Their start in life
The Duggar family became famous when they landed their own reality series, but once upon a time Jim Bob and Michelle were just two people very much in love. They met in high school when she was a cheerleader and him a guy falling head over heels.
He was enamored by the fact that the cheerleading team had a woman who was a practicing Christian, and soon enough a spark set off between them. Little did they know how much their love for each other would change their lives.
Tying the knot
Young love quickly turned into something permanent when the couple walked down the aisle. Being 17, Michelle was still in high school at the time. Jim Bob wasn’t much older at 19, but when you’re in love, there’s no time like the present.
Given how long their relationship has lasted now, they clearly weren’t wrong to tie the knot when they did. Back then, their union was a quiet affair, with Michelle’s dress being a hand-me-down from her mother-in-law. However, Duggar weddings have gotten a bit more extravagant since then.
Rebel at heart
Although Jim Bob fell in love with Michelle because of her Christian ways, his wife wasn’t always so religiously inclined. It wasn’t until she watched a life-changing spiritual movie that everything became about God.
During her younger years, she’d do things like mow the lawn in a bikini, something that she’d never allow her daughters to do in a million years. While she might not have grown up abiding by the law of her religion, she refused to let her children go through the same experience.
In God’s hands
So, what inspires a couple to have so many children? Not many people wake up and decide they’re going to raise 19 kids, and for Jim Bob and Michelle, that was never the intention either.
However, after a devastating experience during their second pregnancy, the couple decided that they’d leave the future of their family in God’s hands. In their eyes, he’d bless them with however many children he saw fit, which turned out to be 19. What happened to their baby that resulted in such a decision, though?
No more birth control
Sadly, the Duggars lost their second child after Michelle suffered a miscarriage. It was the first of two, with the latter happening in 2011, and the couple blamed their use of birth control.
The experience of losing a child put them off of contraception forever, which meant that the risk of pregnancy dramatically increased every time they were intimate. Although miscarriages can happen for all sorts of reasons, the pair were sure it was because of birth control, and this decision changed things forever.
Staying in control
Between 1988 and 2009, the couple never went more than two years without having a child. With each new addition, the family grew bigger, and the Duggars faced the growing strain of keeping everyone in control.
This prompted them to enforce some incredibly strict laws in their household, ones that would influence their kids’ lives forever. A lot of them were focused around how to behave to ensure that no-one was engaging in inappropriate behavior. Unfortunately for the parents, that didn’t seem to resonate with all of the children.
Responsible for their education
To ensure that she could monitor what her children were being taught, Michelle became a qualified teacher so that she could be responsible for her kids’ education.
Aside from the fact that the family couldn’t afford to send 19 kids off to a private Christian school, they had no idea what would happen to them away from the house. They were afraid of how their outside interactions would affect their children, especially as they grew older, so they kept them under their watchful eye at home.
Keeping a safe distance
Having control over their children’s love lives is probably what the Duggars have been most concerned about. They’re terrified of sensual corruption manipulating their kids into behaving in an ungodly manner, so they do whatever they can to ensure they act appropriately when around people they’re courting.
That includes preventing them from touching and kissing until they’re man and wife, something that isn’t completely unheard of in religious circumstances. It hasn’t always worked, but for the most part, it’s been effective.
Watching their every move
That isn’t where the control stops, though. Jim Bob and Michelle are involved in every step of their children’s relationships right up until they’re married. When one of their kids finds a significant other, they’re constantly chaperoned by their parents to ensure they don’t get up to anything below board.
Every date that their child goes on, the parents are there to watch and keep things family friendly. It’s what the Duggars have grown up with, so they don’t know any different. Things don’t end once they say goodnight though.
In the loop
Even phone conversations are monitored by the parents. Jim Bob and Michelle are members of every chat group between their children and their other halves. Private communication is strictly prohibited in the Duggar household, and it stays that way until their kids walk down the aisle.
Once they’re married, they relax their responsibility, believing that their children are mature enough to know how to behave now that they have a husband or wife. Plus, they have no issue with their kids consummating things once they’re married.
Getting a cell phone
However, for the Duggar children, being able to communicate with someone privately isn’t really possible until they get their driver’s license. That’s because their parents only allow their kids to own a cell phone once they can drive.
It’s certainly an incentive to buckle down in driver’s ed, although this gift comes with a catch. They’re only able to use the phone if it has a Christian app that prevents them from doing anything inappropriate away from their parent’s prying eyes. How else can their activities be constantly monitored?
Social media savvy
One of the biggest problems that come from giving their kids a cell phone is the usage of social media. The popularity of these sites means it’s hard for the Duggar children to resist signing up, especially when they’re popular reality TV stars.
Fans at home want to know what’s going on in their lives, and social media is the best way to share that. However, afraid of the dangers these sites may pose, Jim Bob and Michelle only allow the kids who are married to use them.
Breaking the rules
With that being said, one child who went against that rule was Josiah Matthew. Back in 2015, when he started courting a young woman by the name of Marjorie Jackson, he set up his own social media account to share pictures of the two of them.
The courtship ended a few months later, and Josiah went quiet on the account, although he returned to social media sometime later. We imagine his parents probably weren’t too happy about that, although now that he’s married, it’s not such a big deal.
Changing her clothes
As rule-breaking in the Duggar family goes, that’s relatively tame compared to some of his siblings. His older sisters, Jill and Jinger, are widely regarded as the biggest rebels of the family, and there are several reasons why.
For starters, Jinger was the first of the girls to start betraying her parents’ strict dress code. Wearing pants was something that was forbidden in the family, but she went and did it anyway, gradually adjusting her wardrobe to be much less restricting. That change set something off in her sisters.
Starting a trend
As Jinger started to move into more comfortable clothing, adapting her old attire for skirts, pants and even more revealing clothes, her sisters followed suit. Jill and Jessa have both been spotted wearing clothes that their parents wouldn’t approve of, and we’re sure some of the younger kids will copy them when they’re older.
It’s normal for children to rebel against the rules, especially when so much of their life is controlled. That’s why Jill’s gone on to do other things her parents wouldn’t be happy about.
If their kids kissing their other half doesn’t sit well with Jim Bob and Michelle, then we’re sure they don’t like the thought of one of them getting their nose pierced. However, that’s what Jill did before giving birth to her second child, Samuel Scott Dillard, in 2017.
She showed off the new jewelry many times much to her parents’ disapproval, although there’s no sign whether she’ll continue to get piercings. We’re sure that it’s something that Jim Bob and Michelle would rather not know about.
Surrounded by scandal
Josiah, Jinger and Jill’s behavior has nothing on that of their brother Josh though. The eldest of the clan is single handedly responsible for the cancelation of the show that made them famous, and his story is an uncomfortable one.
In 2015, it came to light that during his early teen years, he’d been inappropriately touching underage girls, some of who were his sisters. The scandal was too much for TLC to handle, so they sought to separate themselves from the controversy by removing the show from their scheduling.
The only problem with canceling 19 Kids and Counting was that it was one of TLC’s most popular shows. They were shooting themselves in the foot by losing the program, so they decided to create a spin-off based on the family’s older kids – excluding Josh, of course.
Entitled Counting On, the series is currently on its eighth season and continues to bring in decent ratings, especially as there continues to be a lot of developments in their personal lives.
A new generation
The Duggars have had some busy years recently. Since 2014, six of the kids have gotten married, with a seventh now engaged. Most of them have gone on to have children of their own, with 2017 a particularly busy year for the family.
Jim Bob and Michelle had three new grandkids in the space of 12 months after Jill and Jessa gave birth, as well as Josh. Despite the drama in his past, Josh’s wife remained by his side and has gone on to have five children with her husband.
One family member who has featured on the show before but isn’t mentioned much is their cousin Amy. Her upbringing was far more relaxed than that of her cousins, and she doesn’t particularly agree with the way that the Duggars run their household.
However, she was brought in to chaperone Josh and Anna on one episode because the couple wasn’t yet married. Amy didn’t particularly want to be in the show, but she was in the area at the time and ended up being roped in.
Just like you and I
The Duggars have grown up in conditions very different from what most Americans are used to, but it doesn’t seem to have affected them too severely. Although some have rebelled in various ways, it’s nothing compared to how they could have acted.
Admittedly Josh is a clear exception to the rule, but for the most part, the Duggars are a regular bunch of siblings excited to start their own families. The question is, would you have wanted to grow up under the same circumstances as them?
A dairy allergy
Despite Josh staying out of the spotlight, his wife Anna recently revealed something else about the family – that her son Mason has a serious dairy allergy. The mother of five said that when Mason was still nursing, he had an unknown allergy.
So, Anna stopped nursing for a while, cutting different foods out of her diet to figure out what was causing the reaction. Finally, the family learned that Mason was just allergic to dairy. Anna was able to start nursing again four months later and Mason is now healthy.
A tough pregnancy
Jessa Duggar has spent her whole life surrounded by children brothers and sisters, so she felt as though she was fully prepared to have children of her own. When the time finally came for Jessa to welcome her first child into the world, she assumed that it would be a normal birth.
She wanted to deliver in the comfort of her own home, but things soon took a turn for the worse. Complications meant that she had to be rushed to the hospital and was had to undergo scrupulous tests and even a blood transfusion.
A hefty fee
The Duggar family are now one of the most famous families in the United States – as well as one of the largest! They rose to fame through their reality television show, but did you know that they have received a small fortune for living their lives in front of the camera?
Yes, the Duggar family have allegedly received around $40,000 for each episode of the show. Although this number gets smaller when you divide it up, it’s still a hefty fee when you think they have over 200 episodes under their belts.
Getting the fans involved
The stars of 19 Kids and Counting have managed to bag themselves a dedicated fan base, and it seems as though Jessa Duggar and Ben Seewald used this to their advantage when they were getting ready to tie the knot.
In 2015, they updated their family blog with a brand new update about their impending nuptials. Although it has since been edited, Jessa and Ben used the opportunity to tell their fans what they would like as wedding gifts and even gave them an address for them to send them.
The first kiss
If you’ve kept up to date with the Duggar family, you may remember that it was always Jessa’s wish to wait until she got married to share her first kiss – and that’s exactly what she did! However, family members and friends were a little disappointed when they attended their big day because they didn’t get to see the pair exchange their first kiss in front of them.
When they completed their vows, they later took themselves off to a quiet area to share their first kiss without any prying eyes.
Jessa’s less-than-desirable reputation
If you’re a fan of the Duggar family, there’s a high chance that you have a favorite member of the family. However, the number of fans calling Jessa their favorite has dwindled over the years. In fact, she has often been called the “Fundie Regina George” by those who aren’t her biggest fans.
This refers to her religious beliefs, but also one of the main characters in the comedy movie, Mean Girls. Over the years, she has been called attention-seeking and bitter, but it doesn’t seem to affect her life.
Growing Up Duggar
The eldest Duggar daughters have spent a huge portion of their lives in the limelight, and people can’t help but ask them questions about their fame and their everyday experiences with their parents and their siblings.
To give their answers to a larger audience, Jessa, Jinger, Jana, and Jill decided to write a tell-all book. Growing Up Duggar was released in 2014 and focuses on their relationships with their mom and dad, their brothers and sisters, and most importantly, the men and the romantic moments in their lives.
What’s in a name?
When Jessa and Ben Seewald welcomed their first child into the world – albeit after a difficult labor – they knew that they had to make a tough decision. What should they call their son? The couple knew that they wanted to name their son something “unique” and “cool” and they eventually settled on one that would shock their fans.
They ultimately called him Spurgeon Elliot Seewald, and just two years later they welcomed their second son into the world. They called him Henry Wilberforce Seewald.
The victim of parent-shaming
Fans love to follow Jessa Duggar’s ascent into motherhood, and always like to check in to see whether she is raising her own children the way that her parents raised her. She is very active on social media, but this publicity has often caused her to be the victim of parent-shaming.
Whenever she posts a photograph on Instagram, she receives an onslaught of comments from others criticizing her actions. She has since learned to laugh about it and not take them too seriously. She knows she is a good parent.
Time for date night
Despite having two young children at home and an even larger family at her parent’s house, Jessa Duggar still makes time for date night. They don’t get to enjoy time to themselves very often, but when they do, they like to keep their date night’s simple and romantic.
In August 2018, Jess posted a photo on her social media story to show her fans that she was enjoying a sushi night with her husband. She captioned the photo with “Date night” and a heart emoji.
Baby number three
Although she already has two wonderful sons in her life, it seems as though Jessa Duggar and her husband want to expand their brood even further. While it’s not clear whether she wants to have as big a family as she’s used to, she has always confirmed that she wants a large family.
Because of this, eagle-eyed fans are constantly waiting for the day that she lets something slip on social media about her next pregnancy. There’s no news yet, but we’re going to keep our eyes peeled!