Jill Duggar Dillard Says She Wasn't Paid for Time on Reality Show: 'We Had to Get an Attorney'

The former Counting On star tells PEOPLE it was a "process" to recover the money she was owed

Jill (Duggar) Dillard began starring on reality television more than a decade ago, but she says it took years and a help from a lawyer to finally get paid.

One of 19 children born to Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, Jill, 29, was a prominent fixture on 19 Kids and Counting, the TLC reality show that premiered in 2008 about the megafamily known as much for their highly-religious, ultra-conservative beliefs as for their staggering number of children.

When that show was cancelled in 2015, Jill, along with her younger sister Jessa, 27, stepped up as the new stars of the family's spinoff series Counting On (originally titled Jill and Jessa: Counting On), thereby ensuring the Duggars' run on television — as well as their fame and the money they earned from it — would continue.

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jill duggar
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Jim Bob, 55, was reportedly the primary payee for 19 Kids and then for Counting On, which came with an estimated $25,000 to $45,000 per episode paycheck, yet Jill tells PEOPLE that she didn't receive any compensation until she quit the show in 2017.

"That's when we got an attorney involved and finally recovered some of the money," she says, adding, "It was a process." (TLC declined to comment.)

Even then, the amount was nowhere near what she feels she was due. "It probably ended up being a little more than minimum wage," her husband Derick Dillard, 31, revealed in a video on their Dillard Family Official YouTube page. "But we were able to recover at least something."

Jill says that in recent years, she and Derick have distanced themselves from her family, adding that it's been "difficult." Still, her hope is to one day reconcile with her loved ones.

19 kids and counting
Duggar family. Splash

"I never expected this to happen or for it to get to this point," Jill says. "But I'm realizing I can't put a timeline on healing. I love my family and they love me. I really just have to follow God's lead and take it one day at a time."

When reached by PEOPLE, Jim Bob and Michelle, 54, provided the following statement: "Every family has differences of opinion and perspective at times, but families work things out. We all love Jill, Derick, and their boys very much. It is our prayer that our relationship is healed and fully restored quickly!"

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