Jill Duggar opened up on the status of her relationship with father Jim Bob Duggar following the release of her memoir, Counting the Cost, comparing the patriarch to a schoolyard “bully.”

“My brother-in-law, Jeremy [Vuolo] had a really good point: ‘You can’t expect the bully on the playground to change overnight,’” Jill, 32, explained of her father in an interview with Romper published on October 21. “What you’re asking here is to just send somebody back onto the playground with a bully.”

While the TLC personality explained it was, “nice in theory to say, ‘Hey, can’t we just all apologize and get along?’” she added, “The behavior has to change before you’re just going to send a little girl back out on the playground with somebody who’s just going to do the same thing over again.”

Jill has been vocal about her strained relationship with parents Jim Bob, 58, and Michelle Duggar, with tensions arising after she began speaking out against the family in the years following their time on the TLC shows 19 Kids and Counting and Counting On.

She and her husband, Derick Dillard, discussed the tense dynamic in detail in Prime Video’s docuseries Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets, as well as in their September memoir, Counting the Cost.

While promoting the book, Jill alleged the patriarch’s initial reaction to the tell-all was sending a seemingly threatening text message to the large family.

“My dad texted the entire family group text (since we’re still in the group thread) and he was just saying, ‘This is so sad’ and basically threatening that if anybody speaks out against him or my mom [Michelle Duggar] that they would be cut out of the inheritance,” the Counting On alum told Today.com in September.

Despite their rocky relationship, Jill called the last time she saw her father in person “awkward” as he “showed up” during a girls’ brunch with sister Jinger Duggar.

“He won’t bring anything up when we’re all together,” she told Entertainment Tonight in September, noting he seemed pleasant but she could tell he was keeping her at a distance emotionally. Jill also revealed that it was “not like it used to be.”

“It used to you would get pulled to the side into a room and [told off], you know, behind closed doors,” Jill continued. However, now, she went on to say that now there is a “respect” for her and her husband’s “boundaries” because they would “pick up and leave” if a confrontation happened.


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