Jill Duggar opened up about how reality TV affected her marriage — and revealed that her family’s TLC series caused major problems in her relationship with husband Derick Dillard.
“It caused a lot of frustration in our marriage,” Duggar, 32, told People in an interview published on Wednesday, September 6. “Especially early on, where he would feel a certain way about filming something. I’d be like, ‘I hear you, I feel you, I also don’t want to do whatever it is they’re asking us to do either. But we have to.’”
Duggar starred alongside her family on the TLC shows 19 Kids and Counting, which ran from 2008 to 2015, and Counting On, which ended in 2020. Dillard, who wed Duggar in 2014, starred alongside his wife on the latter series, but they decided to leave the show in 2017.
According to Jill, filming the show started to come “between” her and Dillard, 34 — and caused tension with her father, Jim Bob Duggar. “No matter your age, you are to obey your parents’ wishes and you even have to ask them for their blessing for any major moment in your life,” she recalled, referring to the Duggar family’s adherence to the teachings of the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP). “We were dealing with this a lot when we were trying to make decisions for our family, and we were really wrestling back and forth with it.”
Jill and her husband now believe that Jim Bob, 58, was trying to cause turmoil in their relationship by encouraging them to film when they didn’t want to. “Whenever we were at odds with what her dad thought we should be doing with filming, he would say things that would be very damaging,” Dillard claimed. “He would weaponize the relationship and say, ‘Is this you, Jill, or is this you, Derick? Are you leading your wife astray and doing things that are not supportive of marriage?’ And I think that was a red flag.”
Jim Bob and wife Michelle Duggar declined to comment on Jill and Dillard’s claims in a statement to People, saying they love all of their children “very much.”
Jill — who shares sons Israel, 8, Samuel, 6, and Frederick, 13 months, with Dillard — is gearing up for the release of her new memoir, Counting the Cost, which hits shelves on Tuesday, September 12. According to the book’s promo copy, Jill will tell the “unedited truth” about her family, which has been plagued by scandals over the years.
Earlier this year, Jill opened up about her upbringing in the Prime Video docuseries Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets. In one episode, she claimed that her family encouraged her to downplay brother Josh Duggar’s actions after he was accused of molesting several girls as a teenager, some of whom were his sisters. After Jill and Jessa Duggar were identified as two of Josh’s victims, they defended their brother in a highly publicized Megyn Kelly interview that aired in 2015.
“It’s not something I’m proud of,” Jill said of the sit-down in Shiny Happy People. “If I hadn’t felt obligated to like, one, do it for the sake of the show and two, do it for the sake of my parents, I wouldn’t have done it.”