Ever since Jill Dillard (née Duggar) and her family left Counting On in 2017, fans have debated what exactly went down behind the scenes — especially since the issue wasn’t addressed by TLC until after her husband, Derick Dillard, made transphobic comments about another reality personality on the TV network. After he took aim at I Am Jazz star Jazz Jennings, the channel clarified they were no longer filming the Dillards, leading fans to draw the conclusion that the family was fired. However, in the years since, Derick made it clear that he and his wife were the ones to walk away from the franchise.
Derick first claimed he and Jill quit the Duggars’ show in April 2018 while talking to a fan on Twitter. “They won’t tell you that I was ever fired because I wasn’t,” he claimed. “We wanted to leave and they didn’t want us to. That’s the truth.”
In late 2019, the law school student got even more explicit on the subject both on Twitter and in what quickly became an impromptu Q&A hosted in the comments of his Instagram posts. In a long tirade that took aim at the show and father-in-law Jim Bob Duggar, he made it clear that it wasn’t an easy process getting out of filming. He claimed they even feared they could be sued for not appearing on camera.
The father of two said in December 2019 he and Jill were “made to believe [they] didn’t have a choice” about their roles in Counting On. “It’s not going to look good for TLC when it’s exposed that they pressured an abuse victim to continue filming when we tried to quit, just so they could continue with Jill & Jessa: Counting On after [19 Kids and Counting],” he alleged. He further claimed in July 2020 that Jim Bob “will attack the victims if they threaten his show” and that he and his wife were “humiliated and threatened” when they first tried to quit. They were only able to leave once enough of Jill’s siblings had started filming and the show was “not dependent” on them to fill airtime.
Derick further claimed that leaving Counting On led to a major rift in their relationship with Jim Bob, hinting there was a “painful burning of bridges” on both a personal and professional level. “Your family relationships are affected to this extent that you are on board with the family business,” he said during a March 2020 interview with the Without a Crystal Ball YouTube channel. In December 2019, he explained the “extreme emotional pressure from within and without [the] family” pushed them to continue filming as long as they did.
Don’t expect them to ever return to the TV show either. Though Jill and Derick enjoy documenting their lives for social media, he claimed being on the TLC series “took [them] to the brink of sanity and could have easily destroyed [their] lives” if they didn’t get out when they did. It sounds like this couple is better off without the show — and living by their own rules as they open up about potentially using birth control, drinking and wearing more modern bathing suits.
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