Jill Dillard, formerly Duggar, is one of many interviewees in Prime’s docuseries “Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets.” She was one of five victims of older brother Josh Duggar, who was accused of molesting five underage girls in 2015, according to The Los Angeles Times.

“I believe strongly that victims should always be protected. Victims should always be cared for,” Dillard says, per The Los Angeles Times. “You’re out there, your story’s out there. … I’d rather have some say in what that looks like.”

Dillard is one of the 19 children featured in TLC’s hit reality-show “19 Kids and Counting.” The show chronicled the life of the pious Duggar family, led by patriarch Jim Bob and wife Michelle, from 2008 to 2015.

Then Josh, the eldest Duggar child, was accused of sexually abusing his four younger sisters and a babysitter as a teenager, per USA Today. Josh Duggar later revealed that he was unfaithful to his wife. TLC subsequently canceled the show. He was eventually arrested and convicted for possession of child pornography in 2021.

Since “19 Kids and Counting” ended, multiple Duggar children have opened up about their upbringing. Jinger Vuolo, the sixth Duggar child, released a book earlier this year: “Becoming Free Indeed: My Story of Disentangling Faith from Fear.” Dillard has a memoir coming out this year, “Counting the Cost.”

After eight years, members of the Duggar family are stepping back in front of the camera. In “Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets,” Dillard reveals “shocking revelations about the famous family,” according to USA Today.

Additionally, previous members of the church that the Duggars belong to, The Institute for Basic Life Principles, allege that the religion is a “cult,” per USA Today. Participants of the documentary accuse IBLP of “training children ‘like animals,’ educational neglect, labor camps” and more.

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have released a statement about ‘Shiny Happy People’

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have commented on “Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets,” in light of the docuseries’ release today.

In a note on their website, the Duggar parents said, “The recent ‘documentary’ that talks about our family is sad because in it we see the media and those with ill intentions hurting people we love. Like other families, ours too has experienced the joys and heartbreaks of life, just in a very public format. This ‘documentary’ paints so much and so many in a derogatory and sensationalized way because sadly that’s the direction of entertainment these days.”

“We have always believed that the best chance to repair damaged relationships, or to reconcile differences, is through love in a private setting,” Jim Bob and Michelle continued.

“We love every member of our family and will continue to do all we can to have a good relationship with each one. Through both the triumphs and the trials we have clung to our faith all the more and discovered that through the love and grace of Jesus, we find strength, comfort, and purpose.”

Who is the Duggar family?

The 21-member Duggar family was the reality-show star of TLC’s wildly popular “19 Kids and Counting.” According to Us Weekly, Jim Bob and Michelle were married in 1984.

How many children did Michelle Duggar have?

Michelle Duggar proceeded to have 19 kids, all with names starting with J:

  • Joshua Duggar (born in 1988).
  • Jana Duggar (born in 1990).
  • John-David Duggar (Jana’s twin, born in 1990).
  • Jill Dillard (born in 1991).
  • Jessa Seewald (born in 1992).
  • Jinger Vuolo (born in 1993).
  • Joe Duggar (born in 1995).
  • Josiah Duggar (born in 1996).
  • Joy-Anna Forsyth (born in 1997).
  • Jedidiah Duggar (born in 1998).
  • Jeremiah Duggar (Jed’s twin, born in 1998).
  • Jason Duggar (born in 2000).
  • James Duggar (born in 2001).
  • Justin Duggar (born in 2002).
  • Jackson Duggar (born in 2004).
  • Johannah Duggar (born in 2005).
  • Jennifer Duggar (born in 2007).
  • Jordyn Duggar (born in 2008).
  • Josie Duggar (born in 2009).

Michelle Duggar announced that she was pregnant with her 20th child in 2011, but revealed that she had a miscarriage, according to Us Weekly.

The Duggar family story

According to their official website, the Duggars raised their family in Arkansas. “Before we became the ‘19 and counting’ Duggar family we were just Jim Bob and Michelle, growing up in Arkansas as the children of loving, hard-working parents,” the Duggar parents wrote. “A lot of who we are today springs from who we were back then.”

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar raised their 19 children in a religious household — according to ScreenRant, Michelle Duggar homeschooled her children following the Advanced Training Institute, which is “curriculum developed around their core Christian beliefs.”

The Duggars, especially the women, also followed a dress code. According to Yahoo, Michelle Duggar required that her daughters would exclusively wear dresses or skirts below the knee.

As they told TLC, “We avoid low-cut, cleavage-showing, gaping or bare-shouldered tops and, when needed, we wear an undershirt. We try to make it a habit to always cover the top of our shirt with our hand when we bend over. We don’t want to play the peekaboo game with our neckline.”

In a blog for TLC, Michelle Duggar expanded on her view of modesty: “Our interpretation was that from the neck down to the knee should be covered,” she wrote, per Yahoo. “I really should be defining who I am as a woman by choosing to wear dresses and skirts.”

Additionally, the family used a safe-word whenever encountering a woman dressed “inappropriately,” according to Yahoo. Upon saying the word “Nike,” the boys lowered their eyes on their sneakers and would “keep it moving.”

According to the official Duggar website, “We have a special place in our hearts for families. Our goal is to encourage husbands and wives to have strong marriages, brothers and sisters to be best friends, and for everyone to find true hope in trusting Jesus Christ!”

As of January 2023, the Duggar family has 19 kids, 11 sons- and daughters-in-law and 26 grandchildren, according to Entertainment Tonight.

What religion is the Duggar family?

The Duggars attend the Institute for Basic Life Principles. According to NBC News, “The Duggar family has attended and promoted IBLP events on and off camera. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, regular speakers at its semiannual Family Conferences in Big Sandy, Texas, have said (Bill) Gothard’s teachings ‘changed our lives.’”

IBLP has recently come under fire — the church’s leader, Bill Gothard, was “forced out” due to “allegations that he abused young women working at the headquarters,” per NBC News.

Gothard, 87, led the fundamentalist church since 1961. He often preached the importance of “a strict hierarchy of divine authority”: Jesus leading the church, “followed by church elders, employers and husbands, who are responsible for protecting their wives and children below them.”

According to NBC News, Gothard preached that “a man’s role is to provide ‘servant leadership’ while ‘the woman responds with reverent submission and assistance.’”

In 2014, Gothard resigned from the church’s board of directors “amid allegations he had sexually harassed and molested women who worked for the organization,” per NBC News. IBLP held an internal investigation that found “no criminal activity,” per NBC News, but found that Gothard “had acted in an inappropriate manner.”

In a civil suit, 12 women claimed that they “had been sexually, physically or psychologically abused by Gothard as minors and that the IBLP had covered it up,” according to NBC News. They dropped the case in 2018.

By all accounts, “Shiny Happy People” plans on exploring the impact of IBLP in its members’ lives, including the Duggars. According to The Los Angeles Times, “Jill Dillard, the second-eldest Duggar daughter and one of Josh’s victims, is among the interview subjects who break their silence on Jim Bob’s sketchy business acumen and the traumatizing lifestyle of the IBLP.”

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar gave a statement about IBLP to NBC News, saying, “The public accusations against Dr. Gothard in recent years are troubling and grievous. However, our faith in God is not based on following a fallible human man. … Truth is truth, even if the messenger fails.”

Is there a documentary on the Duggars? A few revelations from ‘Shiny Happy People’

“Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets” promises to reveal the alleged underbelly of the famous family documented in “19 Kids and Family.” Here are a few key revelations from the docuseries, according to The Los Angeles Times:

Jim Bob and Michelle encouraged Josh to stay silent about the abuse until he got married

Jim Holt, father of Kaeleigh, whom Josh was dating, “said he found out about the molestation claims against Josh in 2003,” according to The Los Angeles Times. In the docuseries, Holt alleges that the Duggar parents encouraged Josh and Kaeleigh to stay silent about the sexual assault allegations.

“He had apparently been doing it since he was 12, but we found out about it when he was 15,” Holt said.

Holt recounted a conversation with Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar. “‘So, when were you gonna tell us?’ And Michelle says, ‘We weren’t gonna have them tell you guys at all. We were gonna have Josh confess to Kaeleigh once they were married.’” 

Jill claims that Jim Bob ‘secretly locked’ her into a long-term contract with TLC before her wedding

In June 2014, “hours before Jill Duggar became Jill Dillard” according to The Los Angeles Times, Dillard claims that she “unknowingly” signed a contract that kept her on “19 Kids and Counting” for five more years.

“I just saw the signature page. It was like on the end of the kitchen table — like, ‘Hey, I just needed you guys to sign these,’” Dillard said in the docuseries. “We were literally running through the kitchen, and it was like whoever you could grab on the way through. I didn’t know what it was for.”

As Dillard and her husband were doing missionary work in El Salvador, TLC “pressed them to come back to the U.S. for a shoot.” The couple originally declined, but eventually followed TLC’s wishes.

“My dad sends us the signature page along with just the obligation of the contract. I was like, ‘Somebody forged my signature,’” Dillard said. “That’s when we realized that I had signed this the day before we got married. ... That’s not what I thought I was signing.”

TLC acquired footage of Jill Dillard giving birth to her first child, against her wishes

According to The Los Angeles Times, “Weddings and births were the most popular episodes for ‘19 Kids and Counting.’” Naturally, TLC wanted to film the birth of Dillard and her husband Derick’s first child.

“I didn’t want any of that,” Dillard said in the docuseries. Despite her reservations, TLC and Jim Bob Duggar requested that Dillard film her birth. Dillard and her husband eventually agreed.

Dillard said that she asked TLC to “pay us enough just to cover what our out-of-pocket costs were” for her birth episode — which drew “millions of viewers,” according to The Los Angeles Times.

According to Derick Dillard, TLC paid the family instead. “‘Pay the family’ means we don’t get anything at that point,” he said in the docuseries.

Jim Bob Duggar wanted to ‘pay his older kids a lump sum’ for signing another contract

During Dillard’s run on “19 Kids and Counting” and the subsequent “Counting On,” gracing TV screens from 2015 to 2021, she claims she was never paid. “No check, no cash, no nothing. For 7 ½ years of my adult life, I was never paid.”

In the docuseries, Dillard claims that Jim Bob Duggar did pay his children $10 an hour.

Dillard and her husband claim that they tried to discuss their contract with TLC. Duggar’s manager stepped in, telling the couple “it wasn’t their place to do so,” according to The Los Angeles Times.

Dillard alleges that at the time Duggar “was considering paying his older children a lump sum.”

But it came with a catch. “In order to receive that, you had to sign another deal with my dad, his production company, Mad Family Inc.,” Dillard said. “It would be like forever.”

That was the breaking point for Jill and Derick. “We were automatically like, ‘We’re done,’” Dillard said in the docuseries. The couple left “Counting On” in 2017.

Where can I watch ‘Shiny Happy People’?

“Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets” premieres on Amazon Prime Video on June 2.