Over the last few years, we’ve seen Jill Duggar Dillard‘s relationship with her family change dramatically. Now, the reality star is talking about what’s happened and why. She now admits that she and her husband, Derick Dillard lost the power to dictate their lives.
After being a prominent figure of the flagship Duggar program, 19 Kids and Counting, a series that loosely documented the extremely conservative family from 2008 and 2015, she then appeared in the spinoff Counting On. Shortly after signing on, she abruptly quit the reality show in 2017. And now, she is opening up about how she felt and what lead her to the decision.
Jill Duggar says that she and her husband’s lives were controlled to a point that she felt she couldn’t make basic decisions about her career and life.
“Our control to choose what jobs we were allowed to accept and even where we were allowed to live was taken away from us,” Jill told People, and explained that her plans were nixed if they conflicted in any with her extended family or TLC’s plans.
Derick, who is finishing up a law degree, explained further, “The first few years of our marriage, we spent time and money working towards opportunities only to hit a dead end when we’d be told, ‘Well, you’re not allowed to do that.'”
As you might expect from an ultra-conservative family, change is not always welcome, and when Jill told her family of her decision to leave, “It didn’t go over very well with anyone,” she admitted. “By that point, we’d had enough. We knew we had to pull out completely to reevaluate and get our bearings.”
People reached out to Jill’s parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, and asked if they’d provide comment. “Every family has differences of opinion and perspective at times, but families work things out,” a statement they provided said. “We all love Jill, Derick, and their boys very much. It is our prayer that our relationship is healed and fully restored quickly!”
The mom of two has been spreading her wings since leaving the show and has grown more independent making her own choices about dancing, the clothing she wears, and whether or not to drink alcohol. The Duggar family is notoriously strict in these regards and also discourage the use of birth control and listening to non-religious music.
“Sometimes,” she explained, “it’s a good thing being okay with other people not being okay.”
Just because she’s left the show, does not mean she’s left fans behind. Jill and Derick invite them to visit their family blog. And, the couple recently launched a YouTube channel. In one video they describe their motivation behind the videos stating plainly, “We can be the ones to tell our story.”
While she’s enjoyed her newfound freedoms, she still wants to be close with her family and find some common ground. She said she hopes a reconciliation is on the horizon.
“I never expected this to happen or for it to get to this point,” Jill revealed. “But I’m realizing I can’t put a timeline on healing. I love my family and they love me. I really just have to follow God’s lead and take it one day at a time.”
As we reported, Jill recently spoke about the distance from her family in a YouTube video. “There’s been some distancing there,” she said. “We’re not on the best terms with some of my family. We’ve had some disagreements, but we’re working towards healing definitely and restoration, but we’re having to kind of just take some time and heal.”
Family, right? We hope Jill and Derick continue to expand their horizons and chase their dreams. We think the rest of the Duggars will come around. After all, their statement did say they’re praying on it.