Jill Duggar doesn’t count on hearing from her parents much these days.
The former 19 Kids and Counting star got candid about where she stands with parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar in the new Prime Video docuseries Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets.
Jill, who years ago described her relationship with her dad as “pretty toxic,” explained in the series that now “everything within the family dynamic has shifted—and not for the better.”
Her husband Derick Dillard added, “We’re very much on the outside with the family.”
The couple—who share sons Israel, 8, Samuel, 5, and Frederick, 22 months—spoke out in the docuseries about the strict rules she allegedly followed while growing up as part of the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), a conservative belief system that Jim Bob and Michelle adopted in the 1980s. Those rules included being homeschooled under what’s called Advanced Training Institute (ATI), which former members have said included teachings like what kind of women’s clothing is considered “eye traps” for men.
“If you were in ATI or IBPL,” Jill explained, “unfortunately, a lot of times you have to go through hell, because it’s not until then that you would risk everything to get out of those situations. Eventually you start making your own decisions—like the nose ring that I got—and it’s piece by piece, little by little by little, ’til…do what you need to, like, survive.”
Jim Bob and Michelle’s niece Amy King—who appeared on the TLC show but wasn’t raised under IBLP rules—also spoke in the docuseries of being distanced from the clan, with her husband Dillon King adding that the Duggars “don’t talk to us.”
However, Jim Bob and Michelle said they’d rather discuss matters privately, condemning the docuseries in a June 1 statement saying it “paints so much and so many in a derogatory and sensationalized way.”
“We have always believed that the best chance to repair damaged relationships, or to reconcile differences, is through love in a private setting,” the couple wrote in part. “We love every member of our family and will continue to do all we can to have a good relationship with each one.”
Jill isn’t the only one of the Duggars to get candid about their strict upbringing. Her younger sister Jinger Duggar has managed to keep ties with her siblings, even after speaking out against IBLP in her January memoir Becoming Free Indeed: My Story of Disentangling Faith from Fear. At the time, the 29-year-old told E! News she was “so close” with Jill, 32, as well as sisters Jana, 33, Jessa, 30, and Joy-Anna, 25, despite living in California—away from their native Arkansas—with husband Jeremy Vuolo.
“We always had such a tight bond between the sisters and so, I keep in contact with all of them often because it’s so easy to just be able to FaceTime even though I’m so far away from them,” Jinger told E! News. “We still have close relationships.”
But this isn’t the end of the Duggars’ story. In addition to appearing on Shiny Happy People, Jill and Derick are also releasing a memoir, Counting The Cost, in January 2024, in which they’ll write about “the challenges we have faced, including lack of respect for boundaries, greed, manipulation, and betrayal,” Jill said in her Instagram announcement May 31. She added that “15+ years of reality television, undergirded by secrecy and lies, is tantamount to pouring gasoline on the fire of our struggle.”
E! News has reached out to TLC and IBLP for comment on the claims in the series but hasn’t heard back.
Keep reading to explore more bombshells from Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets.
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