Viewers were instantly intrigued when 17 Kids and Counting made its debut on TLC in 2008. This massive family, which quickly grew to 19 children, was unlike anything ever witnessed on television. The cameras followed the clan through their daily routines, as millions of people tuned in from around the world.
The parents of the family, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, have very strong religious beliefs. This resulted in tons of like-minded viewers tuning in , but also quickly sparked controversy. Fans who shared their beliefs formed a huge Duggar hive of supporters and the show ran until 2015. The resulting cancellation came after several scandals surrounding the Duggar siblings.
The head of household and beloved father was born in 1965 and is the youngest sibling of two. Jim Bob is a seemingly wholesome and kind man, who made his mark in the community by spreading the word of his teachings.
In the book Growing Up Duggar, his daughters wrote about their childhood and their personal Christian values. Despite the scorn his beliefs may bring, he has influenced a widely popular media empire. Whether you agree with him or not, Mr. Duggar has found success as a religious leader, author, businessman, and dad of almost two dozen.
Here are the 15 Things You Didn't Know About Jim Bob Duggar
15 He Was A Young Business Owner
Owning a towing company at 19 is a pretty good accomplishment. Young Duggar taught himself how to repair cars and opened a car lot. He eventually started a small business in his small hometown of Arkansas.
After making plans with his newlywed, they decided to start a family. Jim sold his towing company for profit, which was ultimately his first step to becoming a real estate agent.
Jim Bob has proven to be a savvy business man, as starting his towing company was not his only successful business. In 1994, he flipped an old chicken hatchery into commercial rental units.
Mr. Duggar was also able to remain relatively debt free, as he made wise property investments that have flourished.
14 He Doesn't Believe In Higher Education
While college is certainly not for everyone, most parents encourage their kids to attend a good school. It's interesting to know that Jim allegedly believes higher education, for all genders, is problematic.
The Duggars specifically encourage their daughters to engage in courtships and should aspire to have big families.
According to the Duggar Family Blog, the girls are allowed to take some online classes. For example, Jill has chosen to become a certified midwife, so she is enrolled in the appropriate courses.
Jessa, who's husband recently graduated from community college, publicly acknowledged his success showing that she is not as biased as her father. It remains unclear if she has any interest in attending school herself.
13 His First Date
In high school, Michelle worked at the yogurt shop that Jim's mother managed. She worked there for several months, before ever meeting her future husband. In an interview with TLC, Michelle recounted her first date with Jim Bob.
Jim and Michelle are two years apart and as a result of this, attended different schools while growing up. The 18-year-old Duggar asked Michelle to attend a banquet with him, while she was working a shift at the yogurt shop. She was instantly swept off of her feet.
After the banquet, they went back to Michelle's house, where Jim suggested they read the bible. Michelle described their first date as amazing and was smitten by their wholesome romance.
When Jim left that night, she prayed for God to show her a sign if he is the one. Immediately after Michelle's graduation, they tied the knot.
12 His Political Run
In 2002, Mr. Duggar tried to make a move in to politics. He announced that God wanted him to spread his message, and began a campaign to be a Senator of the Republican party.
He ran on an anti-abortion platform which comes as no surprise, as he has openly advocated for the pro-life movement.
Although he received a lot of support from Christian followers, he ended up losing to Tim Hutchinson in the primary. There were over 92,000 ballots counted in the election, with Duggar receiving 22% of the vote.
After coming up short in the election, Jim and Michelle went on to endorse fellow Republican Mike Huckabee in 2008. That same year, the first episode of 17 Kids and Counting aired on TLC.
11 His House Savings
With an army of kids to feed and take care of, The Duggars are notoriously good at saving money. The most practical way they do this, is by being self sufficient.
For example; they give their kids haircuts at home, make their own laundry detergent, and buy clothes from thrift stores and flea markets. Jim Bob also manages to save money by being patient.
Jim saved for 7 years before upgrading to the $65,000 home that was seen on the show. The money was raised through donations from the church and members of the community
With the help of family and friends, the Duggars built the 7,000 square foot house from the ground up. Jim designed most of the interior and was determined to make their lavish home a dream come true.
10 His Net worth
With 19 kids and counting, The Duggar's have found a few impressive ways to make ends meet. Jim's reported net worth is an incredible $3.6 million.
The bulk of their lucrative income comes from real estate investments, homemade resources, and buying used assets. The Duggar's have also been published by House Book, including a popular novel they wrote called A Love That Multiplies.
To further show Jim Bob's business skills, he made a deal with a cell phone company to lease their land near a transmission. Jim owns several properties across Arkansas, which contributes greatly to their income.
E! Online says the Duggar's make between $25,000 and $45,000 per episode. When you take in to account that the show aired for ten seasons, it adds up to quite the payday.
9 His Identical Best Friend
Everyone has things in common with their close friends. However, Gil Bates and Jim Bob have amazingly identical similarities. You may know Gil from Bringing Up The Bates, a reality show about his large family and their conservative views.
The two met in the late 80's at an event in Tennessee, where conveniently enough, their wives hit it off too.
The Bates got married three years after the Duggars, in 1987. Not only do the Bates also have 19 kids, but a few of their children even share the same birthday.
In an interview with Access Hollywood, the Duggar's say they are here to encourage the Bates and other parents to have large families.
Recently Gil and Jim were spotted at a basketball game where their sons were playing. There were reports of cameras following them, could this be footage for a new tv collaboration?
8 His Strict Rules
Friends of the family say Jim rules the house with an iron fist, despite his loving tv personality. Sources told People Magazine that the dad of 19 can act like a dictator.
Not only was he the primary breadwinner of the household, but Duggar seemed to call all of the shots. Apparently, things were a bit different when the cameras weren't rolling.
Their uncompromising rules are said to still apply even when their kids leave the nest. While it's normal for a parent to want the best for their children, Duggar apparently had a hard time letting his daughters be independent adults.
After facing public scrutiny, people argued that the overbearing control and sheltering of his children, might have been the root of their problems.
7 His Pro-Life Campaigns
It's no secret that Jim is an advocate for women having as many children as God will allow. He served on a political platform for anti-abortion shortly before running for Senate.
This led to one of the greatest controversies ever featured on the show, as the Duggar siblings were seen wearing shirts that said, "I survived Roe vs. Wade, Roe vs. Wade will not survive me".
This refers to the 1973 Supreme Court case, which ruled in favor of abortion for women.
The Duggar's pro-life stance quickly angered some fans. There were people who felt Jim's choice to take away women's rights was insensitive.
The internet was furious after Duggar's daughter Jessa was spotted outside of a Planned Parenthood protest. Mr. Duggar still remains a staunch pro-life supporter to this day.
6 His Mysterious Daughter
Jana is the oldest daughter of the Duggar's and seemed to be very happy with her life. As she approaches the age of 30, fans of the spin off show Counting On have been wondering why she hasn't yet entered in to a serious relationship.
Rumors have since begun to spread about her, most of them having to deal with her questionable sexual orientation.
While the majority of the Duggar girls are married, there have been a number of reports saying that Jana was put under a lot of pressure to assist her siblings at home.
There remains lots of speculation surrounding the mysterious eldest daughter, which lead people to assume the worst. Could Jim be hiding the truth about her to protect the family reputation?
5 His Son-in-law Feuds
Mr. Duggar recently had a public feud with his son-in-law, Ben Seewald. Seewald is newly married to Duggar's daughter Jessa, who has remained silent about their disagreements. The two men are reportedly disagreeing over their opposing religious views.
Jim stands strong in his beliefs of being Quiverfull and advocating procreation, while Ben practices Calvinism. His support for the Black Lives Matters Movement also didn't sit well with the Duggars.
A source close to the family says that Jim is also deeply upset with another of his son-in-laws. His daughter Jinger Duggar married Jeremy Vuolo on November 5, 2016. Since then, Jinger has been spotted wearing pants. To most people, this wouldn't be an issue, but Jim was not happy about it.
Duggar only allowed his daughters to wear skirts when they lived at home, as it adhered to his strict religious beliefs. Jinger seems to have no regrets rebelling against her family's dress code, as she recently posted a picture on Instagram wearing pants and kissing her husband.
4 His Relationship With His Sister
While Jim went on to create a massive family, he came from a small household with just one older sister. 52-year-old Deanna Duggar Jordon is a Christian singer, who recently admitted to having a baby out of wedlock. This definitely goes against the Duggar's strict views on courtship.
While Deanna has been married to Terry Jordan since 2006, her daughter Amy is currently 31 years old. This means that Deanna engaged in pre-marital relations.
Unfortunately, Terry didn't turn out to be prince charming. Court reports show that Jim's sister had to file a restraining order against him over alleged death threats.
Terry has a very different side of the story, as when he filed for divorce, he claimed his wife's behavior was intolerable.
3 His Controversial Teachings
Former members of the Christian organization called Advanced Training Institution say that Duggar adopted most of his principles fro Bill Gothard. Gothardism, is an ideological system of strict biblical rules and principles.
In 2014, Mr. Gothard stepped down from his position following accusations of sexual misconduct with young girls in his ministry.
There have been reports saying that Mr. Gothard's teachings were more of a reflection of his own personal preferences. When the scandal surfaced regarding Gothard's actions, members seemed far from surprised.
RadioOnline.com reveals testimonials from former members who call the Duggar's teachings a cult, that will only cause the family's children more harm than good.
Micha Murray broke away from ATI at age 21 and has spoken out against both Gothard and the Duggars.
2 His Spending Habits
Jim Bob has condemned the unhealthy consumption that's associated with money and greed. However, close friends of his have said he can be hypocritical, considering his own disturbing spending habits.
Insiders have said that he has had trouble limiting his spending ever since the massive success of 19 Kids and Counting.
The Hollywood Gossip has reported that Jim is a high-class hoarder. Sources claim that his money is tied up in real estate, which caused him to develop an obsession with flipping properties for profit.
Duggar reportedly cashes out in auctions at an alarming rate and allegedly isn't afraid to bend the law for the almighty dollar. This contrasts his initial image of being a successful business man, indicating that perhaps the fame was too much for him to handle.
1 His Son's Scandal
Mr. Duggar's eldest son has recently been the center of media attention regarding multiple scandals. The allegations shocked the public and were confirmed to be true.
In 2006, Josh confessed to sexually molesting his younger sisters at age 14.
An unnamed minor was the first to bring these allegations to light in early 2002. Apparently, this was not news to Mr. Duggar. According to police reports, Josh admitted to his father that he had been touching his sisters inappropriately while they slept at night.
He told his father on three different occasions that were never reported. Mr.Duggar has clamed he had a family friend counsel his son. During his senator run four years prior, he stated that rape and incest should be punishable by death.
Since being exposed, Josh's scandal has caused TLC to cancel the show. Jim and Michelle believe he made a mistake, but have said they plan to always support and protect their son.
Do you know something about Jim Bob Duggar that we missed? Let us know in the comments!