Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar wasted no time letting their feelings about daughter Jill Dillard (née Duggar) and her husband Derick Dillard’s memoir, Counting the Cost, be known. The couple broke their silence on Saturday, September 9, three days ahead of the book’s release.
“We love all of our children very much. As with any family, few things are more painful than conflicts or problems among those you love,” Jim Bob, 58, and Michelle, 56, said in a statement to People. “We do not believe the best way to resolve conflicts, facilitate forgiveness and reconciliation, or to communicate through difficulties is through the media or in a public forum so we will not comment.”
The couple’s statement comes amid their estrangement from their second eldest daughter who previously claimed to be “very much on the outside with the family” and that her parents treated her “worse than you treat my pedophile brother.”
“My dad does control a lot of things in the family,” Jill, 32, added during her appearance in the Prime Video docuseries Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets. “Family relationships were already kinda rocky … Everything within the family dynamic has shifted, and not for the better.”
The complex relationship between Jill and her parents began after Derick, 34, was fired from Counting On in 2017 after sharing his controversial opinions on transgender people on social media. The pair later revealed that they were tricked by Jim Bob into signing a contract with TLC the day before her 2014 wedding, which Derick later called “fraud.”
“I just saw the signature page. It was like on the end of the kitchen table. Like, ‘Hey, I just need you guys to sign these,’” Jill said. “Like everybody was signing them. We were literally running through the kitchen, and it was like whoever you could grab on the way through. I didn’t know what it was for.”
The couple later revealed they signed a contract committing the “next five years to the show.” Three years after Derick’s firing, Jill opened up about her decision to step away from filming at that time, which only further drove a wedge into her relationship with Jim Bob and Michelle, during an October 2020 YouTube video.
“We found out we didn’t have as much control over our lives as it related to the show and stuff, as we needed. We had to make a decision at that time to kind of put the show aside just so like to pursue our own goals and everything. That’s when we made that decision,” she said. “It was just a good decision for us.”
The Oklahoma-based couple later admitted in March 2021 that it had been “a couple of years” since they had visited the Duggar home. According to Jill, “there are a lot of triggers” at her parents’ house and many “restrictions” in place.
“But also, we just feel in this season of life we have to prioritize our mental and emotional health and all of that,” she added of why she doesn’t visit Jim Bob, Michelle and her younger siblings. The 19 Kids and Counting alum added, “Our threshold — we like to call it — is a little bit lower in this season of life for us with a lot going on in our own lives.”
For their part, Jim Bob and Michelle released a statement following the Dillards’ participation in the expository documentary, saying, “We love every member of our family and will continue to do all we can to have a good relationship with each one.”
“Through both the triumphs and the trials we have clung to our faith all the more and discovered that through the love and grace of Jesus, we find strength, comfort, and purpose,” the couple concluded.
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