From an early age, Jill was often one of the family's spokespeople. Even when she was very young, Jill was often speaking up in interviews more than most of her siblings, helping to tell the world about her family and their beliefs. "You always have someone to play with," Jill said in a 2001 article when asked what it was like to have so many siblings. "And there are lots of birthdays."
Jill was homeschooled growing up. As she grew older, she was given the responsibility of helping her younger siblings with their schoolwork in addition to doing her own. Jill took the test for her GED at sixteen years old.
Like most children, Jill was assigned chores growing up, which the family called "jurisdictions". In 2004, one of Jill's jurisdictions was said to be washing the family's clothes; many of these clothes were made by Jill herself. In 2007, one of Jill's jurisdictions was preparing lunch each day. In 2011, Jill's jurisdiction was secretary work. Jill no longer was expected to keep up with her jurisdictions after she began courting Derick Dillard in 2012.
By 2001, Jill's parents had implemented a buddy system, where each older child was paired with a younger child to take care of. Typical tasks for an older buddy included dressing, bathing, and feeding their younger buddies. By 2009, the family had switched from individual buddies to buddy teams, with each team being led by one of the oldest four daughters. Jill's buddy team consisted of Joy-Anna, James, and Jennifer. She still maintains a special bond with these siblings today, and often makes a point of including them in her major life events.
Jill began taking piano lessons from Ruth Anita Anderson, who she and her siblings referred to as "Nana", as a young child. She also took violin lessons. As an adult, Jill has been seen playing the harp, but it is unknown when she learned to play this instrument.
Jill was raised as an active participant in Bill Gothard's Institute for Basic Life Principles.
When Jill was thirteen years old, the first of her family's television specials, 14 Children and Pregnant Again!, aired on Discovery Health Channel. This special was followed by four more special programs about her family's life before the family became the subject of their own regular show, 17 Kids and Counting, on TLC when Jill was seventeen years old.
In 2006, as featured on one of the TV specials, Jill and her family moved into a new home in Springdale, AR. The family made a point of doing much of the work on the house themselves, seeing it as a learning opportunity for their children. In this house, Jill was given a dormitory-style room with her sisters. "When our parents were planning to build our current house in northwest Arkansas, they asked us kids how many bedrooms we thought the house should have," Jill says in Growing Up Duggar. "It was an easy question for us to answer: we wanted to be together."
As a teenager, Jill kept her hair long and permed, which she credited to that being her father's preference. Jill and her sisters gave each other perms at home to keep up this style.
See main article: Josh Duggar molestation scandal
On May 19, 2015, InTouch Weekly published a redacted copy of a police report dated December 7, 2006. The report revealed that Jill's oldest brother, Joshua, had molested five underaged girls, including four of his sisters, in 2002 and 2003. In an interview filmed on May 31, 2015, Jill named herself as one of the previously unnamed victims. Jill was fifteen years old at the time of the police interview and eleven/twelve years old at the time that the molestations were occurring. During the television interview, which aired on The Kelly Files on June 5, 2015, Jill said that she had forgiven Josh:
"I was angry at first, I was like, how could this happen? And then, you know, my parents explained to us what happened and then Josh came and asked each of us, individually I know, he asked me to forgive him. And I had to make that choice to forgive him, you know. And it wasn't something that somebody forced like, Oh you need to do this. It's like, you have to make that decision for yourself. My dad explained to us, he said, ‘You know there's a difference between forgiveness and trust. That's not the same thing.' You know, you forgive someone and then you have boundaries. Forgiveness with boundaries. And so trust comes later. You know Josh destroyed that trust at the beginning. And so he had to rebuild that."
Jill first encountered Derick Dillard in December, 2011, when he and friends went caroling at the Duggars' house, though neither remember each other from this meeting. Then in 2012, Derick became Jim Bob Duggar's prayer partner while the former was working in Nepal. Jim Bob noticed the similarities between Derick and Jill and encouraged them to get to know one another.
Jill and Derick began talking in March of 2013. Throughout the year, they got to know each other better. In November, Jim Bob and Jill went to Nepal together to meet Derick in person. During her two week stay, they got to know each other better and in late November he asked her to officially court him. She said yes. This visit is featured on the 19KaC episode "Going the Distance for Love". Afterwards, she returned home to Arkansas while he stayed in Nepal until January of 2014.
On March 29th, 2014, Derick proposed to Jill. He had had singer-songwriter Walker Hayes write a song about their relationship and after it was sung to Jill, Derick proposed. She said "Yes, totally." This proposal is featured on the 19 Kids and Counting episode "The Proposal".
Jill was the first of her sisters to get married. She and Derick were married on June 21, 2014, at Cross Church in Springdale, Arkansas. The wedding is featured on the 19KaC episode "Jill's Wedding". The wedding was attended by over 1000 people and the reception was held outside of the church. Jill's dress was from Ava Laurenne Bride. Jill's sister Jana was the maid of honor. The bridesmaids were Jill's sisters Jessa, Jinger, Joy-Anna, and Johannah, and her sister-in-law Anna Duggar. Jill's brothers John-David and Joseph were among the groomsmen, and her brother Jackson and nephew Michael Duggar were the ring bearers. The flower girls were Jill's sisters Jennifer, Jordyn, and Josie, and her niece Mackynzie Duggar.
For their honeymoon, the couple went to Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.
Sixty days after their wedding, the couple announced that they were expecting a child. It was later revealed that they were expecting a boy. On April 6th 2015, Israel David Dillard was born. Jill had had a 70 hour labor, starting at home and eventually moving to the hospital where the baby was delivered via Cesarean section. His birth was featured in the 19 Kids and Counting special "Jill's Special Delivery".
In December of 2016, the couple announced that Jill was pregnant again. Once again, the child was a boy. Like in her last pregnancy, the child was born after a long labor via Cesarean section on July 8th 2017. His name is Samuel Scott Dillard.
On October 11, 2021, the couple announced they had miscarried their third child, River Bliss.
After having her teenage years featured in several TV specials, Jill's young adulthood was documented in the show 17 Kids and Counting. This show ran for ten seasons, and Jill was regularly featured, with the show documenting many of her adult milestones, including her engagement, her wedding, and the birth of her first child.
On December 14, 2015, TLC premiered a spin-off show, Jill & Jessa: Counting On, which focused primarily on the lives of Jill and her sister Jessa as they dealt with the fallout from older brother Josh's scandals and tried to move on with their lives. The show was later renamed Counting On as it expanded its focus to include more of Jill's siblings.
On November 11, 2017, TLC announced that Jill's husband Derick was no longer being featured on the show after controversy surrounding Derick's tweets about fellow TLC star Jazz Jennings. On December 15, 2017, Derick stated on Twitter that he and his family were no longer participating in Counting On as they were "heading in a different direction". It is unknown the extent of this separation from the show, as it seems unlikely that Jill and her children will be edited out of future family events. In the first episode since that statement, Jill was briefly featured talking about married life and her sister Joy's experiences as a newlywed in a sequence of comments from many of her siblings. Despite appearances from some of her brothers-in-law in this segment, Derick was not featured.
On November 2, 2010, an episode of 19KaC aired where Anna Duggar made skirts for Jill and her sister to wear when volunteering for the local fire department as a first responder. It is unknown when Jill began volunteering for the fire department, or if she still continues to do so today. On February 24, 2011, Jana utilized her skills as a first responder to aid in the rescue efforts after a massive tornado destroyed the town of Joplin, MO.
On March 14, 2014, Jill and her sisters Jana, Jessa, and Jinger, released their first book, Growing Up Duggar.
In 2012, Jill started studying to become a Certified Professional Midwife. She took her exam and passed on September 16th 2015. Jill's midwifery is featured on many episodes of both 19 Kids and Counting and Counting On, with the first appearance being on the 19 Kids and Counting episode "Baby on the Way".
As of spring of 2018, Jill appears to still be working in this field.
In 2015, Jill and Derick announced that they would be going on an extended mission trip in Central America. Beginning in July of 2015, the family lived between Central America and Arkansas, returning to the United States regularly. After a number of complaints from fans and donors alike that the couple was spending just as much time back in Arkansas as on the mission field, the couple began refunding donations to those who were unsatisfied.
On August 9, 2017, after a number of trips back and forth between Central America and the US, Jill and Derick announced that they would be permanently relocating to northwest Arkansas.
On August 15, 2017, Derick Dillard announced that he was joining the C3 Ministry at Cross Church. Based on pictures Jill has posted, it is believed she was involved with this ministry as well. C3 is a ministry that caters to college students in the Fayetteville, AR, area. Derick's ministry program was a one-year program, and is now over.
Social Media Influencer Career
Jill is currently working towards becoming a social media influencer. On August 20, 2018, she posted an ad for the company Fab Fit Fun on her instagram. The story was deleted within 24 hours, which prompted speculation both that she and Derick changed their minds on the company and also that she was fired. Many of her followers messaged the company to ask, and were informed that the company had cut ties with her.
She has posted giveaways and sponosored posts with faith-based companies like Elora Inspired and Crew and Co.
Many of Jill's advertising posts are not listed as being sponsored, meaning that she likely is not being paid for them and is instead trying to get picked up by these companies. She has posted such posts for products and companies like the God's Design for Sex book series and Busy Toddler.
Jill also regularly posts recipes to her instagram account and blog. Initially, these were recipes she had taken off the internet and tried to pass off as her own, which caused some backlash.
Jill has been involved in the following weddings:
- bridesmaid: her brother Josh Duggar's wedding to Anna Keller (9/26/08)
- bridesmaid: her parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar's vow renewal ceremony (2009)
- bridesmaid: her sister Jessa Duggar's wedding to Ben Seewald (11/1/14)
- bridesmaid: her sister Jinger Duggar's wedding to Jeremy Vuolo (11/5/16)
- matron of honor: her sister Joy Duggar's wedding to Austin Forsyth (5/26/17)
- bridesmaid: her brother Joseph Duggar's wedding to Kendra Caldwell (9/8/17)
- bridesmaid: her friend Rachel Goad's wedding to Evan Tuuk (1/27/18)
- ↑ http://www.parenting.com/blogs/show-and-tell/duggar-family-interview-finding-me-time