What You Don't Know About Jinger Duggar

The following article mentions eating disorders, mental health issues, miscarriages, and sexual abuse.

The Duggars were once one of reality TV's most controversial families, but these days, only a few members of the famously religious clan have managed to stay in the spotlight. Jinger Duggar, whose married name is Vuolo, is one of them, having made a name for herself outside of her family as an author, podcast host, and Instagram influencer. Of course, Jinger rose to fame along with the rest of the Duggars on the TLC series "19 Kids and Counting" and its spinoff "Counting On."

However, Jinger didn't plan on being a TV star, especially since she didn't even know what a TV show was. She recalled on the "Candid: Conversations With Jonathan Youssef" podcast, "You're 10 years old and we had camera crews enter...And so, it was very odd when that started." She added, "My parents told us it was a TV show and we were like, 'What's that?' So it didn't really make sense...until we got older."

While Jinger went on to co-write three books, she made headlines in 2023 for releasing her own memoir, "Becoming Free Indeed: My Story of Disentangling Faith from Fear." "This is a book about me and my spiritual journey," she explained to People. "I share stories from my life — stories that nobody saw while the TV cameras were rolling." It's clear that there is so much more to the former reality star than what we've seen on TV.

Jinger Duggar doesn't agree with her religious upbringing

Jinger Duggar's super-strict religious upbringing was interesting enough to get a TV show, but she no longer agrees with how she was raised. Duggar's parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, had raised their 19 children to be devout followers of the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), a Christian group created by former minister Bill Gothard that basically ran every aspect of their lives (via People). 

According to Duggar, Gothard's fear-based and even superstitious approach to religion left her "terrified of the outside world" because she thought God would punish her if she did something wrong. She admitted to Fox News, "I would definitely say that [his philosophy] was cult-like in nature...a lot of things make it tough for kids to leave." By 2017, though, Duggar came to the realization that her beliefs were based on Gothard's teachings and not the Bible like she had thought. She credited her husband for that, saying, "He was the first one who really challenged my thinking."

These days, Duggar remains spiritual, though she broke away from the IBLP and its rules. She shared with Christianity Today, "I now find rest for my soul in—realizing like it's not this performance-based religion ... That's not a relationship with Jesus."

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.

The TLC star had an eating disorder as a teen

Many fans probably don't know that Jinger Duggar had suffered from an eating disorder as a teenager. For Duggar, it had seemingly stemmed from her need to be perfect because she always worried about what others thought of her. She discussed that in her book, "The Hope We Hold," as well as how she turned to dangerous dieting that included skipping meals. 

In her book "Becoming Free Indeed," Duggar shared how her strict religious upbringing had perpetuated her eating disorder because it left her with a warped self image and shame towards her body. She explained, "Convinced my body was an embarrassment, I ate very little... My weight dropped, but my body image didn't improve."

Fortunately, Duggar was able to get help after confessing her eating disorder to her mother Michelle, who she learned could relate. She wrote, "I felt no judgment from her, just love and care." Michelle established a plan to get her daughter back to a healthy place by having her text when she ate and by monitoring her workouts. Most importantly Duggar shared, "Mom gave me the confidence to know I don't have to avoid food to be pretty."

If you need help with an eating disorder, or know someone who is, help is available. Visit the National Eating Disorders Association website or contact NEDA's Live Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. You can also receive 24/7 Crisis Support via text (send NEDA to 741-741).

Jinger Duggar is still close with some family members

It can be assumed that Jinger Duggar's book "Becoming Free Indeed" caused tension within her family, since she criticized their religion, the Institute in Basic Life Principles. A lot of her family, including her parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, remain devout followers, but Duggar says it hasn't caused a rift. She revealed on "Good Morning America" that she still speaks to her parents, and that she's "really grateful" for them. It likely helped that Duggar had told her parents what the book would cover so they weren't blindsided. It was also apparently a subject that she had addressed with them before (via Insider).

When it comes to Duggar's siblings, though, things might be a bit rockier. As she explained to ET, "Different [family members] are still in that setting, so some were more excited for me to share this story, while others may agree to disagree because they have their own opinions." Yet, Duggar still has a close bond with the sisters that she did the spinoff "Counting On" with. She shared with E!, "I keep in contact with all of them often because it's so easy to just be able to FaceTime, even though I'm so far away from them. So we still have close relationships."

The reality star regrets her past strict lifestyle

It appears that Jinger Duggar actually regrets following the strict religious lifestyle that her family became famous for. The former reality TV star made it clear that she was interested in living a more modern way of life when she first rebelled by wearing pants. As she explained in her book "The Hope We Hold": "Modesty was a huge topic in our house, and we believed that wearing skirts instead of pants was a central part of being modest." 

Duggar continued to break free from her past by enjoying other things she once prohibited, like listening to secular music and watching mainstream movies (via Insider). She no longer judges Christians who drink alcohol, either, despite her decision to continue to refrain from it. "Alcohol is not a sin. Jesus made wine at a wedding," she told People.

Although Duggar has certainly changed, she regrets preaching her former ways to young girls in the book "Growing Up Duggar," which she wrote with her sisters. She admitted to E!, "I encouraged young girls to do courtship, to have certain modesty guidelines..and now I look at it and say, 'Ugh. I promoted that?'" She even added, "I wish I could go back...and be like, 'Ugh, don't read it!'"

Jinger Duggar once questioned her relationship with Jeremy Vuolo

Chances are that if you're a fan of Jinger Duggar, then you know about her close relationship with her husband, Jeremy Vuolo, whom she's been married to since 2016. Vuolo not only appeared on her former reality show "Counting On," but they also wrote the book "The Hope We Hold" together, and hosted a joint podcast. With that said, it might be surprising to learn that Duggar wasn't sure she'd actually marry Vuolo early on in their courtship (via Us Weekly).

While that time is hard for Duggar to look back on, she did have valid concerns. "​​Will we be able to come together as two completely different human beings from different backgrounds and make this work?'" she questioned. What had to make matters worse was that Duggar's parents didn't initially approve of Vuolo, either. She revealed in "Becoming Free Indeed," "His background and theology were different from ours, and that gave my parents a pause."

The couple later reportedly still faced issues in their marriage, with a source telling The U.S. Sun that it was why they put their podcast on hold in 2021.

Jinger Duggar changed her opinions on courtship

Jinger Duggar seems happily married to Jeremy Vuolo, but it appears she still wishes that she went about their "courtship" differently. In fact, she may have completely changed her opinion on dating in general. The former podcast host revealed to People, "I would look at people who are dating and think, 'Oh, they are setting themselves up for a life of disaster,'" before suggesting that she now regrets not taking a similar approach.

One of those things that Duggar probably laughs at is having Vuolo fill out a 50-page questionnaire for her dad to prove his devotion. Yet, Duggar did once defend it to Us Weekly, saying, "Because we're so in the public eye ... [suitors would come] with the wrong intentions." She continued, "To be fair, I think [the document] is a good thing to kind of sort through real quick."

Some fans think that Duggar did secretly date family friend Lawson Bates as a teen, though. The two hung out multiple times before she married Vuolo, and it was even alleged that Bates was devastated the day before her wedding. That's because, per Inquisitor, he tweeted, "If you saw me last night & I was a lil out of sorts, srry; It was quite a day.????"

Jinger Duggar struggled with motherhood

Most fans know that Jinger Duggar is a mom, having welcomed daughters Felicity Nicole in 2018 and Evangeline Jo in 2020. Yet, some might not be aware that Duggar had struggled with motherhood, in more ways than one. In particular, she had to come to grips with the fact that barring children wasn't her sole purpose in life. She explained to Romper, "Within the setting that I was raised in, it was just assumed that you would get married young, and have as many kids as God would bless you with." However, she realized that it didn't work for her.

Duggar and her husband, Jeremy Vuolo, went on to approach parenthood much differently than the rest of her family, too, not only by waiting a year after marriage to get pregnant (which was apparently a long time for a Duggar!), but also by deciding to keep their family much smaller than her parents did. Nevertheless, Duggar told Insider, "My life may look different than theirs, but it doesn't mean that we can't still love each other and be gracious towards one another."

Unfortunately, Duggar faced another hardship with motherhood, having had a miscarriage before Evangeline was born. The author shared her sorrow in a now-deleted Instagram post, writing (via Daily Mail), "Tears filled my eyes, sadness cloaked my soul...The minutes feel like hours, the hours like days, don't they? I was helpless — nothing I could do would restore the lost life."

The author doesn't want her kids in the spotlight

It's understandable that Jinger Dugger would be hesitant to put her children in the spotlight, having spent the majority of her own childhood on camera. She and her husband Jeremy Vuolo are still public figures, though, which means their kids could be, too. 

Duggar has shared her girls on social media in the past, but apparently regrets doing so. As she shared on the "Dinner Party With Jeremy Fall" podcast, "You'll have those who will say really mean things...about my kids! And it's like, 'She's 2.'" It seems that because of that, she now sticks to only showing the backs of their heads. Of course, some criticize her for that too, with one person commenting on an Instagram post, "What is to be gained by showing the backs of children?"

Regardless, it's important for Duggar to do things her own way. She explained to People, "I just want to give my kids the best life possible and so it will probably look different than my upbringing did." But just because she doesn't want fame for them, doesn't mean she'll hold them back from others, either. She dished to Romper, "I think the beautiful thing is not sheltering them from the world around them, but having them see that it's a sweet opportunity to be able to engage with those around you."

Fame impacted Jinger Duggar's mental health

It's safe to say that a reason that Jinger Duggar doesn't want her kids in the spotlight is because she herself struggled with being in the public eye. She admitted to People that despite the many perks of fame, it can negatively impact her mental health at times.

Still, Duggar apparently has a soft spot for her fans, even if some did start the "Free Jinger" movement just from her expressing an interest in moving to a city on her family's reality shows, "19 Kids and Counting" and "Counting On." As she told Page Six, "I think it's kind that they would think, 'OK, we want to help her be free of what we think is binding her.'"

It appears that Duggar still struggled with social anxiety even when the cameras stopped rolling, like when she moved to Texas and had to meet new people. She wrote in "Becoming Free Indeed," "The pressure of figuring out what to say, combined with the fear of saying the wrong thing, became overwhelming." She continued, "I didn't know who I was, either, so I'd try to adapt to the other person's personality—or I'd freeze."

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Jinger Duggar is happier living in a city

"19 Kids and Counting" viewers saw that a young Jinger Duggar had dreams of moving out of her small town in Arkansas to a big city. However, many probably don't know that she was able to follow through with that after marrying Jeremy Vuolo since the two left Arkansas for the city of Laredo, Texas in 2017. The TV personality apparently thrived in that setting too, with her telling People at the time, "We have just so perfectly adapted, it's been incredible. The biggest blessing" (via Romper).

Just two years later though, the couple decided to move to one of the world's most famous cities... Los Angeles. You could say that was an even better fit for Duggar. She told People, "LA has been a really cool place to be. I always have loved big cities and so when the opportunity came for us to move here I was very excited." For Duggar, it's important that she lives in a location where her kids can have a different experience than she did as a child.

Duggar also found people she clicks with outside of just her siblings. She revealed to E!, "We have an awesome community around us, really good solid friends that we love to hang out with...and so I'm just so grateful."

Jinger Duggar is creative with her hobbies

With two young kids and four books under Jinger Duggar's belt, it's safe to say that the Arkansas native has no trouble staying busy. Yet when she does have time for hobbies, it seems she leans toward creative pursuits. One of her passions used to be car flipping (renovating old cars for resale), which she was often shown doing on both "19 Kids and Counting" and its spinoff "Counting On." In an interview, she shared that she had developed an interest in automobiles because of her family's car dealership (via Inquisitr).

Some fans speculated on Reddit that Duggar probably lost interest in flipping cars after marrying Jeremy Vuolo. It wasn't her only interest, though, considering that, according to InTouch Weekly, she was also once really into photography. Duggar wasn't only said to be a wedding photographer, but was also known for the high-quality photoshoots that she'd often do with her siblings when living in Arkansas.

Duggar is apparently still finding ways to be creative in Los Angeles, like when she did some fashion design for her YouTube vlog. She shared,"I decided to try something new. I decided to try to customize my own pair of shoes." From the looks of her Instagram, Duggar also likes to flex her creativity by experimenting in the kitchen, since she often shares posts of herself cooking up different recipes.

Jinger Duggar doesn't speak to her brother Josh

Jinger Duggar may maintain a close relationship with some of her family members, but that doesn't include her older brother, Josh Duggar. The disgraced former reality star was accused of sexual abuse in 2015 and was later sentenced to 12 and half years in prison in 2022 for child pornography charges. 

With that said, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Jinger cut ties with him. She told ABC News, "I haven't spoken to him. I think the best thing I can do is just pray for him." Jinger was more specific with what her prayers were to Insider: "Ultimately I just would pray that he would be truly broken about what he's done."

Jinger is often asked about Josh in interviews, even if she has said multiple times that his crimes are hard for her to talk about. She has made it clear that she stands with his victims and not him. She told Fox News, "My heart breaks for the victims and their families. And at the same time...I'm grateful that justice is being served."

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).