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Jill Duggar Was ‘Enormously Critical’ To The Duggar Doc’s ‘In-Depth Look’ At The Family (Exclusive)

Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard 'Shiny Happy People'




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Image Credit: Amazon Prime

Jill Duggar of the infamous Duggar clan is front and center in Amazon’s new docuseries, Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets, which promises to expose the secrets of her family and the strict religious organization —  Bill Gothard‘s The Institute of Basic Life Principles (BLP) —  the Duggars touted for years on TLC via 19 Kids and Counting. It’s no secret that some of the older Duggar children have moved on from some of IBLP’s conservative rules and have even spoken out bout the Duggar family patriarch, Jim Bob, and Jill and her husband, Derek, decided to shed light on what it was like growing up and marrying into such a conservative family through the new doc. And according to the show’s producers, Jill, the 32-year-old fourth-born Duggar, was a vital component of the docuseries, the trailer of which can be seen below.

“Jill is enormously, enormously critical [to Shiny Happy People]”, the series’ co-producer, Blye Faust, told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY ahead of the doc’s June 2 debut. “We didn’t even know what she would be saying and how much that she would be divulging and she really came through —  honestly and raw,” Blye added. “I think people will love Jill after they see this … I think they’ll respect what she has to say and feel a great deal of empathy for her.”

Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard 'Shiny Happy People'
Jill Duggar was joined by her husband Derick Dillard in Amazon’s ‘Shiny Happy People’ (Photo: Amazon Prime)

Jill was one of the poster children of the Duggar family back when it was TLC’s most popular show. She even got to star in the spinoff, Counting On, which ran from 2015 to 2021 and also starred her sisters Jessa, Jinger, and Joy-Anna, and kept up with the rest of the expansive family. Unfortunately, Jill’s overall experience sharing her family’s religion through reality television was marred for several reasons.

First,  it was revealed in 2015 that the oldest Duggar child, Josh, molested four of his younger sisters —  including Jill — plus a babysitter when he was a teen. In Shiny Happy People, Jill emotionally stated that the information about her molestation was never supposed to be public knowledge. Furthermore, Jill has spoken out on more than one occasion that she was never paid for her participation in the show until she and her husband, Derick Dillard, pressured Jim Bob to make things right. They claimed they ended up getting paid the equivalent of what would have been minimum wage at the time.

And in Shiny Happy PeopleJill went as far as saying she was misguided into signing away another five years of her life for the show a day before she married Derick. She recalled being asked to sign a paper amid a hectic filming day, so she went along with it. “The day before we got married I signed a contract. I just saw the signature page. It was like on the end of the kitchen table like, ‘Hey, we just need you guys to sign these.’ Like everybody was signing them,” the mother of three recalled. “We were literally running through the kitchen and it was like whoever you could grab on the way through. Like I didn’t know what it was for.” She specifically mentioned that it was her father who had her sign the paper.

'19 Kids and Counting'
’19 Kids and Counting’ premiered on TLC in 2008 (Photo: Shutterstock)

The following year, the newlyweds headed overseas to El Salvador to do some missionary work and recalled butting heads with Jim Bob and TLC because they didn’t want to leave to film the show. That’s when Jim Bob sent Jill the contract she had signed in 2014. “I was like, ‘Somebody forged my signature!’ And then I looked at it and I was like, ‘That is my signature,’” she explained. “That’s when I realized I had signed this the day before we got married. And then Im like, ‘Oh, I remember that, that’s not what I thought I was signing.’”

Jill clearly impressed the producers behind Shiny Happy People with her thoughtful input throughout her interview for the doc, but it turns out she nearly declined the opportunity. “Yeah, I mean, doing an interview like this isn’t easy, and I didn’t want to do it,” she confessed near the beginning of the show’s first episode. “There’s a lot there. Like, do I want to open that can of worms?” After much consideration, she decided telling her story was better than remaining silent.

Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets uses the Duggar family as a vessel to share the larger idea of IBLP and how its teachings have infiltrated society, from everyday families to America’s top civil institutions. The show’s co-director, Olivia Crist, described the series as an “in-depth look at the cult behind this family” during her EXCLUSIVE interview with HollywoodLife. “[In 19 Kids Kids and Counting], you see as the title indicates, kind of a shiny happy facade, but when you start digging deeper, you understand what was going on behind the scenes and that there were 1000s of other families that were part of this group who deserve a voice as well,” she noted. All four episodes of Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets drop on Prime Video on June 2.

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