A History of the Ups & Downs of the Duggar Family

Viewers have seen the TLC stars through courtships, new additions and no shortage of controversy

01 of 08

Reality's Biggest Crew

Duggar family
Duggar family. Jana Duggar/Instagram

Since Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar invited TLC cameras into their lives in Arkansas in 2008, viewers have seen the 19 Kids and Counting stars through courtships, new additions and no shortage of controversy. Here, a look at the ever-growing family's highs and lows.

02 of 08

Growing a Family

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar
The Duggar Family/Instagram

Married on July 21, 1984, religious relator Jim Bob and wife Michelle Duggar have welcomed 19 children together over the course of their union.

The couple initially waited four years to have their first child, Josh. After conceiving again and suffering a miscarriage, which they say occurred because Michelle was taking birth control and didn't know she was pregnant, they decided to let God "bless them with as many children as he saw fit."

The pair welcomed new babies — all with names beginning with the letter J — every year from 1988 through 2009.

03 of 08

Josie's Own Ups and Downs

Image
Duggar Family Offical/Facebook

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar's youngest child arrived nearly three months early in December 2009. She triumphed over a number of health setbacks, including a series of seizures at age 5.

On her 9th birthday, the family reflected on her health, sharing that Josie "is a healthy, happy 9 year old that is full of energy."

04 of 08

Seeing Their Family Grow

Duggar wedding
Kelsie Jo Photography

Ten of the Duggar offspring are now married, with 22-year-old son Jed becoming the latest to tie the knot (right) in April of 2021.

He joins big siblings Josh, John David, Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joy-Anna, Joseph, Josiah and Justin in starting a family.

Many of the married Duggar children have gone on to have kids of their own, too. John-David has one, Jill two, Jessa three with one on the way, Jinger two, Joy-Anna two, Joseph two and Josiah one.

05 of 08

A Shocking Scandal

anna duggar, josh duggar
Josh and Anna Duggar. Anna Duggar/Instagram

In mid-May 2015, Josh — married to Anna since 2008 and father to six kids with her — apologized for his "wrongdoing" after a 2006 police report revealed that he had been investigated as a teen for inappropriately touching five underage girls. TLC promptly canceled the family's show.

Months later, in August 2015, Gawker reported that the oldest Duggar son appeared to have had active accounts on Ashley Madison, a website created to facilitate cheating on your spouse.

Josh ultimately confessed to having a pornography addiction and cheating on his wife in an apologetic statement on the Duggar family website.

"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. I am so ashamed of the double life that I have been living and am grieved for the hurt, pain and disgrace my sin has caused my wife and family, and most of all Jesus and all those who profess faith in Him," the statement read.

Josh spent six months at a faith-based rehab center in Rockford, Illinois, soon after, then returned home to Arkansas where he continued counseling and entered marriage therapy with Anna.

"It isn't easy and some days are very difficult. It is a long road to rebuild trust and a truly healthy relationship," the couple shared in a 2016 statement.

06 of 08

A Bond Broken

Jill and Jessa Duggar
jill duggar/instagram; youtube

After the disturbing revelation came to light in 2015, Josh's sisters Jill Dillard and Jessa Seewald came forward as two of his victims. In a 2015 interview with Megyn Kelly, the women said the family had long moved past the situation and that they hadn't ever planned to address it until they found out the allegations would be on the cover of a tabloid magazine.

"I see it as a re-victimization that's a thousand times worse because this is something that was already dealt with," said Jill of the release of the felony investigation. "We've already forgiven Josh. We've already moved on."

"We didn't feel like there was any need to share private information with people who weren't part of the problem or the solution," Jill added. "We had dealt with that when the investigation with our family was closed. After all those months, they said, your parents have done an amazing job — they were praising our parents — and found [our] home was a safe place for children."

07 of 08

Taking Time Apart

JILL, 23, AND DERICK DILLARD, 26
Courtesy Jill Dillard

In 2020, Jill and her husband Derick Dillard told PEOPLE that they had been taking time away from the larger Duggar family after leaving the family's spin-off show, Counting On.

"Our control to choose what jobs we were allowed to accept and even where we were allowed to live was taken away from us," Jill said, adding that goals they'd had as a couple were squashed if they conflicted with the network or family's plans.

Derick, in his final year of law school, elaborated, "The first few years of our marriage, we spent time and money working towards opportunities only to hit a dead end when we'd be told, 'Well, you're not allowed to do that.'"

"Our threshold — we like to call it — is a little bit lower in this season of life for us," Jill said in a 2021 YouTube video, adding that she, Derick and their two sons have "a lot going on for us in our own lives," particularly with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Of the couple's choice not to have set foot in the Duggar family home for several years, Derick added, "There's a lot of triggers there."

08 of 08

Josh Gets Arrested

josh duggar
Josh Duggar. courtesy Washington county arkansas

Josh's situation took a turn for the worse in April 2021 when he was arrested in Arkansas and charged with receiving and possessing child pornography. He plead not guilty.

Josh allegedly used the internet to download material of child sexual abuse, "some of which depicts the sexual abuse of children under the age of 12, in May 2019," according to a press release.

If he is convicted, Josh faces up to 20 years of imprisonment and fines up to $250,000 on each count.

Josh, who tuned into the meeting from an Arkansas detention center, will remain in jail as he awaits a bond hearing.

Before news of his arrest, Josh and Anna had announced they were expecting their seventh child together.

Related Articles