Jill Duggar has released a memoir about her family. Here are 8 things we learnt.

Jill Duggar Dillard has released her memoir - and it's not short on details about her decade on television and her infamous family.

The Duggars rose to fame on the TLC network series 19 Kids and Counting, which followed her parents Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar and their 19 children, whose names all begin with the letter 'J'.

For a long time, Jill was the wholesome, obedient star of the series. But more recently, she has been calling the show — and her own family — out for exploitation.

In Counting the Cost, Jill lays out the immense toll that 19 Kids and Counting and its spin-off Counting On had on her family, including her own relationship with her father Jim Bob Duggar, who she confirmed to People she did not "have one-on-one contact" with.

Her book is now available, and here are eight key takeaways.

Jill claims father Jim Bob tricked her into a reality contract.

Jill has previously stated in documentary Shiny Happy People that her father Jim Bob encouraged her to sign a contract without explaining what it was for on the morning of her wedding day, tricking her into five more years of filming.

In the book, Jill wrote that her father described it as something that was going to get her paid. She said she signed it as she had no reason not to "trust Pops", and only discovered more about it when she was forced to fly from El Salvador to Houston for a photo shoot due to a contractual obligation.

She added that within the contract was a requirement that she notify the network if she discovered she was pregnant.


The network interfered in her relationship, and she barred filming from her honeymoon.

Jill describes the way her family saw the show as like a 'televised ministry', allowing them to share their religious beliefs with millions of viewers. But it was also a reality show, meaning it had to make a network money.

One way this happened was through a ratings spike whenever one of them was courting - which impacted her trip to Nepal to meet her now husband Derick Dillard to decide if she wanted to pursue a relationship with him.

She said cameras planned to follow her, but TLC only wanted to pay for five days and Jill felt she needed more time to make such a big decision. So she and Derick filmed a fake goodbye scene to give the episode a nice ending and she then stayed on an extra week without cameras.

The network also had a say in their wedding and invited hundreds of people she didn't know, but she didn't mind because she considered this part of serving the 'televised ministry'.

But she put her foot down and barred filming of her honeymoon - at which point she said TLC told her they would have to finance it themselves.

Image: Prime Video.


There were rules for pregnancy announcements.

When Duggar fell pregnant with her firstborn Israel in 2014, there was already a well-worn path to follow to announce the pregnancy.

"First, we were supposed to tell producers, then — when they were ready to capture it on film — we were allowed to tell our parents," she wrote.

The network also had a PR plan in place, which gave People magazine the rights to an exclusive story and photoshoot. Jill said she and Derick could not tell anyone except a few close friends and family until after the story was published.

She refused to have her first birth filmed.

Jill did not want her birth to be filmed, which she wrote put her offside with not just producers, but her parents as well.


Her mum Michelle had given birth on camera multiple times which was huge for ratings, but Jill — a trained midwife — said she knew that "in that most intimate, vulnerable place of childbirth, I'd value my privacy more than ever". 

But after discussion, she relented to having her mum and sister Jana film footage instead of official crew.

"If I said no, I'd have an even bigger battle on my hands," she wrote.

Duggar's 70-hour labour and C-section were featured in a two-hour special watched by three million people.

Her father pocketed major money from the series, but she didn't.

Jill said after she and her husband began to question their obligations on the show, Jim Bob offered each of his children US$80,000 if they signed a restrictive contract that required them to be available for all TV shows, sign a lifetime nondisclosure agreement and would not allow fee negotiations.

"To me, at that time, the level of secrecy and control Pops exerted on us felt normal," Jill explained.

She did not sign the contract and Jim Bob paid the siblings their $80k each anyway - which became even more complicated in 2018 when Jill says she received a letter from the tax department stating they had been paid US$130,000.

They pushed for the difference and Jim Bob responded with a list of expenses that he said made up the difference, including family meals for 12 years and education costs.


Jill estimated her family received US$8 million over the course of their TV series, and that her wedding and birth specials netted her dad more than US$100k each - but he would still push back on covering hospital costs and other out-of-pocket expenses.

However, Jim Bob had acquired a real estate portfolio and a fleet of private planes.

"He'd grown rich off the show and had fought hard to keep that under wraps," she wrote.

She was horrified when the report about her brother molesting her was made public.

Josh Duggar — Jill's brother, who was reported to have molested multiple underage girls, including four of his siblings, when he was aged between 12 and 15 and who was found guilty on child pornography charges in 2021 — is not a major figure in her book, and Jill remains adamant that the information that he abused her should have never have been made public.

In her book, Jill wrote that the police report — which was published in 2015 — dredged up painful memories about something she'd thought would always remain private.

She said she could barely eat or sleep in the weeks following and recalled telling her husband she was "terrible... I wish I were dead".

She nearly died giving birth to her second child.

Jill wrote that during the birth of her second son Samuel, she had a uterine rupture.

When she woke up four hours after an emergency C-section, Derick told her there had been a hole in her uterus as big as his fist and she could've died without a blood transfusion.


Samuel was also unresponsive at birth and a scan revealed bleeding on his brain. Doctors warned it was possible he'd end up with brain damage, but thankfully the bleed healed itself.

Jill feels like she's found happiness.

Throughout the book, Jill writes a lot about untangling herself from the beliefs of her family and childhood.

She and Derick have three sons, two of whom go to public school. She says she has fellow mum friends and has taken up gardening, wears pants and has a nose ring - and when her father saw images of her like this, he text her Bible verses to signal his disapproval.

For a time, she was barred from visiting the family home and during one particularly intense mediation session, she recalled yelling "you treat me worse than you treat my pedophile brother".

"He hated the hunk of metal in my nose. He despised how I was dressing in ways that put sexual thoughts in guys’ minds," she wrote. "Instead of his Sweet Jilly Muffin, I was now a threat to the rest of his children, and a threat to his authority."

She's also become a big advocate for therapy and said she is glad to have the opportunity through her book to tell her side of the story.

Feature image: Getty.

Do you have children aged under 13 years? Take this survey now to go in the running to win one of four $50 gift vouchers for your time.