Jill Duggar and her husband Derick Dillard have broken their silence on TLC’s cancellation of her family’s reality series Counting On following her brother Josh’s child pornography arrest.
The couple, who hasn’t appeared on the show in four years, shared a joint statement on their website on Monday, a week after the network announced the end of the spin-off series starring her parents and siblings.
Jill, 30, and Derick, 32, never shared whether they agree with the show being canceled, though they spoke vaguely about the reasons they stepped away from it.
‘Our statement about the cancellation of “Counting On” is a little late because we just learned the news with the rest of the world last Tuesday + this season of life is quite busy for us,’ they explained.
Opening up: Jill Duggar, 30, and Derick Dillard, 32, shared a statement about Counting On’s cancellation on their website Monday, a week after TLC announced the news
Surprised? The couple, who hadn’t been on the show in four years, said they weren’t given a heads up about the cancellation and learned the news when everyone else did
‘We first heard of the cancellation when both a friend & a cousin each texted us after seeing TLC’s statement online. We do not know how long the cancellation had been planned.’
The Dillards left the show in 2017 after Derick came under fire for his transphobic tweets about transgender TLC star Jazz Jennings.
‘It’s been over 4 years now since we chose to step away from the show, and, although we were initially barred from sharing our decision to leave the show, we have opened up a little more recently on our social media,’ they continued.
Jill and Derick noted that they had ‘many great experiences with the network,’ adding that ‘several of the crew members have even become like family to us!’
‘However, we also faced many pressures and some unexpected challenges which forced us to step away from the show in an effort to gain more control over our own lives and to do what was best for our family,’ they shared.
Since leaving the show, Jill has rebelled against her parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar’s strict upbringing and distanced herself from her uber-religious family.
Over: TLC announced that it ‘will not be producing additional seasons of Counting On’ and said it’s ‘important to give the Duggar family the opportunity to address their situation privately’
Mugshot: Josh Duggar, 33, forced the family into an unfavorable spotlight on April 29 when he was arrested for receiving and possessing child sexual abuse material on his computer
Cut out: The disgraced Duggar has not appeared on the family’s TLC’s show since it was rebranded in 2015 — following his previous sexual abuse scandal for molesting his sisters
Over the years, she has spoken openly about her decision to get a nose ring, wear pants, drink alcohol, and use birth control — all things her parents forbade.
Jill and Derick, who share sons Israel David, six, and Samuel Scott, three, touched upon their evolution as a married couple in their statement.
‘The pursuit of freedom and authenticity has been a growing theme in our lives. Our story is still being written, and this event is just one more step forward toward that goal,’ they said.
‘Our family’s departure from 19 Kids & Counting and Counting On has allowed us to make our own decisions, including the ability to have a choice in what we share. For now, we will move forward on our own terms, and we look forward to whatever opportunities the future holds.’
Josh, 33, forced the family into an unfavorable spotlight on April 29 when he was arrested for receiving and possessing child sexual abuse material on his computer.
Though he has not appeared on the family’s TLC’s show since it was rebranded in 2015 — following his previous sexual abuse scandal — critics called for the network to pull Counting On from the air and stop contributing to patriarch Jim Bob’s bank account.
Moving on: The couple left the show in 2017 after Derick came under fire for his transphobic tweets about transgender TLC star Jazz Jennings
Already gone: Jill and Derick referenced ‘unexpected challenges’ that forced them to step away from the show in an effort to ‘gain more control of their own lives’
Own woman: Jill has since rebelled against her parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar’s strict upbringing. She now has a nose ring, wears pants, drinks alcohol, and uses birth control
It has previously been asserted — by Jill’s husband Derick — that only Jim Bob got paid for 19 Kids and Counting and its sequel, Counting On.
Since Josh’s arrest, critics have pointed out Jim Bob is likely paying for Josh’s defense with TLC’s paychecks — which thousands of people said should come to an end.
Last week, TLC announced it would ‘not be producing additional seasons of Counting On’ because they ‘feel it is important to give the Duggar family the opportunity to address their situation privately.’
Jinger Duggar and her husband Jeremy Vuolo were the first of the show’s stars to speak out about the cancellation, saying they ‘wholeheartedly agree’ with it.
‘We are grateful for TLC giving us the opportunity to be on their network over the years and their kindness towards the Vuolo family. It’s been a remarkable journey that has opened doors to traveling and experiencing the world in a way that we wouldn’t have imagined possible,’ they wrote in a statement shared on Instagram.
‘We wholeheartedly agree with TLC’s decision not to renew “Counting On” and are excited for the next chapter in our lives. We’d like to thank our fans, friends and the amazing film crew who have shown us love and support.
Big news: Jim Bob and Michelle released a statement on Saturday on behalf of the family, who months after their eldest son was arrested
Hints: The Duggars indirectly acknowledged the toll Josh’s arrest has had on the family
‘We look forward to continuing our creative journey in Los Angeles and seeing what the future holds.’
On Saturday, Jim Bob and Michelle released a statement on behalf of the family, which came some two months after their eldest son Josh was arrested on two counts of child pornography.
‘It is hard to believe that more than 17 years have passed since we were first contacted by a production company wanting to do a one-hour documentary about the logistics of raising 14 children,’ their statement began.
‘Our family has grown (and grown up!) before our eyes and on national television, and the journey has been miraculous — following God is an exciting adventure!’
The Duggars shared that one of the most ‘treasured moments’ during the run of the show was when they ‘met children across the country who are alive today because of our testimony that children are a blessing — a special gift from God — and that the only real hope for individuals and families is a close relationship with Jesus Christ.’
They also indirectly acknowledged the toll Josh’s arrest has had on the family.
It’s OK: Jinger Duggar and her husband Jeremy Vuolo said that they ‘wholeheartedly agree’ with TLC’s decision to cancel the family TV show, Counting On
‘We are grateful for TLC giving us the opportunity to be on their network over the years and their kindness towards the Vuolo family. It’s been a remarkable journey,’ they said
‘Since we began filming so long ago, we’ve had the amazing honor to share our lives, our faith, and our story with you — including some of the most difficult and painful moments our family has ever faced,’ they said. ‘We are full of deep gratitude for the love shown to us and the prayers of so many who have sustained us both now and through the years.’
Turning to the future, the Duggars added that they are looking forward to all the ‘new adventures and endeavors that may come out way,’ considering they have so many grown children and grandchildren.
They concluded the statement by thanking the film crew, and others behind the scenes, who have become ‘like family’ over the years.
‘The wonderful experiences that filming has provided us will be treasured always, and we look forward to discovering what’s next for our family and sharing more with you along the way!’
Cousin Amy — who appeared in early episodes of 19 Kids and Counting and was billed as the ‘rebel’ Duggar who didn’t follow a strict evangelical lifestyle — also reacted to the cancelation last week.
On Twitter, she shared a black and white image featuring a television that reads: ‘It’s all lies, darling.’
Ready to talk: Cousin Amy also commented on the cancelation, wondering if it meant her NDA is now void and she can talk about her family to the press
Shady: She also shared this image on Twitter showing a person with a TV on their head and the words: ‘It’s all lies, darling’
Expertise? She asked Jill’s husband Derick, who just graduated from law school, to weigh in on her NDA question
And on Instagram, she shared a video hinting that she would love to be able to share Duggar family secrets now that the show is over — but is unsure if she is still legally silenced by an NDA she signed.
‘Question for anyone out there who is a lawyer, a.k.a. Derick,’ she began, tagging Jill’s husband Derick, who just graduated from law school.
‘Once a show is canceled, does that mean that if anyone has signed an NDA, is that canceled as well? Since there’s no show to protect?’ she asks.
‘I have a feeling that things are going to get very interesting,’ she goes on, raising her eyebrows.
Neither TLC nor any of the Duggars have indicated whether or not this is the absolute end of the family on the network.
In 2015, when InTouch unearthed old police reports documenting how Josh had sexually abused four of his younger siblings, TLC canceled 19 Kids and Counting — but replaced it months later with Counting On.
Still out free: Josh was set to go on trial on July 6 on child porn charges, but last Tuesday a judge pushed the start date back until November 30
Out: Josh was released on bail while he awaits trial for receiving and possessing child sexual abuse material
Though Counting On was advertised as a new show about the married children and their growing families, it has included every member of the Duggar family except for Josh, with many scenes filmed at Jim Bob and Michelle’s house.
It’s also unknown whether TLC will consider a future rebranding, or even a spinoff featuring a single Duggar couple.
The network’s cancelation news came as Josh’s trial was pushed back five months, from July 6 to November 30.
U.S. District Judge Timothy L. Brooks granted Josh’s request to delay his trial, though not quite as much as he’d hoped.
Josh’s lawyers had asked that the trial be pushed to a date ‘in or after February 2022,’ calling the case ‘complex’ with a ‘several-year federal investigation’ and saying they expect the trial to involve ‘computer forensic evidence and anticipated expert opinion testimony.’
They said they have ‘retained an independent computer forensic expert who must conduct a computer forensic examination of each of the devices at issue — a time-consuming process that requires review at a government facility for the one device the Government alleges contained child pornography.’
The kids: Josh is allowed to see his six children with pregnant wife Anna under supervision
Taking him in: LaCount and Maria Reber agreed to take him in while he is on house arrest
They said the computer forensic expert must ‘conduct a time-intensive process of reviewing the remaining devices that the Government does not allege contained child pornography,’ which they say could take several months.
But prosecutors in Arkansas objected, telling the court they would agree to a ‘reasonable continuance’ of three months but said postponing the trial to next year ‘would result in unnecessary delay.’
They suggested that a three month delay would allow Josh’s lead attorney Justin Gelfand to prepare for his other criminal trials scheduled for September, October, and November, but ‘there exists no legally or factually valid reason supporting a continuance until February of 2022.’
The judge appears to have met them in the middle with a five-month delay until November 30.
Josh is facing charges stemming from a raid on his now-closed car dealership, Wholesale Motorcars, in 2019.
Gross: Duggar is alleged to have downloaded the child sexual abuse material online back in 2019 on May 14, 15, and 16
Reports: His wife, Anna, reportedly thinks he is innocent — and blames his parents for his arrest
Investigators seized Duggar’s computer and cellphone, and an agent testified that they found 65 child sexual abuse images showing a young girl. Agents also allegedly found a two-minute video that showed a man sexually abusing two young girls, aged between five and 10 years old.
Two hundred child sexual abuse images found on the computer were located in ‘unallocated space,’ which means someone tried to delete them, the agent said.
He said that the images found on Josh’s computer were ‘in the top five of the worst of the worst that I’ve ever had to examine.’
Josh is alleged to have downloaded the child sexual abuse material online back in 2019 on May 14, 15, and 16.
But Josh was released on bail to the home of LaCount and Maria Reber, where he has an ankle monitor, until his trial.
He is allowed supervised visits with his six children, and his pregnant wife Anna has reportedly taken them to see him — and is convinced that he is innocent. In fact, she reportedly blames his parents for the arrest.