The Duggar family has had a presence on TLC going back to 2008 thanks to 19 Kids and Counting and then the follow-up spinoff Counting On, but not all of the Duggar kids have stuck around. Jill Duggar Dillard and husband Derick Dillard left the show and started pursuing their own goals, and although the reasons were never fully addressed on Counting On, Jill has finally shared her blunt thoughts on why she made her departure and continues to distance herself from her family.
Jill Duggar Dillard and Derick Dillard were prominent in 19 Kids and Counting and continued their reality TV stint on Counting On during its early seasons on TLC, but both left the show and network back in 2017, and Jill has made some public choices that definitely haven't happened with any of the Duggars who stuck around. Jill explained why they made the decision to leave, telling People:
We just wanted more control of our own lives. There was a certain job that we had been working towards for, even before we were married, that was taken away from us.
Although Jill Duggar Dillard didn't specify what the "certain job" was that they were working towards, Derick Dillard is currently in his final year of law school. Derick stated that they "spent time and money working towards opportunities" in the first few years of their marriage, only to be told they weren't allowed to follow through.
In the years since Jill Duggar Dillard and Derick Dillard left TLC, they've made a lot of changes. Jill has been spotted wearing pants instead of the traditional skirts and dresses of the women in the Duggar family, although she was clear that her decision wasn't "reactionary." She chooses to drink alcohol now, and she's even modeling swimwear. Modest swimwear, but it's still swimwear!
Jill Duggar Dillard went on to share how the Duggar family and TLC reacted to the news that she and Derick Dillard would be leaving reality TV behind:
It didn't go over very well with anyone. By that point we'd had enough. We knew we had to pull out completely to reevaluate and get our bearings.
These comments were surprisingly blunt coming from Jill Duggar Dillard, but they're nothing compared to some of what Derick Dillard has said about the Duggar patriarch, Jim Bob. In a series of Instagram comments, Derick alleged that he and Jill were "humiliated and threatened" when they attempted to no longer film for TLC, and the reason they were able to quit was that some of the other Duggars got married.
That said, Derick Dillard also gave hope to fans who want to see him and Jill Duggar Dillard back on Counting On, saying that "maybe" they would return someday. For their part, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar acknowledged in a statement the "differences of opinion and perspective," but it's their prayer that the "relationship is healed and fully restored quickly."
For now, Counting On is carrying on without the Dillards on TLC. The family is still expanding, as the Duggars who were the kids of 19 Kids and Counting start families of their own, so there is always plenty going on even without Jill and Derick.
If you're in the mood for a blast from the Duggar past, the first three seasons of Counting On are available streaming on Hulu. For some options not featuring any of the expansive Duggar family, be sure to check out our 2020 fall TV premiere schedule.