Jill Duggar Dillard is counting the ways reality TV and family pressure nearly broke her marriage.
The "19 Kids and Counting" alum is set to release a book looking back at her strict upbringing in the notorious Duggar family and their adherence to the beliefs espoused by the Institute in Basic Life Principles. As a child, Jill capitulated to her parent's stances, but her mentality changed as she got older and cameras became a constant presence, she says in her upcoming memoir, "Counting The Cost."
Eventually, filming took a toll on her marriage, and she alleges that her father, Jim Bob Duggar, tried to drive a wedge between her and her husband, Derick Dillard. (They've now been married nine years.)
Keep reading to learn how Jim Bob allegedly "weaponized" Jill and Derick's marriage, and how they fought back…
As part of an agreement with network TLC, Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard were obligated to film 20 hours a week. The time commitment started to weigh on them, as they hoped to start their life as a family and focus on each other.
"It caused a lot of frustration in our marriage," she told People magazine in September 2023. "Especially early on, where he would feel a certain way about filming something. I'd be like, 'I hear you, I feel you, I also don't want to do whatever it is they're asking us to do either. But we have to.'"
Jill's annoyance with filming stood in stark contrast to what she was always taught: Obey your parents and never question them.
"It began to feel like a burden," she said of filming "19 Kids and Counting" and "Counting On."
Jill Duggar wanted to walk away from her family's reality show multiple times but was afraid of letting down her father, Jim Bob Duggar.
"It definitely got between us," she told People magazine in September 2023 of how she and husband Derick Dillard began fighting over the show. "No matter your age, you are to obey your parents' wishes and you even have to ask them for their blessing for any major moment in your life. That could be buying a house, moving to a different state, where to go to school. We were dealing with this a lot when we were trying to make decisions for our family, and we were really wrestling back and forth with it."
Jill Duggar alleged that her father, Jim Bob Duggar, actively tried to pit her and her husband, Derick Dillard, against each other.
"Whenever we were at odds with what her dad thought we should be doing with filming, he would say things that would be very damaging," Derick claimed to People magazine. "He would weaponize the relationship and say, 'Is this you, Jill, or is this you, Derick? Are you leading your wife astray and doing things that are not supportive of marriage?' And I think that was a red flag."
Things got so bad that Jill had to draw a line in the sand and pick a side. In doing so, she realized that her family's reality TV show was really the source of all their tensions.
"When I saw how it was affecting our marriage, I think that was another wake-up call for me," she told People. "It was like, OK, we need to either fight this battle together, or it's going to rip us apart. So, yeah, we had to join forces at that point."
Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard left the Institute in Basic Life Principles in 2020. They're now "trusting in God" in ways they see fit. (Jill's younger sister, Jinger Duggar Vuolo, has also since left the religion.)
Life is much better for the couple now that cameras are no longer chronicling their lives.
"I know there will be naysayers, but I feel called to do this," Jill told People magazine of writing her book. "We really wanted to tell our story for my siblings, because some of them are going to face similar challenges, if they haven't already, to what I've faced."
"Counting The Cost" hits bookstores on Sept. 12.
While it's no secret that Jill Duggar's relationship with her parents is now strained, they remain publicly supportive of her.
In a statement to People magazine, they said, "We love all of our children very much. As with any family, few things are more painful than conflicts or problems among those you love… We do not believe the best way to resolve conflicts, facilitate forgiveness and reconciliation, or to communicate through difficulties is through the media or in a public forum so we will not comment."