Here's What the Duggars Are Up to Now
The Duggar family first gained national attention in 2004 when they were featured on a one-hour documentary special called "14 Children and Pregnant Again!" that aired on Discovery Health Channel. The special showcased the lives of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and their growing family of children, at the time numbering 14 little ones. Following the success of the documentary special, TLC approached the family about creating a reality TV show, which eventually became "17 Kids and Counting," premiering in 2008. The show continued to air and the family's size grew, resulting in the name changing to "18 Kids and Counting" and later to "19 Kids and Counting."
The show followed the lives of the Duggar family as they navigated the challenges of raising a large family while also adhering to their conservative Christian beliefs. The show portrayed the family as a wholesome and devoutly religious clan, and it became a ratings hit for TLC. Over the years, the Duggar family became one of TLC's most popular and recognizable reality TV personalities, often appearing in specials and spin-off shows. However, the show's cancellation in 2015 due to Josh Duggar's scandal brought the family's public image under scrutiny and led to the eventual cancellation of "Counting On" in 2021.
You probably know all of the eldest Duggar's scandals, but what about the rest of the clan? What is the biggest family from TLC doing now? Here's what we know about the Duggars after retiring from reality TV.
"19 Kids and Counting": The End of an Era
So why was the hit TLC reality TV show "19 Kids and Counting" canceled in 2015? Josh Duggar, one of the Duggar family's children and the eldest of the clan, found himself at the center of a major controversy. Reports tell that he had molested several underage girls, including some of his sisters, when he was a teenager. The show's cancellation came shortly after the news of the scandal broke and sparked widespread outrage and controversy.
Following the cancellation of "19 Kids and Counting," TLC premiered a spin-off series called "Counting On," which focused on the lives of the older Duggar children as they navigated marriage, parenting, and other aspects of adult life. The show continued for several seasons, but it was eventually canceled in 2021 amid ongoing controversy surrounding the family — in particular, Josh Duggar.
Jim Bob & Michelle
After the end of their TLC reality shows, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have kept a relatively low profile. The couple has continued to maintain their online presence through their social media accounts, including Instagram and Facebook.In 2019, the couple launched a new website called "Duggar Family Official," which features blog posts, videos, and other content focused on their family and their conservative Christian beliefs.
Jim Bob has also continued to be involved in local politics in their home state of Arkansas. He served in the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1999 to 2002 and has been involved in various political campaigns and causes over the years. Many criticize the family for how they "handled" Josh's behavior (including sending him to do work at a church), which probably just made things worse! In fact, Michelle just got in the news for being caught wearing pants (in this case, leggings) for the first time EVER!
Jim Bob & Michelle Duggar Corporal Punishment
In the same report that said Josh Duggar molested five girls, the report also said that Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar used corporal punishment, including spanking their children with a rod. When asked in a 2010 episode how they discipline their children, Michelle had neither confirmed nor denied it.
Michelle did say, however, that they try to use positive reinforcement, saying, “We've really chosen to focus on praising our kids for good character, for Godly character…And as we do that, we find that we have a lot less trouble with correction when we are constantly looking for ways to praise them."
Michelle Duggar Anti-LGBTQ+
Michelle Duggar was also the subject of much controversy over her views of the LGBTQ+ community. The Duggar mother encouraged residents of Fayetteville, Arkansas to vote to repeal a law that protected LGBTQ+ citizens against discrimination. The law, called Ordinance 119, ensured equal service in housing, employment, and other matters such as public restroom use.
In protest of the Ordinance, she became part of a robocall campaign, lending her voice to the effort, saying, “I don't believe the citizens of Fayetteville would want males with past child predator convictions that claim they are female to have a legal right to enter private areas that are reserved for women and girls. I doubt that Fayetteville parents would stand for a law that would endanger their daughters or allow them to be traumatized by a man joining them in their private space."
Michelle Duggar "Baby Holocaust" Comments
While it's likely not a surprise to many that the religious family is staunchly pro-life, it did shock some when Michelle Duggar went as far as to compare abortion rights to the Nazi’s attempts to eradicate the Jewish people in Europe, calling abortion the “baby holocaust.”
She made the statement at a pro-life rally in Texas. At the time, Texas legislature was debating the House Bill 2 which included some of the strictest abortion laws in the country, including bans on abortions after 20 weeks.
If you thought things with Josh Duggar couldn't get any worse, you're wrong... In November 2019, news broke that Josh Duggar had been accused of possessing highly inappropriate images of children. He was arrested in April 2021 and charged with two counts of receiving and possessing child pornography. In the wake of these new allegations, TLC announced that it had canceled "Counting On" and had no plans to work with the Duggar family in the future. Josh Duggar was released on bail — probably with help from his family — while awaiting trial on charges of possessing child pornography.
Following his arrest, Josh Duggar was ordered by a judge to remain away from minors, including his own children, except under supervision. He was also prohibited from leaving the Western District of Arkansas without permission from the court. Josh Duggar faces up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 on each count. Fortunately, he was successfully convicted in 2021 and is serving a 12.5-year prison sentence.
Josher Duggar Assault Allegations
The grotesque behavior of Josh Duggar never stopped there, apparently, as he was also accused of sexual assault back in November 2015. Porn actress Danica Dillon filed a lawsuit against Josh Duggar that alleged he assaulted her to the point of causing her physical and emotional injuries.
The incident is said to have occurred at a Philadelphia strip club earlier in the year, occurring after Dillon had given him $600 worth of lap dances and following an offer of $1,500 for sex. He allegedly choked her and called her demeaning names. Initially, seeking $500,000 in damages from him, she later chose to drop the lawsuit for reasons unknown.
(Image via: Kris Connor/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images; Toglenn, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
Josh Duggar Ashley Madison Leak
Alas, it’s not the least of his problems, but Josh Duggar was also found to be guilty of infidelity, which was another shock to fans of the religious family. A group of hackers known as The Impact Group, published exposed him and many others. He was found not only to have one, but two Ashley Madison accounts that he paid for while married to his wife, paying a total of $1,000.
In response to the leak, surprisingly Duggar did not deny it, saying “I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife.”
He ended up removing the part referencing pornography, and then, later, the rest of the statement entirely.
Josh Duggar Sexually Abused His Own Sister
Among five women who accused Josh Duggar of molestation, two of his sisters were among them. He had even confessed to the molestation to both his father and mother who reported it to the police. The police reports were made public in 2015. Allegedly, state trooper Joseph Hutchens let him off with a stern warning.
Jessa Duggar was one of the victims sexually abused by Josh Duggar. Upon Josh’s conviction, Jess’s husband, Ben Seewald, had this to say on an Instagram post:
"From the moment we learned of this case against Josh we have prayed that God would cause the truth to be made known, no matter what it was, and that the facts would be followed wherever they led. We are grieved beyond words over the children exploited and abused in child sexual abuse material, and we are thankful for our justice system in its punishment of such evils."
But Josh isn't the only kid embroiled in controversy... Jana Duggar was, too! Shocking, right? Though her scandal is nothing compared to Josh's atomic bombs. According to In Touch magazine, Jana pled guilty in January 2022 to a charge of endangering the welfare of a minor in September 2021. She was ordered to $880 in fines and fees after the case was settled and adjudicated.
According to Jana, she "was babysitting... when one of the children wandered outside alone. A passerby who saw the child called the police. This resulted in a written citation, as well as a follow-up with child welfare who concluded that it was an accident and the child was unharmed." Aside from this unfortunate incident, Jana is relatively problem free, although she has also been vocal about her desire to find a partner and start a family of her own. She has not publicly announced any courtship or engagement as of my cutoff date, but she has been linked to several potential suitors in the media over the years.
John-David Duggar, the third-oldest son in the Duggar family, has continued to live with his wife, Abbie Burnett Duggar, and their daughter in Arkansas. John David has worked as a pilot for several years and has continued to be involved in aviation. In 2019, he started a business called Duggar Aviation, which provides flight training and other aviation services.
According to People magazine, John David was piloting a plane in 2021 when he experienced "double engine failure" and was forced to make an emergency landing in a nearby field. Although nobody was harmed, there was "substantial damage to the aircraft." The couple released a statement to Celebuzz stating the following: "An emergency landing or any kind of plane crash is a scary thing, but it's exactly what pilots are trained for. We are so thankful for God's protection, as we all walked away without injuries when this happened last October..."
Jill Duggar, the fourth oldest daughter in the Duggar family, has been living in Arkansas with her husband, Derick Dillard, and their three sons. Jill has been open about her decision to distance herself from her family's conservative Christian beliefs and practices, which have been documented on their reality TV shows. She has also been open about her struggles with mental health and the impact that growing up in a highly publicized family has had on her.
Jill has been vocal about her support for LGBTQ+ rights despite her husband being openly transphobic on Twitter and losing his spot on TLC. Despite the criticism, she has continued to speak out on social media about issues that are important to her. Since leaving the show, Jill started a blog and wrote a book titled Growing Up Duggar: It's All About Relationships. As reported by The Sun, Jill described Jim Bob as "controlling," "reactionary" and "verbally abusive."
Jill Duggar & Derick Vacationed with Donation Money
Jill Duggar and her husband, Derick Dillard, were also accused of misappropriating donation money back in 2015. Allegedly using funds they received for an aid mission trip to El Salvador, they left their mission to fly back home, twice, in order to attend weddings. Instagram followers were displeased to say the least.
Many fans felt that the trip was more of a vacation than anything. Jill and Derick defended themselves, however, saying the trips were planned beforehand and didn’t interfere with their mission. Regardless, if they had the money to fly, then why did they need the money to fund the mission?
Derick Dillard Anti-Transgender Comments
Jill Duggar’s husband has received much scrutiny over his views of the transgender community. Dillard already had a history of purposely misgendering another TLC star, Jazz Jennings, tweeting, “I pity Jazz… 4 those who take advantage of him in order 2 promote their agenda, including the parents who allow these kinds of decisions 2 be made by a child. It’s sad that ppl would use a juvenile this way. Again, nothing against him, just unfortunate what’s on TV these days.”
Followers of Dillard’s Twitter called him out for bullying. TLC responded by firing Dillard fro. TLC’s spinoff series Counting On after his disrespectful comments against transgender people, issuing a statement that said, “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."
Jessa Duggar, the fifth oldest daughter in the Duggar family, has been living in Arkansas with her husband, Ben Seewald, and their four children. Jessa has been active on social media, sharing updates on her family and posting too many intimate details about her life, according to some critics. She has also been involved in various family and community projects over the years, but most recently, she garnered attention for her viral video titled "Heartbreak Over the Holidays.”
“I feel like in some ways miscarriages can be so jarring because you don’t have clear signs of something going wrong,” Jessa said. She thanked God “for giving us this life, even if we wouldn’t be able to hold this baby in our arms.” In Arkansas, abortions of any kind are outlawed, so Jessa would have had to leave the state to get her procedure done. Many progressives have criticized her hypocrisy for being "pro-life" but traveling out of the state to get a procedure that many Arkansans don't have access to.
Jinger Duggar, the sixth oldest daughter in the Duggar family, has been living in California with her husband, Jeremy Vuolo, and their two daughters. Jinger has been documenting her life on social media and recently followed in her older sister Jill's footsteps by releasing her own book, Becoming Free Indeed: My Story of Disentangling Faith from Fear.
Jinger has been pursuing her own interests and passions since leaving the show, including starting a podcast with her husband and writing a book about her experiences growing up in a conservative Christian family. As revealed in her memoir, she is vulnerable about her struggles as a child, including "struggling with her body image" and even "developing an eating disorder as a teen." Additionally, Jinger has been vocal about her support for women's rights and has been criticized by some for her progressive views.
Jeremy Vuolo Doesn’t Use the Internet to “Avoid Temptation”
As of 2019, Jeremy Vuolo, husband of Jinger Duggar, admitted that he doesn’t use the internet in a behind-the-scenes podcast called Little People, Big World's. However, it’s not due to a lack of interest, and in fact, it’s the exact opposite. He avoids the internet to avoid temptation.
Vuolo alleges that he doesn’t have access to the internet and only uses it to access his emails. He told the podcast, “I have had zero access to it for the last five or six years on my phone. I do have e-mail, and I have a chess app and an MLS soccer app, but that’s it… I don’t want all that temptation in my hand. I want to maintain purity in my thoughts and in my eyes. It’s an accountability measure.”
Joseph Duggar, the seventh oldest son in the Duggar family, has been living in Arkansas with his wife, Kendra Caldwell, and their three children. Joseph currently works as a real estate agent, and we can only assume that he's involved with the family's real estate business and volunteering with local organizations.
Joseph has also been involved in his family's reality TV shows over the years, including "19 Kids and Counting" and its spin-off, "Counting On." However, we all know that these shows were abruptly canceled following Josh Duggar's scandals. In regard to Joshelp and Kendra's courtship, Joseph proposed at his sister Joy-Anna's wedding reception. The pair married in September 8, 2017.
Josiah Duggar, the eighth oldest son in the Duggar family, has been living in Arkansas with his wife, Lauren Swanson, and their daughter Bella. The pair announced their courtship in January 2018, and he proposed to Lauren in the same spot where her parents got engaged on their property. Three months later, they married in Siloam Springs, AR, at the John Brown University Cathedral.
They announced unfortunate news on February 11, 2019, not even a year after getting married. Lauren suffered a miscarriage in October of the previous year. But the clouds cleared, and they announced the birth of their first child in November 2019. As for his work and hobbies, Josiah got his private pilot license in September 2016, and later was shown training for his commercial driver's license (CDL).
Joy-Anna Duggar, the ninth oldest daughter in the Duggar family, has been living in Arkansas with her husband, Austin Forsyth, and their three children. She has also been sharing updates on her family life and documenting her children's milestones on social media. As a child on "19 Kids and Counting," she was shown as the "buddy" of older sister Jill in their family's controversial "buddy system."
Joy-Anna and Austin Forsyth's relationship was documented on TLC since the beginning. Apparently, Austin took Joy out to a "special spot" in the woods to "propose" their courtship... sounds a bit creepy without context, right? As for their actual engagement, he did the same thing, just with her sisters there to join them. Just two months later, the pair married at Cross Church in Rogers, Arkansas, and kissed for the first time in front of their 1,000 guests... Yikes!
Joy-Anna Pre-Wedding Pregnancy
Considering the family's strict adherence to religious rules, it came as a surprise to many fans who figured out that Joy-Anna Dugger’s first child was most likely conceived out of wedlock. Her child with Austin Forsyth was announced just three months after they were married.
But diligent viewers noticed that she looked a lot further along than just three months. More likely, she was about four or five months along, which meant that Austin and Joy-Anna didn’t wait until marriage to do the deed. A cover-up was further evidenced by the fact that the couple moved the date of their wedding five months earlier than they initially planned.
Jedidiah Duggar, the tenth oldest son in the Duggar family, has been living in Arkansas with his wife Katelyn Nakatsu and two children. Growing up, Jedidiah was homeschooled like the rest of the Duggar clan, and was the younger "buddy" of his sister Jinger in the family's controversial "buddy system." Plus, their homeschooling was based on the Institue in Basic Life Principles, which has been criticized continually for its questionable beliefs.
In addition to his various volunteering activities, Jedidiah has also been involved in politics. He ran for a seat in the Arkansas House of Representatives in the 2020 elections but was unsuccessful in his bid for office. Since the elections, Jedidiah has continued to be involved in politics and has been advocating for various causes on social media.
Jeremiah Duggar, the eleventh oldest son in the Duggar family and younger twin of his brother Jedidiah, has been living in Arkansas with his family since birth. As a child in the family's "buddy system," he was on older sister Jessa's team along with younger siblings Jordyn and Justin.
As for his relationship, Jeremiah announced his courtship with Hannah Wissman in October 2021, and proposed barely four months later on January 6, writing, "SHE SAID YES! Hannah getting to know you for the past year has been so incredible! I can't even find the words to describe it. You are the best thing that has happened to me and I cannot wait to marry you. I love you!!" They welcomed their first child Brynley in October 2022.
Justin Duggar, the fourteenth oldest child and eighth oldest son in the Duggar family, currently lives in Arkansas with his wife, Claire Spivey. According to Fandom.com, Justin was only one year old when the TV spot 14 Children and Pregnant Again first aired. That being said, he never really experienced a childhood that didn't involve being filmed!
Justin got married to Claire Spivey in February 2021, and the couple has been settling into married life. He proposed just a day after his 18th birthday, jumping straight into married life. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on who you are), their wedding was the first that was not filmed on TLC or Counting On. Justin has also been involved in various family and community projects over the years, including helping with the family's real estate business and volunteering with local organizations.
Jason Duggar Allegedly Courting Claire Langdon
One Duggar not yet married is Jason, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t trying. A series of photos featuring family friend Claire Langdon and Jason Duggar have led fans to believe not only that the two are dating but that they are engaged as well!
One photo in particularly led some fans to believe a wedding is along the way for Jason and Claire, a photo of Claire in which her ring finger is covered by a photo sticker of a hat. Whether there is any truth to these rumors remains to be seen.
The 9+ Other Duggars
Since the end of their family's reality TV shows, "19 Kids and Counting" and "Counting On," the Duggar children have been pursuing various activities and interests. As you just read, many of the older Duggar children are married and have started families of their own. They have been raising their own children, and getting into controversies of their own, while others are still too young to leave the Duggar home.
Some of the younger Duggar children are still living at home with their parents and are continuing their education, which is homeschooling based on the highly-criticized Bill Gothard's Institute for Basic Life Principles. And since Jana Duggar still hasn't found her Prince Charming, she's taken over the role of childcare in the household now that the rest of the older daughters have married and moved out. Why don't the boys have to do anything?!
New Details: Taking the Fall
According to Jill in the new Netflix documentary series, Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets, her parents Jim Bob and Michelle, pressured Jill to save their show by doing an interview with Megyn Kelly to talk about her abuse at the hands of Josh Duggar. In the documentary, Derick Dillard refers to the interview as a “suicide mission.”
Looking back on the interview Jill Duggar says, “We were forced to kind of relive that trauma and downplay it. In hindsight, I wouldn’t have done the Megyn Kelly stuff.” Ultimately expressing how she was bearing the burden of her family and taking the fall by exploiting herself so the show could go on.
New Details: Cancellation
After the cancellation of 19 Kids and Counting, according to Derick Dillard, Jim Bob had been "clawing to get the show back as quick as possible." However, according to Jill, TLC wanted a new show that focused on older children who had moved out of the house, which became Jill and Jessa: Counting On.
Jill didn’t want to do the show but felt obligated to do so. She pointed to the "umbrellas of authority" as the source of her fears. And for those who don’t know, “the umbrellas of authority,” which is essentially the model of hierarchy that the family follows in accordance with the ministry that they are a part of.
New Details: Signing on
Jill said that in 2014, just the day before her and Derick's wedding, Jim Bob asked his kids to unwittingly sign a paper that contracted them to another five years on the show, unbeknownst to any of them. Because they had been dealing with the “chaos of the wedding,” Jill had not been aware of what she was actually signing.
As she explains it, "We were literally running through the kitchen, and it was like whoever you could grab on the way through, like, I didn't know what it was for." Jim Bob heeded the opportunity in order to make more money from TLC.
New Details: The Family Home
The now-called Warner Bros. Discovery company, and their TLC network, helped pay for the building of the family’s 7,000-square-foot. Jim Holt, who was a former friend of Jim Bob, alleged that he “needed help getting his house done...the show made arrangements to finish [it], which was 200, or several hundred thousand dollars to get it finished."
The Kit itself cost an estimated $82,000, but allegedly it was not built by the family itself. They hired people to have the home built, which is why they got a check for over $200,000. Most of the house was a gift, expect for the kitchen according to inside sources.
New Details: No Compensation
After asking TLC for financial compensation to cover her medical expenses for the birth of her first child, they insisted that they already paid it to the family, which meant that Jim Bob received the money and that Jill never saw a dime of it. In fact, she clarified to say that "For seven and a half years of my adult life, I was never paid."
In order to have gotten compensation from Jim Bob, Jill, and Dereck would have to sign a forever deal with her father’s production company. And after learning that, Jill and Dereck decided to terminate their relationship with TLC, who for seven years violated their privacy, including their child’s birth, with nothing to show for it.