Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar entered the spotlight with their big family in 2008 on their TLC reality TV show, 17 Kids and Counting. Millions of viewers watched as the Duggar family grew, eventually turning the series into 19 Kids and Counting. The Duggar kids grew older and started families of their own, which inspired a spinoff titled Counting On in 2015.
However, following Counting On’s cancelation in 2021, a handful of the Duggar kids began to question the family’s controversial religious beliefs as members of the ultra-conservative Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP). The June 2023 Amazon Prime Docuseries Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets, which shed light on the Duggars’ involvement with the IBLP, and the family’s TLC shows, featured at least one of the Duggar children. This has caused some tension among the Duggar family members, a source told In Touch.
While none of the Duggars have technically left the family, a few of the children are seemingly estranged. Scroll on to find out where they stand with their parents and siblings.
Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard
In March 2021, Jill Dillard (née Duggar) revealed in a YouTube video that she and her husband, Derick Dillard, hadn’t visited Jim Bob and Michelle “in a couple of years.” She went on to explain that there were “a lot of triggers” at her parents’ home and “restrictions” in place, although she did not go into detail on those.
“In this season of life, we have to prioritize our mental [and] emotional health and all that. Our threshold — as we like to call it — is just a little bit lower in this season of life for us,” Jill said. “We have a lot going on in our own life, plus COVID just makes it a lot harder right now with trying to keep our circle smaller and everything.”
Jill and Derick were featured prominently in Shiny Happy People. In the docuseries, they explained what led to their relationship with TLC ending in 2017, detailing how they felt “taken advantage of” by Jim Bob. Jill also exposed some of the mental and physical abuse she experienced as a member of the IBLP. She will further explore the IBLP and her experiences in her upcoming memoir, Counting the Cost.
Ahead of her book’s release on September 12, Jill spoke to People about her relationship with her parents. She revealed that she doesn’t have “one-on-one” contact with Jim Bob anymore because they “don’t see eye-to-eye on a lot of things.” While Jill said she still loves her father, she admitted that she needed to set “healthy boundaries.”
Jinger Duggar and Jeremy Vuolo
Jinger Vuolo (née Duggar) left the IBLP in 2017, and she has spoken out against the ministry several times since. In her January 2023 memoir, Becoming Free Indeed, Jinger revealed that she had started on her own religious journey. She admitted that her faith has “changed,” and that she has spent time “disentangling” Christianity.
Jinger’s husband, Jeremy Vuolo, shed light on their estrangement from Jim Bob and Michelle in his 2021 deposition for Jinger, Jessa, Jill, and Joy-Anna Duggar’s invasion of privacy lawsuit against the City of Springdale, Arizona, police department employees.
Jeremy was asked if there was any “emotional distance” between them and Jinger’s parents, as seen in court documents obtained by The Sun in May 2022.
Jeremy responded, “There – perhaps. I think, though, diagnosing that would be difficult. I think as you grow and have your own family, kids, and life – you know, you go from, like, seeing everyone every day to talking to everyone every day to, you know.”
Today, Jinger appears to be on good terms with Michelle. She posted a selfie with her mom on Instagram in honor of Mother’s Day in May 2023.
Jessa Duggar and Ben Seewald
Jessa Seewald (née Duggar) has not spoken publicly much about her current relationship with her family. However, in July 2022, she shut down rumors that she was snubbed from Jill’s baby shower. Fans noticed that photos from the shower posted to Instagram did not include Jessa, but she reassured them that this didn’t mean anything negative.
“Please let’s not assume there’s a negative motive behind everything we do and do not do,” she responded to a fan comment. “These rumors make me angry, and I’m here to put a stop to it. The narrative these kinds of comments put forward is a false one. Simply not true.”
Jessa does appear to be on good terms with her sisters and Michelle. In April 2023, they all reunited, including Jill and Jinger, in a public outing that Jessa shared on Instagram.
“The older everyone gets, the busier life gets— which means it’s always extra special when we manage to get all 9 of us sisters + mom together again in the same place at the same time!” Jessa captioned a photo of the group. “Last week was golden.”
Jessa also has not publicly addressed her current level of involvement with the IBLP. However, Jinger wrote in Becoming Free Indeed that Jessa and her husband, Ben Seewald, were on their own religious path. Ben is currently a pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church.
Amy Duggar and Dillon King
Amy King (née Duggar) is not one of Jim Bob and Michelle’s children, but she is their niece. She appeared in Shiny Happy People alongside Jill and Derick and has confirmed her estrangement from Jim Bob, Michelle, and other family members who are still in the IBLP.
“If you’re not going to protect those beautiful daughters from a predator that was living inside your home and you knew about it, and you’re gonna sweep it under the rug and your mentality is kinda just like to brush it off and to hide it and to lie, not only do I not respect you anymore, but I also don’t want to give you a right to get to know my child. Because I will protect my child at all costs,” she said.
Amy continued, “Just focus on the fact of the abuse was hidden and then he was put on the stand, and he said, ‘Oh judge, I don’t recall.’ Well then, for me, I have to protect my son from you. Because something is not right here. A lot of screws are loose.”
Amy also appeared on the Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets aftershow on June 21, where she elaborated on her current relationships with the rest of the Duggar family members.
“We talk to the ones that are out of IBLP and the ones that are healing,” she said. “As far as everyone else, no. That’s fine, that’s okay. You know, maybe they don’t see it yet, and they don’t see the truth or maybe they don’t wanna see the truth,”
Amy admitted that it “sucks” to be estranged from her family, but she must “protect” her children.
“It sucks that we don’t get a chance to be with our family members because we still love them. We might not agree with them and we’re gonna stand for the truth,” Amy continued. “But it’s hard because we still have all those memories and all that stuff with them.”
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