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Zachary Gilvin "Zach" Bates is the first of Gil and Kelly Bates' nineteen children. He is married to Whitney Bates, and they have four children: Bradley, Kaci, Khloé, and Jadon.

Early Life

Zach as a baby

Zachary Gilvin "Zach" Bates was born on December 30, 1988 to Gil Bates and Kelly Jo Callaham. Zach was a surprise to the couple, who had been married less than a year. His parents went on to have eighteen more children after him. "There's never a dull moment," Zach said of having so many siblings.[1] "Every year, you know, there was - just add another person - it doesn't feel abnormal to me," he said in another interview.[2]

Childhood Education

Zach was homeschooled growing up, and raised as an active participant of the Institute in Basic Life Principles and its Advanced Training Institute homeschool curriculum. He often attended the annual ATI conference in Big Sandy, TX, as a child and teenager. He scored high on the ACT.[1]


Zach asking Whitney to court

See also: Zach Bates and Whitney Perkins Wedding


In 2012, Zach met Whitney Perkins while she was working as a carhop at a local Sonic. The two spent several months becoming friends. On July 17, 2013, they announced that they had entered a courtship.[3] Although the two had planned on maintaining strong physical boundaries, as Zach had done in his previous courtship and was encouraged by Zach's parents, the couple did end up kissing before marriage.

Zach proposing to Whitney

On September 11, 2013, Zach showed up at Whitney's house with a surprise. He had coordinated with her parents to have an overnight bag ready, and had spoken with her school and work to get time off for her. The two, along with members of Zach's family, flew to Orlando, FL. They took a boat ride in Clearwater, FL, where they were followed by dolphins, before attending a local church.

On September 12, 2013, Zach's parents scoped out a private spot at Smyrna Dunes Park and set up arrangements as Zach had planned while he took Whitney to get her nails done. When the couple arrived, Zach proposed, and Whitney said yes.[4]


Zach carrying Whitney out of the wedding ceremony

On December 14, 2013, Zach married Whitney Perkins at 1:00pm at First Baptist Church in Lake City, TN, with a reception at the Main Event in Clinton, TN.[5] Zach's brother Lawson wrote a song for the couple that was sang at the wedding. His groomsmen were his brothers Lawson, Jackson, Warden, and Isaiah Bates and his friend John Duggar, and his sisters Alyssa, Josie, and Katie Bates were among the bridesmaids.

Zach and his family at the vow renewal

Vow Renewal

On June 14, 2018, Zach and Whitney had a vow renewal, which allowed Whitney's parents to attend after not being at her wedding.[6]


On March 3, 2014, Zach's mother Kelly commented on a post about one of his campaign rallies saying that Zach and his wife Whitney were expecting their first child.[7]

Zach and Whitney with a newborn Bradley

On October 29, 2014, Zach and Whitney welcomed a son, Bradley Gilvin Bates, into the world. He weighed 7 pounds and 10 ounces, and was 19 inches long. Bradley was born at 10:12pm at Tennova Healthcare Physicians Regional Medical Center in Knoxville, TN. Zach and Whitney spoke enthusiastically about this birth:

"We can't even begin to explain how overjoyed, excited, and grateful we are to be parents! We just can't seem to take our eyes off of him. He has already brought so much joy into our lives, and he's enjoying being the center of attention in the Bates family. We are thankful to the Lord for this precious gift of life!"[8]

Zach's family shortly after the birth of Kaci

On October 29, 2015, at Bradley's first birthday party, Zach and Whitney announced that they were expecting their second child.

On June 20, 2016, Zach and Whitney welcomed a daughter, Kaci Lynn Bates, into the world. She weighed 7 pounds, 8 ounces. She was born at 10:32pm. The couple was just as excited about this birth:

Zach's family in July of 2018

"We were overcome with emotions that just cannot be described when we saw our little Kaci Lynn and held her in our arms for the first time. We have anticipated this moment for months, yet it exceeded all of our dreams. Looking in her sweet little eyes just took our breath away."[9]

On August 9, 2018, Zach and Whitney announced that they had suffered a miscarriage.[10]

Zach's family shortly after the birth of Khloé

On May 7, 2019, Zach and Whitney announced via People that they were expecting their third a child who was due November 10, 2019.[11] On July 25, 2019, they announced that their child would be a girl named Khloé Eileen.[12]

On November 7, 2019, Zach and Whitney welcomed their second daughter, Khloé Eileen Bates. She weighed 7 lbs, 9 oz.[13]

On November 24, 2020, Zach and Whitney announced via People that they are expecting their fourth child, who is due in June 2021.[14] On January 27, 2021, they announced that they were expecting a boy named Jayden Carl. [15]

On June 7, 2021, Zach and Whitney welcomed their second son, Jadon Carl Bates. He weighed 7lbs 6oz at birth and had to spend some time in the NICU due to his oxygen levels dropping.[16] The change in the spelling of his name was not immediately addressed.


Zach with his wife after graduating from police academy


Zach attended college where he pursued history and criminal justice. He was said to be a good student. He also completed EMT training with a 4.0.[17] Zach volunteered for his local fire department during his time as a student.

Police Career

On September 4, 2015, Zach graduated from police academy. He has been working as a police officer since.[18]

Political Career

Zach in front of the Anderson County courthouse

On August 5, 2010, Zach was elected to to be a county commissioner of Anderson County, TN. He was the youngest person to ever win a county commissioner seat. "Several people asked me to run, and I said I don't really like the politics of it," he said when asked why he decided to run for office. "I said I'd like to find us a good candidate, but I couldn't find anybody."[19]

On January 21, 2014, Zach announced that he was running for mayor of Anderson County in the Republican primary:

Zach announcing his candidacy for mayor

“I am proposing to run a positive campaign, focusing on how I can benefit the Anderson County mayor’s office. I am not focusing on running against any individual. I am simply running for Anderson County mayor because I feel burdened to see honesty, integrity, and diligence executed in our government offices. I want to do the best I can to have a positive impact on our local government.”[20]

Zach lost this primary on May 6, 2014, to Terry Frank.[21]

A Bringing Up Bates ad featuring Zach and his wife Whitney

Television Appearances

Zach appeared on the TLC show 19 Kids and Counting many times as a teenager and young adult. In 2012, TLC aired one season of the show United Bates of America, which focused on Zach's family. In 2015, UpTV began airing a similar show, Bringing Up Bates, which is currently in its eighth season. Zach has been regularly featured on both shows.

Previous Courtship

Zach with Sarah Reith

Sarah Reith

In June of 2011, Zach began courting Sarah Reith.[22] This courtship proposal was featured on the 19 Kids and Counting episode "38 Kids & Counting", which first aired on October 18, 2011. On July 12, 2012, the couple announced that they had ended their courtship several months after it began, at Sarah's decision.[23]

Wedding Involvement

Zach has been involved in the following weddings:

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