Career & Personal Life
At the age of seventeen, Jim came in contact with Michelle Ruark who had undergone religious conversion to Baptist beliefs. The casual acquaintance grew into a romantic relation and they got married on July 21, 1984. Duggar was 19 at the time of marriage.
After their marriage, Jim and Michelle started a used-car business. They worked as real estate agent, too. In 1988, their first child, Joshua, was born. When Michelle became pregnant for the second time, she suffered a miscarriage. Duggars were told by the doctors that the use of birth control measures could lead to miscarriage, so they decided not to use any birth control techniques.
The Duggar family expanded, as Michelle gave birth to twins, Jana and John David. Later, she gave birth to Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joseph, Josiah, Joy, twins Jedidiah and Jeremiah, Jason, James, Justin, Jackson, Johannah, Jennifer, Jordyn, and Josie – a total of 19 children. The names of all their children start with the letter ‘J.’
The Duggars have led the life of devout independent Baptists; they have raised their children in a conservative manner, strictly adhering to religious principles. All children have been home-schooled. They were allowed very limited use of TV and internet. A strict dress code, too, was followed. They practiced chaperoned courtship, where a couple gets acquainted in the presence of family members.
The Duggar family first came into limelight with a special show on ‘Discovery Health,’ titled ‘14 Children and Pregnant Again.’ It was aired in 2004. The show focused on the day-to-day life of the family, including grocery shopping, daily chores, and church visits.
In 2006, another special show ‘Raising 16 Children,’ which featured the new home that the family was constructing, was telecast. This show was followed by ‘16 Children and Moving In,’ which showed the family moving into their new house.
In 2008, ‘TLC’ started a regular reality TV series showing the life of Jim Bob Duggar and his family. It was initially titled ‘17 Kids and Counting.’ As the number of children increased, the show was renamed as ‘18 Kids and Counting’ and finally as ‘19 Kids and Counting.’
‘19 Kids and Counting’ was a highly popular show. In the show, the family members discussed their faith in God and their value systems. During the course of the show, Duggar family welcomed two new children. Three of the eldest children were married, and four grandchildren were born. In 2015, the show was cancelled following a public apology by the eldest son of Duggar, Joshua, that he had molested five girls.
He is a member of the ‘Republican’ party. From 1999 to 2002, Jim Bob Duggar was a member of the ‘Arkansas House of Representatives.’ He served the vice chair of the ‘Judiciary House Corrections & Criminal Law Subcommittee.’ In 2002, Duggar contested in the Republican primary election for ‘United States Senate,’ but lost. In 2006, Duggar sought the ‘Republican’ nomination for the ‘District 35’ seat in the ‘Arkansas State Senate,’ but lost to Bill Pritchard.
Jim has co-written two books with his wife, Michelle. The first one, ‘The Duggars: 20 and Counting!’ was released in 2008, while the second, ‘A Love That Multiplies: An Up-close View of How They Make it Work,’ came in 2011.
Duggar is a leading real estate broker, and owns several commercial properties.
Immediately after the Joshua Duggar molestation scandal came to light, Jim Bob Duggar faced severe public criticism for not reporting his son’s wrongdoing to the law enforcement agencies. Following this, Jim issued a clarification on his ‘Facebook’ page.
In 2011, the Duggars announced that they were expecting their twentieth child. They decided to name the child ‘Jubilee Shalom Duggar,’ Michelle suffered a miscarriage, and the family conducted a funeral for the stillborn child.