggar even assisted in the delivery of Gideon – the son of her sister Joy-Anna – in 2018. However, some fans have wondered whether she’s truly equipped for such a role. Jill’s midwife education doesn’t actually extend beyond the CPM competency certificate. And most people in that field also have to study for the Certified Nurse Midwife license before finding a job.
39. Jeremy Vuolo avoids the internet to reduce temptation
Jeremy Vuolo is the minister husband of Jinger Duggar, and he goes to drastic measures to maintain his purity. Apart from email, he reportedly doesn’t use the internet at all. Appearing on a Little People, Big World podcast in 2019, Vuolo admitted that he hasn’t been able to access the world wide web on his phone for roughly six years. He said, “I don’t want all that temptation in my hand.”
38. The Duggars were accused of staging a charity event
We all know the majority of reality TV is semi-scripted. But even so, you wouldn’t expect a charity event to be staged just for the cameras. Yet, that’s exactly what the Duggars were accused of doing in 2015 at a thrift store in Arkansas. The family were seen handing out food items to those in need during one particular episode. But those grateful recipients were allegedly fans who’d been prompted by producers to act like they were impoverished.
37. Derick was rumored to have had an affair
In 2017 Jill’s husband Derick quoted a scripture passage on social media which led many of his followers to believe he was coming clean about an affair. Taken from Proverbs 6:32, the post read, “He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself.” The following day Derick paraphrased Proverbs 7:4 with the words, “To keep you from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words.”
36. Michelle participated in an anti-LGBTQ campaign
Apparently, Michelle doesn’t appear to believe in equal rights for the LBGTQ community. In 2015 she encouraged her fellow locals to oppose an anti-discrimination law called Ordinance 119 which allowed transgendered individuals to use the restroom of their choosing. The matriarch sent out a robocall to local residents which said, “I doubt that Fayetteville parents would stand for a law that would endanger their daughters or allow them to be traumatized by a man joining them in their private space.”
35. Derick claims Jim Bob negotiated contracts without the family’s knowledge
One of the many accusations Derick has leveled at his father-in-law revolves around contract negotiations with TLC. In 2019 he alleged to his Twitter followers that Jim Bob had sorted out financial terms with the network without his family knowing. Derick also claimed that he and wife Jill never received a cent for allowing the cameras to film the birth of their son.
34. Josh was sued by a DJ for using his photo on dating sites
In order to keep his identity on OkCupid a secret, married man Josh used a picture of Hollywood DJ Matthew James McCarthy on his profile. Unfortunately for Josh, his catfishing landed him in court in 2016. James sued him on the grounds that both his emotional wellbeing and professional reputation had suffered as a result of the media attention. However, the judge ended up ruling against him the following year.
33. Derick was accused of animal cruelty
In 2015 PETA demanded that Derick say sorry after he uploaded a video in which he appeared to be aiming his sled towards a cat. Jill’s husband can be seen barreling downhill in the snow shouting, “Move, cat” at a nearby feline in the Instagram clip. The animal rights organization subsequently responded, “I hope you’ll publicly apologize for your actions and remind your followers that Jesus’ command to ‘do unto others’ includes all of God’s creatures.”
32. Jim Bob is allegedly restricting Jill’s family time
According to Derick, his wife Jill has to ask her father permission to see her family. In December 2019 Derick wrote on Instagram, “We’re not allowed at the house when JB isn’t there.” He also claimed that midwife Jill had to wait to enter the family residence even when her sister went into labor because she didn’t have the go-ahead from Jim Bob at the time.
31. The Duggars are allegedly aligned with a misogynistic Christian group
Also known as the Quiverfull Movement, the Christian Patriarchy is a fringe movement which believes that women should be entirely subservient to men. According to reports, the Duggars also subscribe to this theory and are friends with one of its most vocal advocates: former Vision Forum Ministries president Doug Phillips. The latter was forced to resign from his position of the Vision Forum Ministries after he admitted to adultery.
30. Michelle tried to stop a local business obtaining a liquor licence
In 2009 Michelle protested against a Fayetteville business’ application for an alcohol licence. She told 40/29 News at the time, “Personally, I don’t think alcohol needs to be convenient. I think it needs to be placed in a place where adults can get to it and they will have a choice to get it.” But Michelle came under fire from other locals who argued that she was ruining the store owner’s livelihood.
29. Jim Bob is thinking of suing Derick
Derick Dillard has often threatened to expose the Duggars’ secrets in a book. But his father-in-law seems determined to prevent this from ever happening. According to reports in May 2020, Jim Bob is thinking of suing the husband of his daughter Jill to ensure that his family don’t get caught up in any more controversy.
28. Amy claims to be wild in the bedroom
Of course, this may be a little TMI for some. But in a 2018 chat with People magazine, Amy revealed that she and husband Dillon King enjoy a very healthy sex life. In fact, she claimed that the pair are often at it like rabbits. Amy was also happy to confess that she and Dillon also like to “keep it fresh [and] keep it wild.”
27. Jim Bob reportedly once disowned Jinger
In 2019 reports emerged that Jinger had been disowned by her father over her move to Los Angeles. Often seen as the most rebellious member of the family, Jinger hadn’t been on particularly good terms with Jim Bob for years. An insider claimed to The Hollywood Gossip a year later that the patriarch had since reunited with his daughter, but only out of fear that he would otherwise be portrayed in a negative light.
26. Ben has different political beliefs from the rest of his family
Jessa’s husband Ben Seewald may share many of the family’s religious beliefs, but it’s a different story when it comes to politics. Raw Story reports that Ben has previously lent his support to Black Lives Matter, remarked upon the hypocrisy of anti-abortion campaigners and revealed that he didn’t vote for Donald Trump to become president. And these are all viewpoints which sit at odds with the Duggars’ conservative stance.
25. Jim Bob “snubbed” his grandson’s fifth birthday
In April 2020 the Duggar family took to Instagram to wish Jill and Derick’s son Israel a happy fifth birthday. Michelle also stopped by to see to mark the celebration with her grandson. However, Jim Bob was nowhere to be seen, leading some to believe that the patriarch had snubbed the celebrations due to his ongoing beef with Derick.
24. Michelle reportedly once got a gay crew member fired
Michelle’s apparent homophobia surfaced once again when she reportedly got an openly gay crew member fired from the production of the Duggars’ reality show. The matriarch found out about the man’s sexuality after allegedly asking producers whether New York City was “overrun by gays.” After being confronted directly by Michelle about the issue, the individual was apparently dismissed “due to causing conflicts with the talent.”
23. Amy has reportedly been silenced by Jim Bob
It’s clear which side of the Derick/Jim Bob feud Amy Duggar King is on. In January 2020 she tweeted in response to Derick’s many claims, “You really are shedding some light on some very dark gray areas! Keep it up!” Amy also appears to have got on the wrong side of JB herself. A revealing vlog interview with Without A Crystal Ball was set to private after rumors surfaced about a potential lawsuit filed by the patriarch.
22. Austin was sued by disgruntled house buyers
Joy-Anna’s husband Austin became yet another member of the Duggar family to face legal difficulties in 2019. The man was sued by the couple he’d sold his house to after they began experiencing problems with its septic tank. After the tank started leaking, the pair discovered that contrary to Austin’s claims, a permit for it hadn’t been obtained prior to its sale. As a result, the new owners were apparently left facing a $20,000 replacement bill.
21. Jim Bob and Michelle monitor their kids’ phones
Parents monitoring their kids’ phones is nothing new, and Jim Bob and Michelle fully admit to keeping tabs on their children’s mobile usage no matter how old they are. In a Q and A session on Instagram, the pair also claimed that their offspring don’t have a problem being kept track of.
20. Jessa compared abortion to the Holocaust
It’s no surprise that a family as strongly fundamentalist as the Duggars are pro-life. But Jessa took their belief to a whole new level when she likened abortion to the Holocaust in a 2014 Instagram post. Even more astounding is the fact that the young woman made the remark after a trip to the United States Memorial Holocaust Museum.
19. Michelle wasn’t always so strait-laced
Some former high school buddies claim that Michelle hasn’t always been the wholesome conservative she now purports to be. As a cheerleader, the mother of the clan allegedly used to party regularly with the high school soccer team. Meanwhile, previous neighbors have claimed that she was asked to cover up after repeatedly mowing the lawn while scantily clad.
18. Josh and Anna’s wedding kiss was enhanced
Josh and Anna’s wedding kiss was such cringeworthy viewing that you can easily believe it was – as they claimed – the very first time they’d locked lips. However, the reality was even worse. The TLC sound department decided to add extra sound effects in order to make the smooch appear more romantic.
17. Jim Bob and Michelle once used birth control
Not for the first time, the Duggars were accused of hypocrisy in 2016. On this occasion, Jim Bob revealed in a blog post that he and his wife once made use of the pill. The couple, who are now famously against birth control, began using the contraceptive shortly after getting married, as they didn’t want to start a family immediately.
16. Amy was born out of wedlock
And Jim Bob and Michelle aren’t the only family members who’ve appeared to have trouble practising what they preach. The former’s sister Deanna didn’t marry her partner Terry until 2006, yet their daughter Amy was born 20 years earlier.
15. Michelle struggled with bulimia
The matriarch of the family became a more sympathetic figure when she disclosed her teenage battle with bulimia. She first made the revelation in the book Growing Up Duggar – written by her eldest four daughters. Michelle eventually overcame the eating disorder, however, hoping to show her 19 children how to avoid succumbing to such pressures.
14. Josh and Anna lied about paying off their taxes
Following a 2015 report that Josh and Anna Duggar owed nearly $4,000 to Arkansas state, the couple claimed that the debt had been cleared. However, they were soon left red-faced when the Washington County Circuit Court clerk revealed that, in fact, it hadn’t received a cent.
13. Michelle said that wives should satisfy their husbands’ sexual desires
One of the more troubling statements to emerge from the Duggar family to date has come from Michelle. The mother of the clan rightfully faced criticism after telling Today in 2014 that women should “be available” for their husbands sexually, even if they are tired or pregnant.
12. Josh was an Ashley Madison client
During the hacking of adultery website Ashley Madison in 2015, the scandal-hit Josh was found to be one of its many clients. In fact, the Duggar family member had not just one but two paid-for profile accounts.
11. Josh was alleged to have assaulted a porn star
Yes, it’s him again. But this time, Josh was actually the victim of a scandal. Specifically, the eldest Duggar child was alleged in 2015 to have assaulted porn actress Danica Dillon during a consensual sexual encounter at a Philadelphia strip joint. However, the star later admitted that she made up the charges and subsequently dropped her lawsuit against him.
10. The Duggars’ left a gun lying down next to their five-year-old child
The Duggars were famously unrepentant when a photo of their then 16-year-old son Jedidiah gripping a rifle went online. And in 2015 the family – who are fervently in favor of the Second Amendment – sparked an even bigger furor when it was revealed that daughter Josie had been right next to an unattended gun when she was only five years old.
9. Anna’s parents reportedly won’t let her leave Josh
Ever wondered why, in light of all his inexcusable behavior, Anna won’t simply just leave Josh? Well, according to reports, she actually did intend to leave her disgraced husband. But after telling her parents, they allegedly replied that they would disown her if she went through with a divorce.
8. Anna’s brother is said to be estranged from the rest of his family
And Anna’s oldest brother knows all too well the consequences of going against his family’s core beliefs. In fact, Daniel Keller and his beautician wife Candice are reportedly estranged from others in the Keller clan. It’s believed that their more liberal Christian nature and decision to adopt a child are possible reasons why.
7. Jill and Derick reportedly lied about missionary work
In 2015 second eldest Duggar daughter Jill and her husband Derick Dillard found themselves in hot water when they were accused of apparently lying about a missionary trip to South America. The pair had indeed asked for donations from fans to fund the mission, although they were later made to offer refunds. The reason? Reports surfaced that they hadn’t actually done any work there.
6. Jessa and Ben asked for financial help from fans
Jill and Derick weren’t the only Duggar family members to try and take advantage of their fans’ generosity. Ben and Jessa Seewald, for example, had the gall to request “gifts and donations” ahead of their wedding in 2015. However, they quickly removed the request after suffering an online backlash.
5. Ben argues that evolution is racist
Ben also courted controversy that same year when he argued that America’s racial problems were a result of the country’s belief in evolution. The entrepreneur, who made the claims in a video posted by wife Jessa on YouTube, described Charles Darwin’s theory as both racist and a false religion.
4. Ben once upset a lot of Catholics
It seems like Ben was on a roll in 2015. As well as offering controversial views on racism and begging for money, he also received widespread condemnation for a Facebook rant warning his followers about the “deadly errors” of the Catholic religion.
3. The Kellers have yet to distance themselves from Bill Gothard
Bill Gothard – the creator of the Christian Institute in Basic Life Principles – was forced to leave his position in 2014 following several allegations of molestation and sexual harassment. And although the Duggar family have since distanced themselves from him, their in-laws, the Kellers, are still affiliated with the religious leader.
2. Josh molested several young girls as a teen
Of course, the biggest Duggar family scandal emerged in 2015 when it was discovered that in his early teens Josh had fondled five girls, including several of his sisters. Josh later apologized for his actions – but it wasn’t enough to save 19 Kids and Counting, as TLC quickly pulled the series from the air.
1. Josh’s parents waited a year before reporting his crimes
The Josh Duggar scandal gained further traction when it was revealed that his parents didn’t inform the police of their son’s actions until a year after his confession. By that point, Josh had relayed further incidents of molesting his siblings.