Which Kids From The Duggar Clan Have Left The Family? There's More Than We Thought

It's no secret that the Duggar family is quite large. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar raised 19 children and documented their conservative religious lifestyle on TLC with their highly successful reality show "19 Kids and Counting." By the time the spinoff, "Counting On," began many of the older Duggar children were getting married and moving out of their childhood home.

Of course, this didn't stop the cameras from capturing the weddings and eventual birth experiences of the older Duggar girls and boys. While getting married and starting a family of your own doesn't necessarily mean that you are completely cutting ties with your parents, not all of them chose to remain as close as they once were.

Since the Duggars' ideology was primarily influenced by the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), and its founder Bill Gothard, many of those teachings were treated as gospel, such as women not wearing pants, saving your first kiss for marriage, and women being subservient to their father and husband. Therefore, when the adult Duggar children began to question these teachings or think for themselves, it inevitably created distance between the family members.

Jill Duggar made waves when she left the family

Jill Duggar made it known in the "Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets" documentary that her father was quite controlling, going so far as to trick her and her husband, Derick Dillard, into signing a filming contract with TLC the night before their wedding in 2014. This became a major problem when Jill and her husband wanted to prioritize their missionary work as a couple over the family's reality TV show.

According to court papers obtained by E! News, which included Jill's conversation with a psychologist, she described her relationship with Jim Bob Duggar as destructive, adding that she "realized he had become pretty controlling, fearful and reactionary" when he didn't get his way. With Jill referring to her father as "emotionally abusive," it's no surprise that she felt the need to separate from her family completely.

While choosing to drink alcohol, wear pants, and embrace a nose piercing were things that never would have been embraced by her parents, they were only the beginning for Jill. The former reality star explained to People that she was never paid for her time on television until she and Dillard hired an attorney after leaving TLC in 2017. Undoubtedly, this created even more tension and animosity between her and her father, but it seems like Jill Duggar Dillard is risking everything to tell her truth — and we love her for it.

Jinger Duggar took a different approach

There are many reasons why Jinger Duggar didn't participate in the "Shiny Happy People" documentary. The truth is, her journey has been quite different from her sisters'. While Jinger made it clear that she completely rejects the teachings of Bill Gothard in her book, "Becoming Free Indeed," even equating the IBLP to a cult, her approach to separating from her family was much more subtle and nuanced. Since her husband, Jeremy Vuolo, was a pastor in Texas, she physically moved away from her family in Arkansas right after their wedding.

Once that distance was there, Jinger had the ability to reflect on her upbringing and began to question many of the rules that she thought were biblical. With the support of her husband, Jinger started wearing pants and even changed her views on alcohol and birth control, confirming to People that she doesn't view either as wrong or sinful anymore.

While Jinger leaving Gothard's teachings behind may seem like a complete rejection of her family, she's worked hard to clarify the difference, explaining to Good Morning America that she is thankful for her parents and still talks to them, adding that "they sought to give [her] the best life." So, while her beliefs are different now, and she's separated from her family's ideology, there is clearly still love between them.

Jessa Duggar and Ben Seewald have been quiet about leaving

While some people may view silence as support when it comes to the harmful practices of the IBLP, Jessa Duggar and her husband, Ben Seewald, have spoken quietly about where they seem to disagree. Instead of appearing in a documentary or writing a memoir about their personal experiences, Seewald chose to intertwine his stance into a November 2022 sermon that he gave at Immanuel Baptist Church regarding the dangers of false religion.

Many fans were quick to connect Seewald's sermon to the teachings of the IBLP, claiming that he and Jessa believe that Bill Gothard is teaching a false religion. Without a Crystal Ball analyzed the recorded sermon even further on Instagram, relating quotes about hypocrisy to Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and showing how Seewald encouraged people to question what they were being told to believe.

While this subtle metaphor speaks volumes about where the couple stands, Jinger Duggar also reportedly wrote in her book that Jessa was a pivotal person during her deconstruction and helped her reexamine her beliefs. Since Jessa has been attending a non-IBLP church for years and wears pants now, it's pretty clear that she's been distancing herself from her family's practices for a while.

Josh Duggar left the family a long time ago

There's no doubt that the oldest Duggar child is the source of numerous controversies that fly in the face of the "family values" he's spent his life propagating. While the Duggars tried to show how Josh Duggar's scandal brought the family closer together, the truth is, Josh straying from the fold likely led to their downfall.

In May 2015, police documents from the early 2000s were revealed to the public, showing that when Josh was a teenager he was responsible for molesting five underage girls, including several of his own sisters. When this news broke, the Duggar family's main concern seemed to be the future of their reality television show, with Jill Duggar revealing in the "Shiny Happy People" documentary that she felt pressured to volunteer to defend her brother in an interview with Megyn Kelly.

Shortly after the shocking truth was revealed, a security breach of the website Ashley Madison, which is designed for those in relationships looking for affairs, exposed Josh yet again. According to The Hollywood Reporter, his subscriptions to the site spanned from early 2013 to mid-2015. Then, in 2022, Josh was sentenced to 12 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of possession of child pornography. Interestingly, it seems like his lifestyle and actions never truly aligned with the rest of the Duggars.

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).

It was relatively easy for Amy Duggar to leave

Amy Duggar became known on TLC's "19 Kids and Counting" as the rebellious cousin because of her alternative lifestyle, which would be considered a more normal one by most people's standards. Although she grew up wearing jeans, watching television, and even kissing boys before marriage, she loved visiting her cousins and accepted them despite these differences.

The reason why Amy Duggar is so vocal about her family's wrongdoings now is that she realized how much harm their beliefs were causing. After appearing in the "Shiny Happy People" documentary, People detailed the various bombshells, one of which was Amy recounting how Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar often beat their children with sharp implements as a form of "encouragement."

Amy is also done being compared to her cousins when it comes to having kids, writing in a 2020 social media post that "a women's [sic] body is not a factory!!" She seemed to express frustration with her affiliation to the large Duggar family and the pressure it put on her to have more than one child too, adding that she is "away from that show and [she's] so over it." Of course, Amy's connection with her extended family will always be there, but since she wasn't raised in the IBLP, it was likely easier for her to create the distance she desired.