The patriarch of the now “famous for being famous” Duggar family of Arkansas is none other than good ole boy Jim Bob Duggar. The Duggars came to fame when they were the subject of their own reality television series on TLC following their lives with 17 children... then their 18 children...and then their 19 children! 19 Kids and Counting was a huge hit on the network for a number of years making the Duggars genuine reality television stars. They were known to focus on family values and have a very conservative and traditional lifestyle. Jim Bob has always led the pack with a smile on his face and an unwavering work ethic.
But in 2015 all hell broke loose for the Duggar family when their eldest child Josh Duggar, was involved in the “Ashley Madison” hack and lots of other issues became public. Issues where Josh molested young girls (including his sisters) when he was a teenager came to light and what was once a very private problem became both very public and life changing. Surely, everyone is entitled to their privacy, but coming to the realization that such a seemingly perfect family has their own skeletons in the closet was a real shocker. That doesn’t mean that Jim Bob is all bad or all good...it just means that there’s a lot that we don’t know about the real Jim Bob Duggar. So here are 15 things that you may not have known about good ole boy Jim Bob Duggar.
15 Was Member of Arkansas House of Representatives
Many people do not realize it, but Jim Bob Duggar was an elected member of the Arkansas State House of Representatives! He served two terms as a State Representative (a total of four years) representing his community in Northwest Arkansas. Duggar ran as a Republican, running on a conservative, family values platform. His voting record followed this platform as well. In his time working in Little Rock at the Capital, he was the Vice Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Duggar did not really accomplish a whole lot while in the legislature and his seniority wasn’t very high either, but he was still very proud to serve in elective office. He tried for a few other positions unsuccessfully, but still proudly claims this four year window of his life in public service.
14 He and Michelle Used Birth Control
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar were married at a very young age. Early in their marriage, they admit to having used birth control pills. This seems completely contrary to their personal beliefs now and it totally is! Jim Bob has come out publicly saying that they believe the use of birth control is what contributed to Michelle having a miscarriage. Birth control is widely accepted in the world as a common sense and even responsible practice. For the Duggars, as well as other faith based organizations and churches, the use of contraception is sinful in the eyes of God. Jim Bob and Michelle are very open and honest about their beliefs and they have not strayed from them in this regard, which is admirable. Though this particular belief is not shared by everyone.
13 Insufficient Housing
The Duggars were first noticed when they became the subject of a special documentary, featuring them as they were building a new 7,000 square foot home to accommodate their extremely large (and still growing) family. People just couldn’t believe that they could manage such a huge number of children. Jim Bob and Michelle were wholesome parents that taught traditional values and a strong work ethic to their children. They were charming and extremely fascinating to watch on television. But their home prior to the move was claimed by many as insufficient for them. Some even claimed Jim Bob and Michelle of child maltreatment because they had 14 children in a three bedroom house. Accusations of neglect are a little extreme, but nevertheless, life changed when they upgraded their home with cameras following the journey.
12 Married His Wife When She Was 17
As mentioned before, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar got married at a very young age. Both of these two famous parents came from conservative and more traditional backgrounds, but strangely enough, Michelle was not even a legal adult when they became man and wife! Jim Bob was 19 and Michelle was only 17 years old when they got married, making her still a minor. Certainly, everything was done with parental consent, as there was no lying about her age or running away to Las Vegas. But for two people that advocate for such traditional family values and shielding their children from so much of the world, their rushing to wed seems a bit reckless. But it has al worked out, as they have been together ever since. Who are we to judge?
11 Added His Nephew To the Fold
In late 2016, Jim Bob added another child to his already massive household! Michelle’s great nephew Tyler at the young age of eight was in need of a more stable home. Tyler’s mother was unable to care for the young boy, so Jim Bob and Michelle being the amazing people they are decided to make young Tyler a part of their family on a full time basis and took on guardianship. He has been in family photographs since then and they consider him their 20th child! All evidence would suggest that he is happy and loving living with the Duggar family. With so many children, you might think the Duggars would take a pass on bringing another kiddo into the house, but Jim Bob and Michelle were more than willing to do what needed to be done.
10 Handled Josh’s Molestation In-House
Jim Bob came under some serious criticism when Josh’s molestation came to the light of day. Jim Bob admitted publicly that when they became aware of their oldest son Josh’s actions, they opted to handle it themselves and with counsel from the elders of their church. Josh did these things on multiple occasions over a few years, with his parents becoming aware of the problem and punishing him, sending him to live with a relative for a period of time and eventually a faith based residential facility. Many have defended Jim Bob by claiming that he was trying to involve the authorities for the benefit of his son. But unfortunately, some of the victims were Josh’s own sisters! There is probably no perfect way to handle something so devastating, but nevertheless, the whole scandal has caused a serious stain on the family’s reputation.
9 Strange Homeschooling Curriculum
The Duggar family is known for homeschooling each of their children. This is not news or a shock to anyone. They feel that it is important to have a faith based curriculum for their children and prefer to take care of even their educational needs themselves. But the Duggar family utilizes a specific homeschool, bible-based curriculum developed by Bill Gothard. Gothard has been accused of sexual harassment and/or sexual assault by multiple women. Shockingly, his curriculum has lessons designed to address what to do if a child is accused of sexually abusing a sibling. The worst part is that it asks how each child (including the abused) has been instructed to resist evil and even discuss the importance is not being immodest or tempting others. Strange is perhaps the nicest word for this.
8 Only Allows Courting...Not Dating
Jim Bob is a protective father for sure and this is quite evident in the house rules for courtship. Notice, I said courtship and not dating. Jim Bob and Michelle do not allow casual dating. Dating is only permitted with someone as a possible candidate for marriage. So there is not much in the way of “playing the field” with the Duggar kids. Some have even said that Jim Bob is doing most of the matchmaking for his daughters. When courting, they must have a chaperone (usually one of the siblings) go along to make sure everything stays “G” rated. The Duggar kids don’t really know any better, so none of them seem to complain. But a great many people have been very critical of the extremely tight lease on which he keeps his kids.
7 Requires Group Texting
Part of the courtship process for the Duggar kids extends to social media as well. Jim Bob and Michelle keep a tight control on the internet usage of their children and that also includes cell phones and texting. One may think that if you can’t even go on a date with a potential life partner alone, surely you can text privately to get to know one another. Well think again! While Jim Bob allows his kids to text those they are courting, he requires that either he, Michelle or (even better) both are copied in as a group text. This way, they can monitor what is being said closely. It is completely unknown how perfectly the kids follow this rule, but Jim Bob sure seems to stand by it pretty closely.
6 Ran for United States Senate
Jim Bob served in the Arkansas General Assembly for two terms as you now know. But he also ran for the United States Senate in 2002! Jim Bob ran against incumbent Republican Tim Hutchinson in the primary and lost handily. Jim Bob continued running on his ultra conservative, faith based platform, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the money behind the Hutchinson political machine. Duggar has gone on to claim that it was the exposure he received in running for the seat that led to his television fame. Certainly a candidate with such an extreme number of children would be enough to get the attention of a lot of networks. That was definitely the case and while he didn’t even win the primary, he wound up getting more than he could have dreamed.
5 Originally a Real Estate Agent
Jim Bob has been known to do a lot of things. His legislative profile page online lists him as a car dealer. Jim Bob Duggar owned “Duggar Automotive” in Springdale, Arkansas for a number of years. But in addition to this (and before this) both he and Michelle were real estate agents. He apparently invested personally in some commercial real estate property as well as cell phone towers that provided the income for his massive family! Jim Bob did well enough to be able to run for the state legislature, a job that pays, but at the time paid less than $15,000 a year. Michelle obviously quit selling real estate long ago to manage the household, but it is interesting to think of both her and Jim Bob out there hustling to sell property early in their marriage.
4 Closed His Used Car Lot
“Duggar Automotive” was the name of the used car lot that Jim Bob Duggar owned in Springdale, Arkansas. Some earlier episodes of their reality television series shows son Josh working at the car lot alongside his father. Since the sex scandal, Josh has moved back to Arkansas and is selling cars again, but not at good ole Duggar Automotive. Jim Bob closed the car lot and is no longer selling cars. Josh has apparently opened his own lot and is doing his own thing. Jim Bob is understandably busy arranging marriages for his daughters and trying to keep the family together despite all the bumps in the road the last few years. Don’t worry too much about him, since he has authored many books and still makes many public appearances (getting speaking fees no doubt.)
3 Rumors of Divorce
So for months there were countless rumors that Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar were going to separate, with some even claiming they were definitely divorcing. It was alleged that the Josh sex scandal was more than they could handle in their own marriage and they were going to call it quits after several months of turmoil. They stayed silent on the issue for a while, probably hoping that the rumors would just go away, but the pot just stayed stirred. But they broke the silence eventually stating that their marriage had never been stronger and they were more in love now than ever before. Jim Bob even released a photo on social media of him kissing Michelle while holding a magazine with the rumor of their splitting up on the cover.
2 Endorsed Huckabee and Santorum For President
So which candidate for President tickles your fancy when you are a Duggar? Apparently the answer in 2012 for the Republican primaries was none other than Rick Santorum. The Duggar family endorsed former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (no surprise there) in 2008, but in 2012, they publicly came out in favor of Rick Santorum. Obviously Santorum did not make it too far in the primaries, but it was a huge thing for his campaign to have such a high profile person as Jim Bob Duggar and the power of his family endorsing him. Duggar was almost the poster child for the conservative Christian movement. We all know Jim Bob is a politically active person and it seems that neither he nor Michelle are ones to shy away from political life.
1 Gets “It” Whenever He Wants
So as prudish as the Duggars may seem, don’t feel like Jim Bob has to go without on a regular basis. He keeps that cheesy smile on his face all the time for a reason I guess! Michelle Duggar has made public statements that while they do not believe in sexual activity (including kissing) before marriage, once married, a wife should be sexually available to her husband any time he asks. Her belief is that the husband has only one wife and she is the only one that can fulfill this need for him. Many have criticized her opinion on the issue, but regardless of if you agree or disagree, it is pretty clear that Jim Bob is getting taken care of by his wife without any excuses of a headache!