10 Times Amy Duggar Broke The Duggar Family's Strict Rules

The following article contains references to child abuse, spiritual abuse, and sexual assault. 

No sex before marriage, modest clothing, and chaperoned dates — these are just a few of the rules the Duggars were expected to follow, as shown on the TLC reality television show "19 Kids and Counting" and its spinoff, "Counting On." The extra-large family, which featured patriarch Jim Bob Duggar, his wife Michelle Duggar, and their 19 children, was a smash hit for TLC prior to it being canceled by the network in 2015.

The original series ended after nine seasons following accusations that Jim Bob and Michelle's oldest child, Josh, molested five underage girls, including two of his sisters, Jill Dillard and Jess Seewald. "Counting On" made it 11 seasons before its cancellation in 2021 due to Josh's child pornography charges, for which he is serving a 12-year federal prison sentence.

The TLC shows portrayed the Duggar kids as a unique group of well-mannered children who shared the same ultra-religious values as their parents. However, the truth is more complicated than that.

Amy King (née Duggar), the only child of Jim Bob's sister, Deanna Duggar, has the reputation of being one of the biggest rebels of the Duggar ladies. She's made several cameos on the family's reality television shows and isn't as in step with the older Duggars as you might think. Here are some of the family's strict rules that Amy has broken.

Amy King was a serial dater before marrying Dillon King

Before meeting husband Dillon King, Amy King was a serial dater, which is not the Duggar family's default dating style known as courting. Duggar family patriarch Jim Bob Duggar explained the differences between telling Today, "Dating is spending time with someone alone, not necessarily with the end goal of marriage. Not so with courtship, which is carefully monitored and not for the commitment-phobic." He continued, saying, "Courtship is really waiting for the one God has for you and praying through the whole process." When courting, the Duggar kids also had to take chaperones along. Jim Bob told the outlet this process helps instill accountability, which ultimately "keeps things from going in the wrong direction" on dates.

Amy, however, dished about her dating history to People, saying she had a pattern of chasing "bodybuilder types" in her early dating days, but it didn't work as the guys "turned out to be one dud after another." Despite her ultra-conservative family's views on dating, the reality star isn't embarrassed by her choices. She openly shared that she dated at least six men and defended her dating snafus to the publication, saying, "It looked like I jumped from guy to guy, but I'm glad I dated that much before marriage because it showed me what kind of characteristics I wanted to find and the personalities that worked well with mine."

She had sex before marriage

Sex and physical intimacy before marriage is a no-go for the Duggar family — except for Amy King, that is. Amy admitted to People that she lost her virginity prior to meeting her husband, Dillon King, and it's clear she doesn't have regrets about not waiting until marriage. "What if you get married and then that connection isn't there," Amy told the magazine. "I think that if I was a virgin on my wedding night and had never been kissed, I would end up rocking in the corner! That is so much emotion all at once," she said.

Premarital sex goes against Jim Bob Duggar and Michelle Duggar's strict courtship rules like engaging in side hugs, never going on a date without a chaperone, and avoiding intimacy before marriage. In fact, several of the Duggar kids didn't even have their first kiss until their wedding day."We believe it's best for them to save the physical part for marriage," Michelle told Today. "That way there's no regrets."

Like Amy, Dillon was not a virgin when the two met; however, Amy said they still put up "a thin line of boundaries" when dating. "We had fun, but we didn't stay over and we decided early on not to move in together," Amy told People.

She didn't subject her son to blanket training when she became a mom

Every parent goes through the process of baby-proofing their home during those early crawling and walking phases, as babies are born with the natural instinct to explore everything in their environment as soon as they can move independently. The Duggar family uses this early childhood exploration time as a chance to start teaching children how to behave via a method called blanket training, and Amy King isn't a fan of it.

In their book "To Train Up a Child," Michael and Debi Pearl explained the parenting method, which teaches parents to put their baby on a blanket with a single toy and hit the child when he or she attempts to move off the blanket. While Michelle Duggar didn't say if she hit her children during "blanket time," she confirmed she used the method to teach her kids "self-control" at a young age in her book "The Duggars: 20 and Counting!"

Amy shared her opinion of the method in a September 2020 Instagram post, writing, "There is NO blanket training happening at this house!! I want my child to roam free and to feel safe doing so! I want him to explore and be curious and make messes." Amy explained her beliefs further, "Children need love and acceptance and praise! They shouldn't ever be controlled. And there's a fine line between re-direction and abuse."

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

She defied the Duggars' modest dress code filming a TikTok in a towel

One of the most well-known rules in the Duggar family is dressing modestly. In a since-deleted blog post, Michelle Duggar explained she and husband Jim Bob Duggar would use bible verses to help guide their family's dress code. "We really wanted to see what the scriptures said about [modesty]," Michelle wrote. "Our interpretation was that from the neck down to the knee should be covered. By keeping those private areas covered, there's not any 'defrauding' going on." Michelle defined defrauding as "stirring up desires that cannot be righteously fulfilled." 

The Duggar girls seemed to follow the strict rule closely when they lived under their parents' roof, wearing long skirts, shirts with sleeves, and leggings underneath dresses. Amy King, on the other hand, has broken this modesty rule many times. In fact, in February 2023, she posted a TikTok video of herself in a towel. The point of the video was not to talk about the family's dress code, though. Instead, she vented to her followers about turning down the opportunity to be a country music star 20 years ago. She told followers she disapproved of the contract's language, as she would've had to hand over her rights regarding everything from what she'd be able to wear to how she'd be able to vote.

She wears swimsuits (yes, even bikinis)

The Duggar women are not supposed to wear bikinis or bare their midriff. Matriarch Michelle Duggar explained her family's modest beachwear rule in an old TLC blog post telling fans, "This isn't for everyone, and we don't push this on anybody. And we don't judge anyone that doesn't have this perspective, but for us, we felt like we needed to be covered from our neck to below our knees mainly because God talks about the thigh being uncovered, and how that's nakedness and shame." 

According to Michelle, the family tries to avoid the beach, pools, or anywhere where swimsuits are often involved because, as she wrote, "It's just too hard for the guys to try to keep their eyes averted in those situations." Michelle's niece Amy King, obviously thinks differently, as Amy has posted many photos of herself wearing bikinis, including while pregnant, and enjoying the water.

She didn't wear a sleeved wedding dress like the other Duggars

The Duggar women are supposed to always uphold the family's modest dress code — even on their wedding day. We watched several of the Duggar kids get married on their TLC reality television shows "19 Kids and Counting" and "Counting On," and they all wore modest wedding dresses.

Bridal store owner Renee Miller made cameos in a few of these episodes and shared her experience designing Jinger Duggar Vuolo's wedding dress, which appeared on Season 3 of "Counting On." In an interview with the Duggar family blog, Miller said Jinger instructed her to make a "modest" dress with sleeves, lace, and an a-line skirt. Miller did just that and explained, "Modesty doesn't have to look tacky. Just because you have certain standards doesn't mean you should have to take a dress that you don't feel comfortable in and haphazardly add pieces."

Unlike her cousins, Amy King opted against sleeves for her wedding dress when she married Dillon King in front of her 400 closest friends and family members. Instead, the bride wore a sleeveless gown with a sweetheart neckline to her 2015 wedding at Horton Farms in Arkansas. Her Uncle Jim Bob Duggar, aunt Michelle Duggar and several of her Duggar cousins were in attendance that day — and we can't help but wonder what the family thought of the dress.

She wears shorts and cleavage-baring tops

You're not supposed to show cleavage or too much leg if you're a Duggar woman; however, Amy King has no problem doing it. In an Instagram post on the Fourth of July 2022, she is seen wearing a cleavage-baring red striped tank top and ripped denim shorts. On her birthday that same year, she posted another cleavage-baring selfie on Instagram. This would certainly not fly with Michelle Duggar, who once wrote in a blog post, "I realize that you can't keep somebody from having wrong thoughts, but I do think you have control at least on how you present yourself." She went on to explain that her daughters eventually became naturally  "sensitive" about their clothing. "The girls would say, "Do you think this is too low-cut or should I put a pin here? Or what do you think about this? Is this too short," Michelle wrote.

Amy isn't the only girl to rebel against the family dress code, though. In an interview with People, Jinger Duggar Vuolo admitted, "I thought I had to wear only skirts and dresses to please God. Music with drums, places I went or the wrong friendships could all bring harm." Jinger continued, saying, "I thought I could be killed in a car accident on the way, because I didn't know if God wanted me to stay home and read my Bible instead."

She drinks alcohol

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar used bible verses to encourage their kids against drinking alcohol. In their book "Growing up Duggar," Jana Duggar, Jill Dillard, Jessa Seewald, and Jinger Vuolo said their parents told them stories about tragic things that happened to people when alcohol and drugs were involved.

However, Amy King appeared to break the no-alcohol rule when she posted a video on Instagram of her and her husband completing a wine challenge. This wasn't isn't the first time Amy's posted about drinking on social media, though, as she's been occasionally pictured drinking wine.

She isn't the lone ranger though. Jill Duggar defended her choice to drink a pina colada in 2021 telling People, "Growing up, the whole idea of drinking was not encouraged." Jill confirmed that her faith doesn't allow her to "get drunk," but said she can drink socially. "I know my parents would not be happy with it, and I know that my siblings, some more than others, would probably have an issue with it. Other ones would probably be like, 'Whatever's good for y'all, that's fine. Live your life.' So far nobody's said anything to us about it," Jill told the magazine.

She celebrates Halloween

Many families with small children enjoy celebrating Halloween with their children. Picking out a cute costume for trick-or-treating, carving pumpkins, and handing out candy are a right of passage for most children — and Amy King and her family partake. However, Halloween is a no-go for the "19 Kids and Counting" family.

"While we do go to pumpkin patches and corn mazes, we don't do the Halloween thing," Michelle Duggar confirmed in a since-deleted blog post. "From the beginning of our marriage, we just kind of felt like we didn't want to celebrate that holiday. But we enjoy the harvest celebration," Michelle explained.

Nevertheless, Amy proudly shared Instagram photos and videos of her family celebrating the holiday in 2022. In one photo, her son Daxton can be seen trick-or-treating in an excavator costume alongside a friend dressed up as Elsa from the Disney movie "Frozen." Another photo showed Amy's house decked out in Halloween decor with a giant skeleton, multiple jack-o'-lanterns, and a spooky ghost on the front lawn.

She doesn't support the Duggars' religion

Amy King isn't a follower of her family's Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) religion and has even condemned it on social media. "I was never a part of the IBLP officially but I was around family members who were very much involved and on the board of it," Amy captioned a TikTok video, which she reshared on Instagram in January 2023. "I am just not going to be afraid anymore to speak the truth and expose the damaging cult that IBLP is."

Back in 2018, Amy tweeted, "I do not support Bill Gothard and the Institute of Biblical Life Principles in any way, shape or form. I find his 'teachings' extremely questionable." Gothard, the founder of the IBLP religion, resigned in 2014 after multiple sexual harassment and sexual abuse allegations were made against him, Religion News Service reported.

In her 2023 book "Becoming Free Indeed," the sixth Duggar child, Jinger Duggar Vuolo, gave insight into her family's religion, which according to its website, is supposed to help people "find success by following God's principles found in scripture." Calling some of the teachings "hurtful and untrue," Jinger said admitted, "I knew I needed to speak publicly about this because I promoted teachings that I now believe are damaging."

If you or someone you know is dealing with spiritual abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.