The untold truth of Counting On

Counting On started airing back in 2015 on TLC with the name Jill & Jessa: Counting On to document the lives of a couple of the older Duggar family siblings as they started their own families. A spinoff of the Duggar family's 19 Kids and Counting, Counting On was notably created after a major scandal surrounding Josh Duggar made headlines, leading to 19 Kids and Counting being canceled. The Duggar family had previously shot to fame back in 2002, as noted by the Daily Mail, when a viral photo of the large Christian family led to the 2004 TV special 14 Kids and Counting (via In Touch). But despite the scandal, the famous family has remained in the public eye.

As Counting On continues and viewers learn more and more about the Duggars, it's become pretty clear that there are still plenty of secrets about the unusual family yet to be uncovered. We've discovered a few of these little known facts about the Duggars and their show. Read on to find out the untold truth of Counting On.

Is Jim Bob the only Counting On star with a contract?

Duggar daughter Jill Dillard's husband, Derick Dillard, once played a crucial role on Counting On, but the couple left in 2017, as per New York Daily News. In 2019, Derick suggested that family patriarch Jim Bob Duggar has always been in control of the contracts for the whole family. "All of the shows have been under his contract, and he is the only one with a contract," Derick claimed in an Instagram comment, responding to a fan, as reported by In Touch Weekly. Derick went on to suggest that he, Jill, and the other Duggars were threatened with lawsuits if they refused to be on the show.

If what Derick claimed is true and Jim Bob is the only member of the family with a contract, compensation for filming would go directly to him. And that's something Derick has seemingly addressed, too. According to The Hollywood Gossip, Derick posted a series of tweets, which have since been deleted, claiming that he and his wife had been "volunteers and hadn't been paid anything for the show."

Why Derick Dillard was fired from Counting On

The reason for Derick and Jill Dillard's 2017 departure from Counting On is somewhat unclear, but it appears that Derick was fired by TLC after making transphobic remarks on Twitter. According to Washington Blade, Derick's tweet about TLC star Jazz Jennings, a transgender woman, was where the rift began. In November 2017, Derick tweeted about Jennings, inappropriately using male pronouns. Early the same year, Dillard controversially tweeted, "'Transgender' is a myth. Gender is not fluid; it's ordained by God."

Afterwards, TLC released a Twitter statement, expressing that Derick's transphobia was the reason he and Jill were absent from the show: "We want to let our viewers know that Derick Dillard has not participated in Counting On for months and the network has no plans to feature him in the future. We want to reiterate that Derick's personal statements do not reflect the views of the network." 

However, Derick continues to maintain that he left the show because of his own personal reasons, and The Hollywood Gossip reported that Derick claimed he and Jill "wanted to leave and they didn't want us to." Whatever the truth may be, it's clear that TLC isn't keen to associate with the Dillards after Derick's comments. 

Did Amy King sign an NDA about Counting On?

In 2020, Amy King (née Duggar), a cousin of the Duggars, claimed that she isn't able to talk about her extended family because she signed a non-disclosure agreement. The confession came on Instagram Live. According to The Sun, Amy began to speak about Jana Duggar, the eldest Duggar daughter, before a family member jumped in and said, "You have an NDA!" Amy reportedly replied, "Stop! You're going to get us in trouble!"

Amy isn't exactly in favor with the Duggar family. In 2018, Amy opened a boutique selling what the Duggars may see as risqué clothing (via The Sun), a style that doesn't exactly fit with the Duggar brand. So, could Amy's NDA, in fact, be between her and Duggar patriarch Jim Bob Duggar, rather than TLC, the network on which Counting On airs? Whatever the truth may be about Amy and her NDA, it seems she has information about the Duggars that someone doesn't want the public to know. 

Jana Duggar seemed to hint that Counting On is scripted

Jana Duggar is the oldest Duggar daughter, as noted by TLC. In 2019, she posted some behind-the-scenes pictures on her Instagram page, and some fans of the show were presumably quite shocked to see that Counting On appears to be filmed on a set as opposed to inside the Duggar family home. Looking at the extensive crew and setup of the shot, it would appear that scenes in the show have been crafted. Nevertheless, Jana assured fans that the show was, in fact, filmed in their home and that they faked nothing for the camera, according to Showbiz CheatSheet.

However, Jana's photos certainly make it seem like more is planned than some viewers thought. But is the show actually scripted? According to Showbiz CheatSheet, Derick Dillard suggested that the show is, sharing on social media, "If you only know our family from a semi-scripted show then you are either assuming things that aren't there or believe that all you see is all there is." While it's unclear how much of the show is real, it sounds like it's more staged than we thought.

Jill Dillard helped to deliver her sister's baby, despite not being on Counting On anymore

Jill Dillard appeared in a 2019 episode of Counting On in which she helped to deliver sister Jessa Duggar Seewald's third child, Ivy. This was a rare appearance for Jill — she and her husband, Derick Dillard, hadn't been present on the show for a while. Some fans believe that TLC cut ties with the family after Derick's transphobic tweets (via In Touch), but others are convinced that Jill's absence was due to her increased rebelliousness, as noted by the Daily Mail.

In December 2019, Derick shed a little more light on the tensions between the Dillards and the Duggars. As reported by the Daily Mail, Derick replied to a fan's Instagram comment, saying, "We're not allowed at the house when [Jim Bob] isn't there." He went on, "Jill even had to ask [Jim Bob] permission to go over to the house to help her sister when she was in labor." Sounds like family tensions are running a whole lot higher than we thought.

Derick Dillard claims that some people were cut out of Counting On's episode about Grandma Duggar's funeral

In 2020, Derick Dillard made some bold claims about how TLC had cut a few family members out of Grandma Mary Duggar's funeral on Counting On in 2019. In Touch explained how Derick took to his Instagram comments to shed light on why his family and Amy King's (née Duggar) family were not in the episode that featured the Duggar grandmother's funeral. A fan commented on his Instagram post, saying, "[I] never see you, Jill or the kids in any episodes. Not even the heart wrenching episode of grandmother Duggar's death." Derick replied, "TLC cut out any family that they don't want viewers to see in attendance. It wasn't in the script for us or the Kings to be there."

It seems that Derick might be telling the truth about TLC censoring what viewers see on the show. In 2019, Jill posted about the funeral, sharing photos from the day. So, it'd appear that she and her husband were, in fact, present, which leaves us wondering if TLC did actually cut them all out on purpose.

Jinger and Jeremy Vuolo said this Counting On crew member is practically part of the family

The Duggar family has been filming for TLC since 2004, as noted by The Washington Post. So, it's no surprise that the family has become pretty used to having crew members around. Despite the fact that the Duggar family and crew members were originally supposed to keep their distance, according to Showbiz CheatSheet, it seems that the family and the crew have become closer in more recent years. In 2020, Counting On's Jinger Vuolo (née Duggar) shared a photo on Instagram of her daughter sitting on one of the producers' laps, as reported by OK! magazine. The caption read, "'Uncle' Scott Enlow has been on our film crew since day one. When they first started filming I was only 10 years old." She continued, "He used to be our cameraman, now he's our producer! Thankful for a film crew who is more like family!" 

In 2015, a TLC special had introduced viewers to some crew members, including Enlow, as noted by People. In the special, Enlow explained how he disciplined the younger Duggar children, saying, "You listen to me, because I've been in this family longer than you have!" It really does sound like he and the Duggars are like family!

Will Josh Duggar join Counting On?

Back in 2015, a major scandal rocked the Duggar family. It was alleged that Josh Duggar had molested more than one of his sisters and a female family friend when he was a teenager, as reported by In Touch. That same year, the Duggars' show 19 Kids and Counting was canceled, according to ABC News, but, before 2016, spinoff Counting On began.

As of this writing, Josh has yet to make an appearance on Counting On. According to the Daily Mail, TLC purposely hid him using strategic angles and other filming tricks in group shots at Jinger Duggar's wedding. But is there a chance he and his family might return as central figures on the show? While fans and publications may speculate, there is little evidence to suggest that Josh will ever make a return. In fact, in 2019, it appeared that he was strategically cut from scenes showing Mary Duggar's funeral, despite being one of the pallbearers, as noted by the Daily Mail.

Joy-Anna Duggar and Austin Forsyth might be leaving Counting On

Joy-Anna Forsyth (née Duggar) and her husband, Austin Forsyth, have had their fair share of the spotlight on Counting On over the years. However, it seems that 2020 might be the year that Duggar and Forsyth call it quits with the show and forge their own path. According to The Sun, the couple don't seem to have any major story arcs in Season 11. It was also pointed out that they barely made any appearances in the season's promotional material. Without a Crystal Ball, a popular YouTube channel, confirmed that the couple will only appear for special family occasions. 

Notably, The Sun reported that Austin got his private pilot license in April 2020, suggesting that his new career will give him and Joy-Anna a new path to follow that's not so closely linked with the Duggar family and the show Counting On.

We finally know what happened to Grandma Mary Duggar

When Duggar family matriarch Grandma Mary Duggar passed away in 2019, it was a massive shock to both the family and fans of Counting On. At first, it was unclear what had happened to the much-loved grandmother. As Duggar was 78 at the time of her death, some fans may have assumed she had passed away of old age. However, it soon became clear that the death was, in fact, a tragic accident. According to USA Today, Mary Duggar fell into a private pool at her family home in Arkansas.

The tragic incident was clearly difficult for the Duggars. Many of the children shared touching, personal posts on social media about how much Mary meant to them all. Jessa Duggar Seewald, for instance, shared on Instagram, "She was so excited about the many new great-grandbabies due this coming fall and winter, and it never got old for her. She welcomed each new baby with joy and would hold them with such tenderness and delight." Mary must have really been an exceptional grandmother to the whole family. 

Derick Dillard is reportedly writing a tell-all book now that he's off Counting On

For Counting On fans who are eager to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes, you may be in luck. Derick Dillard is reportedly writing a tell-all memoir about his time on the show. His announcement first came on Twitter in December 2019. Derick replied to a fan who suggested he should write a book, saying, "That's the plan, but it will take longer to write because I do most of the outlining/writing on breaks from school." In 2020, Derick spoke again about his writing plans to The Sun, saying, "Although the book will be inspired by our own journey, the goal is for it to be relatable, in that it will examine themes that have haunted people for ages."

The Hollywood Gossip claimed to have an inside source and reported that Duggar patriarch Jim Bob Duggar isn't too pleased about Derick spilling family secrets. Jim Bob has allegedly assembled a team of top lawyers to see if he can stop the book in its tracks. 

Some of the Duggars are getting fed up with being reality stars on Counting On

TLC has followed the lives of the Duggars since airing its first special about the family in 2004, as noted by The Washington Post. At the time, the Duggar parents had 14 children. As of 2020, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have 19 children in total (via In Touch Weekly), some of whom have grown up as reality stars from birth.

According to an exclusive 2018 story from Radar Online, some of the Duggar kids are becoming a little tired of being in the public eye. A "Duggar insider" revealed, "The kids just don't want to be in front of the cameras 24/7." Apparently, Counting On's filming schedule is carefully designed to give the kids a much-needed break. By scheduling a big gap in filming, the kids get a chance to "carry on with their lives" and look for love outside of the public eye. We certainly feel for the Duggar kids — imagine having your first date shown on national TV! It's probably for the best that some things are kept private.

Is this why Jill Dillard left Counting On?

Jill Dillard was once one of the most popular Duggar children — in fact, when Counting On began in 2015, it was meant to be about her and her sister Jessa Duggar Seewald, as noted by Entertainment Weekly. However, when her husband, Derick Dillard, was reportedly fired by TLC in 2017, Jill also disappeared from the show. While some fans assumed her departure was because of her husband's transphobic comments towards fellow TLC star Jazz Jennings of I Am Jazz fame, others have speculated that Jill just isn't on great terms with her parents, according to Showbiz CheatSheet.

Whether or not Jill is, in fact, feuding with her parents, it's clear that she is no longer under their strict influence. In 2020, Jill shared a blog post explaining that she'd enrolled her son in public school, a bold departure from her own upbringing. She wrote, "This week we went and got Israel registered for kindergarten. It's hard to believe he will be five this year! We have already been homeschooling him some, but decided it would be fun to let him go to kindergarten this year." 

Notably, Jill has also ditched the strict Duggar dress code, opting to swap out long skirts for shorts.