Derek Dillard had ‘no regrets’ about leaving Counting On and says family 'have lives back'

IT'S been three years since Derick Dillard and his wife Jill left 19 Kids and Counting spin off Counting On.

But ongoing tensions with the show’s patriarch Jim Bob and matriarch Michelle show no signs of easing. 

In a series of videos posted on the Dillard family website, the epic tea spiller – known for his ultra-conservative Instagram and Twitter rants – has been talking about some of the long-running reality show’s darkest secrets, and revealing the couple’s plans for the future.

Derick, 31, who is said to be wrapping up law school in the spring, has also hinted at a tell-all book which may finally give us a glimpse into life behind the gates at the Duggar family compound.

A family steeped in controversy

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar are the stars of the TLC reality show 19 and Counting, which started in 2008 as 17 Kids and Counting.

The couple are strict Independent Baptist Christians and have 19 children: Josh, twins Jana and John-David, Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joseph, Josiah, Joy, twins Jedidiah and Jeremiah, Jason, James, Justin, Jackson, Johannah, Jennifer, Jordyn, and Josie. They also have an adopted son, Tyler, who is the son of Michelle’s niece, Rachel Hutchins, and became part of the family in 2016.

The show’s run came to a spectacular end in 2015 when it emerged that eldest son Josh had molested multiple under-age girls, including four of his own sisters.

Later that year, he admitted watching porn and being unfaithful to his wife, Anna, after his name came up in the Ashley Madison data breach, which outed thousands of married men who joined the site looking for extra-marital hookups. 

'This show is not anything close to reality'

Derick is married to Jill, 29, who is the fourth oldest of the 19 Duggar siblings and the second oldest of Jim Bob and Michelle’s nine daughters.

Like the rest of the brood, Jill was home-schooled and had to adhere to a strict dress and behaviour code, including “courtships”, where any form of affection including kissing and hand-holding is forbidden until their wedding day. Jill was introduced to Derick by her father, Jim Bob, while on mission in Kathmandu.

The couple were married in June 2014 and their first son, Israel, was born in April 2015. The couple welcomed their second son, Samuel, in July 2017. They appeared on five episodes of 19 Kids and Counting and soon became a fan favourite. 

Following the cancellation of 19 Kids and Counting, Jill and her sister Jessa became the main stars of spinoff show Counting On. Jim Bob and Michelle made frequent guest appearances, leading Derick to imply that the two shows are one and the same, saying they “brought it back because the money was too good”.

He has also made it clear in the past that he and Jill were unhappy on the show, saying it “doesn’t reflect” the Duggar family’s actual lives. “This show is not anything close to reality. From what we’ve seen, not accurate at all.” 

Did Derick leave Counting On, or was he fired?

The couple’s absence in season 6 coincided with a Twitter rant by Derick about trans reality star Jazz Jennings in which he outrageously claimed 'transgender is a myth', which led to TLC issuing a statement publicly denouncing Derick on Twitter. 

“We want to let our viewers know that Derick Dillard has not participated in Counting On for months and the network has no plans to feature him in the future,” the statement read. “We want to reiterate that Derick’s personal statements do not reflect the views of the network. TLC is proud to share the story of Jazz Jennings and her family and will continue to do so.” 

But the controversy didn’t end there. In 2018, he called gay couple Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent’s family a “travesty” in a now-deleted homophobic tweet. The couple, whose show Nate & Jeremiah by Design is also on TLC, are adoptive parents to Oskar, then just one month old, and Poppy, then three.

Discussing the issue on The View, presenter Whoopi Goldberg said: “Families come in all shapes and sizes, including the one he’s in – which we have stood up for. You have no right to inflict your particular nastiness under the guise of ‘I’m looking out for children.’ You’re not.” She added: “You can’t call somebody’s family ‘not normal’ unless you’re living with them, okay?”

Will the Dillards return to Counting On?

Probably not. In a video posted to the couple’s website, the couple said they had “no regrets” about leaving the show, with Derick adding: “We learned some information just before we had to quit filming, because we were put between a rock and a hard place where we had to choose between our family goals and filming, and I really felt like it was in our best interests as a family to pursue our family goals.”

He also hinted at a possible return – but only if they had a contract, something he says was denied to them in the past.

He said: “We will not go back on the show under the circumstances that we were under at the time we left, meaning just as a family we have to be able to make decisions that allow us to navigate our lives and have the information and control, so that we know whether or not we can even plan anything for our lives or not. We have our lives back now.”

Denying they had been banned from the Duggar family home, he added: “We’ve been at weddings and funerals, and I guess if we’re not shown it’s because we’re edited out.”

'Enlightened and reformed'

Describing himself as “enlightened” and a “reformed Counting On cast member” on Instagram, Derick is now in his final year of law school at the University of Arkansas, and makes ends meet by working as a delivery driver for Grub Hub. He says he wants to pursue a “public service legal career”.

The couple are also releasing weekly vlogs on their website,, which they claim are monetised on YouTube and are providing them with an income. 

In an exclusive interview with The Sun earlier this year, Derick admitted their “broken” relationship with Jim Bob and Michelle had been difficult, but he also claimed they were owed compensation for their appearances on the show, and talked about a tell-all book.

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