The Biggest Revelations From Jill Duggar's Book Counting the Cost

In her new memoir Counting the Cost, Jill Duggar details the aftermath of Josh Duggar's molestation scandal, her clash with her father over 19 Kids and Counting money and more.

By Natalie Finn Sep 16, 2023 7:00 AMTags

Jill Duggar was the first of her siblings to go public with her grievances about coming of age as an increasingly reluctant reality TV star.

And while she isn't the only one of the family's 19 kids to have resisted the restrictive religious fundamentalism practiced by their parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, Jill continues to be the most outspoken. After being the only one of her brothers and sisters to participate in the scathing Amazon Prime Video docuseries Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets earlier this year, the 32-year-old mother of three has released a memoir. 

In Counting the Cost, written with Craig Borlase and her husband, Derick Dillard, Jill describes scenes from her upbringing that felt like just part of the program at the time—she writes of her dad telling them he destroyed his eight-track collection with a hammer because rock 'n' roll was sinful, of the family's exodus from their Baptist church for a stricter sect after a Christmas service included dancing, of her courtship with Derick unfolding on camera—but which, in hindsight, were stifling.

Jill also delves into her clash with her father over compensation from their time on TV and the public aftermath of brother Josh Duggar's molestation scandal, which resulted in the cancellation of TLC's 19 Kids and Counting in 2015, the launch of her and sister Jessa Duggar's spin-off Counting On and no small amount of humiliation.

Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard’s Family Photos

Jim Bob and Michelle didn't respond to E! News' request for comment on the details of Jill's book.

The couple told People in a statement: "We love all of our children very much. As with any family, few things are more painful than conflicts or problems among those you love. We've aimed to deal honorably with our children, our finances, and our other endeavors. While imperfect, it is our intent and desire to live a life that honors Christ.

"We do not believe the best way to resolve conflicts, facilitate forgiveness and reconciliation, or to communicate through difficulties is through the media or in a public forum so we will not comment. As the future unfolds, we will continue to love our family, pray for them, and enjoy every moment gifted to us to be parents and grandparents."

Jill writes that she didn't intend her book to be an attempt to reconcile with—or shame—her family. "We will continue to work through matters with family independent of this book," she concludes, "with the desired ultimate goal of healthy relationships."

And in the meantime, here are the biggest revelations from Counting the Cost:

We independently selected these products because we love them, and we think you might like them at these prices. E! has affiliate relationships, so we may get a commission if you purchase something through our links. Items are sold by the retailer, not E!. Prices are accurate as of publish time.

Counting the Cost by Jill Duggar

In this long-awaited memoir, Jill Duggar and her husband, Derick, share the story only they can as they reveal the secrets, manipulation and intimidation that remained hidden from their fans.

The Duggar Kids Didn't Talk About Josh

Jill Duggar writes that she was 11 when dad Jim Bob Duggar told her that her big brother Josh Duggar had "'confessed about some stuff that he's done.'"

She doesn't go into detail about that conversation with her parents or what Josh did, but the timing indicates this is when Josh told Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar that he had inappropriately touched several of his sisters, including Jill and Jessa Duggar, between 2002 and 2003 (as Jill and Jessa confirmed in 2015). Michelle told Springdale, Ark., police in 2006, per an offense report made public years later, that following Josh's admission they sent him to stay with a family friend who worked in home remodeling.

While he was gone, mentioning Josh "wasn’t off-limits," Jill writes, but they had all grown up "being constantly reminded not to 'stir up contention among the brethren.'"

In Counting the Cost, Jill calls being discouraged from talking about sensitive subjects "a tool for silence, for control, for guilt."

Jill Duggar Was at First More Scared of the Abuse Investigation Than Upset About the Abuse

When the Arkansas Department of Human Services started investigating the Duggars in 2006 after receiving a tip about possible abuse (as detailed in the Springdale police report), Jill writes that she was more worried than anything about saying the wrong thing and breaking up the family.

"So it was harder to bury the fear caused by the investigation," she shares, "than the fear caused by the abuse that DHS was looking into." (No charges were ever filed against any family member at this time.)

Jill was also admittedly angered by the idea of fellow churchgoers gossiping about her family, believing "others were jealous of our success with the television show and treated us with suspicion."

Jill and Derick Dillard Hurriedly Courted on Camera

Jill remembers being told that, if 19 Kids and Counting producers were going to send a crew to Nepal to film while she and her dad were there visiting her potential boyfriend Derrick Dillard, the footage was going to air whether the relationship worked out or not.

She agreed, Jill writes, but put her foot down at the idea of it being only a five-day shoot, insisting she needed two weeks.

This time, she got her way, though she says she regrets that the moment when she and Derick first laid eyes on each other in Nepal wasn't just for them. But the extra time came in handy, and the couple married on June 21, 2014. (And they honeymooned in private.)

Jill's Pregnancy News Was Must-See TV

Michelle Duggar had six children after the family began their run on TV, while Josh's wife, Anna Duggar, had three by the time Jill and Derick got married.

Jill writes in the book that producers expected her to tell them first when she got pregnant and then wait to tell her parents and in-laws on-camera.

She "bent the rules," she notes, telling a couple of her sisters and friends, but she and Derick did wait to tell their parents.

Jill Limited 19 Kids Birth Coverage

Jill has said she did not want cameras in the delivery room for the birth of her and Derick's first child in 2015, though they ended up compromising and allowed family members to shoot some footage for the show.

Her mother "had learned how to manage the expectations of the show…allowing them access but being firm" about what they could use," Jill writes in the book.

But with sister-in-law Anna, "the crew used footage from one of her births that she'd specifically told them she did not authorize." The footage was cut out of reruns of that particular episode, Jill details, but was used in later flashback clips.

TLC did not response to E! News' request for comment on Jill's recollections of the production in her book.

Jill Kept Family Planning to Herself

Jill originally wanted a home birth for her first child, she writes, but after little progress more than 40 hours after her water broke, they went to the hospital. Son Israel was delivered by C-section after 68 hours of labor.

After she needed an emergency C-section when her second son, Samuel, was born in 2017, Jill went on birth control to allow herself time to properly heal before trying to get pregnant again.

But sensing certain members of her family wouldn't approve, she writes that she "kept it a secret from nearly everyone."

The Horror When Josh's Molestation Scandal Went Public in 2015

Reading In Touch Weekly's shocking 2015 exposé on the 2006 police report that detailed the molestation allegations against Josh, Jill was "instantly engulfed by a deep, all encompassing, overwhelming sense of horror," she writes. "They had published everything," and in her view had highlighted the "most graphic, the most scandalous, the most painful parts of the story."

Jill recalls getting a lot of public support, but also criticism for seemingly "blaming the wrong people," i.e. the media and the police, rather than her parents. But, she adds, "I hold Josh responsible for his actions."

In 2017, a federal judge dismissed Bauer Publishing as a defendant in breach-of-privacy lawsuits filed by Jill and several of her siblings, citing the publication's First Amendment right to run the story. Their pending complaints against the city of Springdale, Ark., the Springdale Police Department and the Washington County Sheriff's Office were dismissed in 2022, the judge writing in his ruling that authorities were "motivated by a belief that they were legally obligated" to release the documents to be in compliance with the Freedom of Information Act.

Josh's Mood Suprised Jill After the Molestation Report Comes Out

The first time she saw Josh and his family at their parents' house post-scandal, "I didn't expect him to be quite as relaxed as he was," Jill describes in the book. "And later in the day I didn't expect him to start laughing—even though it was clearly nervous laughter—when he described being under siege by photographers."

Jill recalls their mom scolding Josh for seeming too cheerful: "'Josh,' she barked. 'It's not your fault that this was released, but you need to know that you were behind all this. Don't be so arrogant.'"

Josh Had No Comment for Jill After Cheating Allegations

When Josh's name showed up on a leaked list of Ashley Madison subscribers (he denied using the extramarital hookup website but publicly admitted to being unfaithful to Anna), Jill writes that she confronted him over text, asking him if it was true.

"I got no reply," she recalls.

Jim Bob Sent in the Siblings When Jill and Derick Distance Themselves

Jill recalls her father's response when she and Derick told him to speak to their attorney after, she writes, Jim Bob refused Jill's request to see the contract she signed on her wedding day regarding her compensation (or lack thereof) for her participation in 19 Kids and Counting.

Without naming names, Jill describes "a consolidated effort from several of my siblings" to reason with her. "They hit the phones, sending voicemails and texts all day long, each one pleading with us to get this resolved. When that didn't work, some of my siblings started visiting. They'd want to spend hours talking it through, trying to figure out what our problem was and why we weren't doing what Pops wanted."

One of her siblings broke ranks, Jill adds, telling her that Jim Bob had warned all of them that "if we don't stand against you both on this, then we're standing against him."

Jill writes that, once she and Derick questioned why they hadn't been paid, Jim Bob and Michelle offered their grown kids a one-time payment of $80,000 to "start their lives."

Eventually, Jill writes, she and Derick received $175,000 for their years on TV.

Jill Had It Out With Her Father

Jill writes that she and Derick met with her parents (and a mediator) to try to work through their issues, and Jim Bob accused Jill of wrongfully accusing him in a text message of verbal abuse. 

According to Jill, her dad said he was "offended" by such a claim and asked if she was going to apologize to him.

She started to cry, she writes, and her father told her she was crying because she was "guilty."

But Jill recalls pushing back, writing that she accused Jim Bob of treating her "like I'm a prodigal who's turned her back on you. You treat me worse than you treat my pedophile brother."

Josh Duggar's Criminal Trial Jolted a Few of His Siblings

Josh is currently serving a nearly 13-year prison sentence after being convicted in December 2021 of receiving child pornography. He had pleaded not guilty.

Jill writes that, when it became apparent that Josh might end up in prison, "some of my siblings started to reach out. For the first time it was clear that some of them were beginning to be skeptical of the narrative they'd been hearing at home. As they looked for themselves at the Duggar family spectacle, they started to ask their own questions."

When Josh was found guilty, Jill recalls telling Derick over the phone, "I think they got it right."

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit denied Josh's appeal for a new trial in August.

Jill Embraced Counseling

Having grown up being warned "about talking to people outside the family," Jill and Derick started counseling to help them process her upbringing and everything they'd been through together. 

Their therapist is among the people thanked in the book, for giving them "so many tools we didn't know we needed when we needed them most."

In 2022, Jill and Derick moved to Oklahoma when he got a job as an assistant district attorney for the state's 27th District.

And contrary to how Jill was homeschooled per the tenets of the Duggar family's church, their sons Israel, 8, and Samuel, 6, are enrolled in public school.

Jill writes that she doesn’t spend time expressly with her father, but does see her parents. The book includes a photo of Jim Bob and Michelle with Jill and Derick's youngest, now 14-month-old Frederick, shortly after he was born.

Latest News