So many Duggars, so little time! While it’s hard to keep up with the entire Counting On clan and their significant others, Derick Dillard is one that fans just can’t ignore. Married to Jill Duggar, the 30-year-old has become one of the most polarizing member of the family.
However, we only get a small glimpse of Derick’s life on social media ever since he was fired from the show — and there is so much more to the devout Christian than meets the eye. Here, In Touch has rounded up everything you need to know about Derick. You’re welcome!
His father passed away when he was younger.
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9 years ago today I said goodbye to the greatest man I knew. The greatest, namely, because he taught me in word and deed about Jesus Christ. He protected and served the public as a police officer, and he loved God and his family. His time came sooner than expected, but I know he would have loved being grandpa Dillard to little Israel too. He is my dad, and I look forward to seeing him again on the other side of eternity. Rick W. Dillard (1957-2008)
Derick was attending college at Oklahoma State University when his father, Rick Dillard, passed away in 2008. Last January, the former TV personality — who shares sons Israel, 4, and Sam, 22 months, with Jill, 28 — took to Instagram to pay tribute to his father nine years after he passed away. “Nine years ago today I said goodbye to the greatest man I knew. The greatest, namely, because he taught me in word and deed about Jesus Christ. He protected and served the public as a police officer, and he loved God and his family,” he wrote. “His time came sooner than expected, but I know he would have loved being grandpa Dillard to little Israel too. He is my dad, and I look forward to seeing him again on the other side of eternity. Rick W. Dillard (1957-2008).”
Derick and Jill first met in Nepal.
Derick was on a mission trip in Kathmandu, Nepal, when he struck up a virtual romance with Jill via Skype. The two were connected by Jill’s father, Jim Bob Duggar, who had a feeling they would make a great pair. Eventually, Jill ended up making the trek from her home in Arkansas all the way to Asia so she could meet Derick in person — and the rest is history!
His mom is a cancer survivor.
Not long before Derick and Jill’s June 2014 wedding, Derick’s mother, Cathy Dillard, was diagnosed with stage 4 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma — a very aggressive form of cancer. Thankfully, Cathy was feeling good on the day that her son tied the knot with Jill and was able to attend their nuptials. These days, according to Derick, his mom is doing better than ever.
“My mom’s story of battle and triumph over cancer is nothing short of a miracle, performed by the one true God, our Lord Jesus Christ, through many medical personnel to whom I am eternally grateful,” he has said.
His own health has been a concern.
Last year, Derick looked painfully thin in an Instagram photo with Jill and their son, Israel. Fans were shocked by his frail appearance and voiced their concern via social media. However, Derick insisted that he is just fine. “No, I’m actually quite healthy,” he wrote in response to a fan who had asked if he was sick. However, many believe he’s self-conscious about his looks.
He is seemingly transphobic.
For reasons we may never understand, Derick decided that it was a good idea to attack 17-year-old trans advocate and fellow TLC star, Jazz Jennings, in an offensive Twitter rant last summer. “What an oxymoron… a ‘reality’ show which follows a non-reality,” he said of Jazz’s reality show, I Am Jazz. “‘Transgender’ is a myth. Gender is not fluid; it’s ordained by God.”
He later claimed that he harbors no ill will toward Jazz — even though he referred to her using the wrong pronoun. “I want to be clear. I have nothing against him. I only have issue with the words and definitions being propagated here,” he tweeted, which prompted heated responses from fans. “You mean her. Use the right pronoun if you have no issue,” one wrote, while another fumed, “He’s a grown man attacking a child! He’s being a bully!”
His views on Jazz later cost him his job with the network. In a statement, TLC said, “We want to let our viewers know that Derick Dillard has not participated in Counting On for months and the network has no plans to feature him in the future. We want to reiterate that Derick’s personal statements do not reflect the views of the network. TLC is proud to share the story of Jazz Jennings and her family and will continue to do so.”
He is seemingly homophobic.
The reality TV exile apparently didn’t learn his lesson because in April 2018, he took aim at TLC stars Nate Berkus and his husband, Jeremiah Brent. “What a travesty of family,” he wrote on a promo for Nate & Jeremiah by Design. “It’s sad how blatant the liberal agenda is, such that it both highlights and celebrates a lifestyle so degrading to children on public television as if it should be normal.” Ugh.
In response, Jeremiah simply wrote, “#NateandJbydesign is about showing the many different faces of love and our universal connection through it,” while his husband echoed his sentiment. “My hope with having a show like #NateandJbydesign on TLC, where we go into people’s homes and welcome viewers into ours, is that we can start to break down barriers [and] normalize the way our family looks [and] the way our family loves,” Nate wrote.
My hope with having a show like #NandJByDesign on @TLC, where we go into people’s homes and welcome viewers into ours, is that we can start to break down barriers & normalize the way our family looks & the way our family loves. @JeremiahBrent pic.twitter.com/NsCAeh1nxb
— Nate Berkus (@NateBerkus) April 27, 2018
He claims he wasn’t fired, though.
Back in December, Derick went rogue on Twitter and said, “Unbelievable what’s considered newsworthy these days, but then again, this is how I first heard that I was ‘fired,'” reposting a Fox News tweet from November. “For the record, I was never fired. I just felt it best for my family to cut ties months ago, as we are heading in a different direction.”
Fast forward to April 2018, and he’s still defending himself on his favorite platform. “They won’t tell you that I was ever fired because I wasn’t,” Derick commented in response to a confused fan. “We wanted to leave and they didn’t want us to. That’s the truth.”
He’s going to law school.
During the summer of 2018, In Touch reported that Derick was attending law school at the University of Arkansas. Later in August, the star confirmed the news on Instagram. Sharing their future plans, Jill made the announcement, writing, “We will be remaining stateside for now as Derick is beginning law school at the University of Arkansas. We look forward to seeing how God will continue to direct our family in this new chapter of life!”
Since he started, Derick’s wife has frequently helped him study and even accompanied him to class. It was clear the star was taking his studies seriously — but he had a little fun, too, even participating in spirit week. He finished his first year in May 2019, and it seems he’s well on his way to becoming an actual lawyer.