Duggar docuseries ‘Happy Shiny People’ reveals shocking secrets about reality TV family

Jim Bob, Michelle and the Duggar family, who starred in the hit TLC reality show “19 Kids and Counting” are back in the spotlight in the new docuseries “Happy Shiny People.”

The four-part limited series explores the family’s rise to fame and fall from grace after allegations emerged in 2015 that the oldest Duggar son, Josh, had molested five young girls when he was 12. Josh later admitted to molesting four of his younger sisters and a babysitter. 

The show, which ran for 10 seasons beginning in 2008, was subsequently canceled. In 2021, Josh was convicted on federal charges of possessing child pornography and sentenced to 12 and half years in prison

“Happy Shiny People” also examines the extreme views and practices of the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), a controversial religious organization founded by now-disgraced minister Bill Gothard. Jim Bob and Michelle are longtime members of IBLP and the docuseries shines a light on the influence that the organization wielded over them.

The new docuseries “Shiny Happy People” shines a light on Jim Bob, Michelle and the Duggar family. (Peter Kramer/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

The series, which premiered on Amazon Prime Friday, includes interviews with Jill Duggard Dillard and her husband Derick Dillard, Amy Duggar King and her husband Dillon King, and Jim Bob’s sister Deanna Jordan.


Jim Bob and Michelle responded to the docuseries in a statement that they shared on their website.

“The recent ‘documentary’ that talks about our family is sad because in it we see the media and those with ill intentions hurting people we love,” they wrote. “Like other families, ours too has experienced the joys and heartbreaks of life, just in a very public format. This ‘documentary’ paints so much and so many in a derogatory and sensationalized way because sadly that’s the direction of entertainment these days.”

the poster for shiny happy people

The docuseries revealed shocking secrets about the family behind the hit show “19 Kids and Counting.” (Prime)

The statement continued, “We have always believed that the best chance to repair damaged relationships, or to reconcile differences, is through love in a private setting. We love every member of our family and will continue to do all we can to have a good relationship with each one.”

“Through both the triumphs and the trials we have clung to our faith all the more and discovered that through the love and grace of Jesus, we find strength, comfort, and purpose.”

Here is a look at the biggest bombshells about the Duggar family from “Happy Shiny People.”

Jim Bob allegedly wanted Josh to confess to a family friend’s daughter about his sexual abuse — after they got married 

jim bob michelle on today

Jim Bob and Michelle’s friends Jim and Bobye Holt recalled learning about Josh’s sexual abuse. They said that Jim Bob told them he had planned for Josh to confess to their daughter Kaeleigh after they were married. (Peter Kramer/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

In the first episode of “Happy Shiny People,” the Duggars’ close friends Jim and Bobye Holt discussed their daughter Kaeleigh’s relationship with Josh. Jim, a former GOP state senator and representative from Arkansas, recalled that they had known Josh “from the time he was a baby.” The Holts were also members of IBLP.

He said that when Josh was a teenager, he asked for Jim and Bobye’s permission to court Kaeleigh for the purpose of marriage. The couple agreed and Josh became Kaeleigh’s first boyfriend. 

Jim remembered that he found out that Josh had molested his sisters on March 30, 2003. “I went out to the field and just bawled,” he said.

“What Jim had said to us was Josh has gotten into some trouble,” Bobye said. “You know, ‘He’s touched his sisters inappropriately.'”

Josh Duggar mugshot

Josh Duggar was arrested on charges of possessing child pornography in 2021. (Washington County Sheriff’s Office via Getty Images)

The couple recalled that Jim Bob and Michelle refused to use the word “molest” to describe their son’s actions.

“He had apparently been doing it since he was 12, but we found out about it when he was 15,” Jim said. He recalled asking Jim Bob and Michelle when they had planned on telling them. “And Michelle said, ‘We weren’t going to have them tell you guys at all. We’re going to have Josh confess to Kaeleigh once they were married.’ And I asked him [Jim Bob], ‘Are you basically saying you tried to use my daughter like a carrot to get him to behave the right way?’ And he goes, ‘Yeah, kinda.’”


Jim recalled that Jim Bob, who served as an Arkansas state representative twice, had written a bill to create a sex offenders’ registry.

“I confronted him, I said, ‘Jim Bob, according to your own bill that you’ve written and what you’ve told me, your son should be on it. He needs to make it right with the law because he violated the law, and he needs to turn himself in.'”

According to Jim, Jim Bob said he was going to take Josh to the state trooper’s office and Jim agreed to accompany him.

josh duggar speaks at conference

Josh Duggar was convicted and sentenced to more than 12 years in federal prison. (Kris Connor/Getty Images)

“The state trooper sat down, and we told him the story that Josh told him, what we thought at the time was everything he had done. He goes, ‘I’m gonna let you go this time. He said, But if you do it again, I’m really going to come down hard on you,'” Jim said.

He continued, “Well, we found out later that this guy was a friend of Jim [Bob’s].”

The Holts said Jim Bob and Michelle sent Josh to Bill Gothard’s facility in Little Rock for rehabilitation. “19 Kids and Counting” began airing five years later.

In December 2021, Bobye testified against Josh at his federal trial after he was charged with downloading and possessing child pornography. 

During the trial, Jim Bob announced that he was running for state senator in Arkansas. The Holts recalled that Jim Bob had texted Jim a link to his campaign’s donation page. Days after Josh was convicted on all charges, Jim Bob lost the Republican primary to city council member Colby Fulfer, who went on the win the election. 

Jim Bob purportedly deceived Jill into signing a contract extension with TLC the day before her wedding

jill derick duggar

Jill said that Jim Bob deceived her into signing a contract extension with TLC the day before she married Derick. (D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Extra)

On June 21, 2014, Jill married Derick Dillard in a televised wedding that aired on “19 Kids and Counting” in October of that year. Jill and Derick said they had “no choice” in whether their wedding would be televised as “19 Kids and Counting” was the highest-rated show that TLC ever had at that time.

In the final episode of “Happy Shiny People,” Jill said she unwittingly signed a contract that extended her commitment to TLC on the day before her wedding.

“I just saw the signature page,” she said. “It was like on the end of the kitchen table – like, ‘Hey, I just need you guys to sign these. Like everyone was signing them. We were literally running through the kitchen, and it was like whoever you could grab on the way through. I didn’t know what it was for.”

When asked who had her sign the contract, Jill replied, “My dad.”

Derick said, “What we found out later was that it was a commitment of your life for the next five years to the show.”

“They had their negotiations, they had their business meetings,” Jill said. “It just wasn’t with us.”

jill and derick kissing at their wedding

Jill and Derick married in June 2014 in a televised wedding that aired on “19 Kids and Counting.” (Jill Duggar Dillard Instagram)

In 2016, Jill and Derick were working as missionaries in El Salvador. A TLC crew traveled to the Central American country to film them for the “19 Kids and Counting” spinoff show “Jill and Jessa: Counting On.”

The couple said TLC producers began to press them to return to the United States for a shoot. Jill and Derick said they refused as they wanted to honor their commitment. They recalled that they had previously told the producers they would be in El Salvador for 10 months.

“Now it’s a matter of principle,” Jill explained. “Like we’re going to be here. That was like the first time that we really put our foot down and said, ‘No.’ I’ve never said no to my family before and just been like, ‘No, no, no. We cannot do what you’re asking us to do.’ And it was one of those, like, aha moments for us that basically they’re like, ‘Well, you have to.’”


She continued, “My dad sends us the signature page along with just the obligation section of the contract. I was like, ‘Somebody forged my signature, I’m sure of it.’ And then I look at it, like, that is my signature. And that’s when we realized that I had signed this the day before we got married. And then I’m like, ‘Oh, I remember that. That’s not what I thought I was signing.'”

“We never gave our word that we’re generally going to be committed to anything,” Derick said. “This was fraud.”

“And I’m freaking out because now we’re aware of this contract,” Jill said. “Like, does it hold any water? Like, are we going to get off the plane, and they’re going to arrest us because we violated something?”

Derick recalled that the couple spoke to Jim Bob about what conditions would be offered to them should they end their mission early.

“If we’re giving up something, then we should get something in return,” Derick said. “Jim Bob said, ‘What do you want? Like, you know, $10 an hour?’ And I said, ‘I don’t know what is it worth?’ He’s like, ‘What’s your price?’ 

Derick said that they went back and forth with Jim Bob, who told them he could pay them $10 an hour.

“That’s when we asked to talk to TLC,” he said.

photo of jill duggars wedding ceremony

The couple said Jim Bob offered to pay them $10 an hour to film the show. (Jill Duggar Dillard Instagram)

The pair claimed they were told by Jim Bob’s manager Chad Gallagher that he would have to be present for any discussions with TLC. Jill remembered that Gallagher told them, “The contract is not with you. It’s through your dad. And I’m his representative. So I have to be involved in these conversations.”

“And we were not able to talk to TLC,” Derick noted.

“Honestly, they probably would think if you got a problem with it, you speak up. But it’s not the boat that I was in.”

According to Jill and Derick, Jim Bob later offered to pay the older Duggar children a lump sum of money for their participation on the show.

“The amount that he ended up paying in a lump sum to each person, I don’t think it would be a coincidence that it would be very close to what minimum wage would be up to 18,” Derick said.

Jill added, “But in order to receive that, you had to sign another deal with my dad – his production company, Mad Family Inc. It would be like forever. We were automatically like, ‘We’re done.'”

“We found out on social media that our relationship – if we ever had a relationship with TLC – came to an end at that time,” Derick said.

Jill and Derick announced that they were leaving “Counting On” in 2017.

Jill didn’t want the delivery of her first child filmed for the show, but ‘basically lost’

Jill Duggar visits the New York "Extra" studio in 2014.

Jill said she told TLC producers she didn’t want her delivery of his first child to be filmed for the show. (D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Extra)

Jill revealed that she was opposed to filming the delivery of her first child for the show. TLC had previously filmed Michelle and Josh’s wife Anna giving birth and Jill recalled that they expected to film her birth as well. 


Derick and Jill said the production company approached them a few weeks before Jill gave birth about filming the delivery. Jill said they offered to only have one camera operator in the room.

“And I was like, well, actually, we don’t want you guys there at all,” Jill said, noting that the producers were shocked at their refusal.

“You didn’t want to go through what Anna went through,” Derick said.

“I knew for sure I was like, ‘Nobody’s in my delivery room, like nobody. And nobody’s there for the labor watching me. Like, I don’t want any of that,'” Jill said.

“We basically lost, and they’re going to get what they want,” Derick said.

The couple said the production company gave them cameras and tripods so that they could shoot footage for the show themselves.


“We did diary cams,” Jill said. “We did a lot of work. So they still got, you know, the footage.”

After the birth of Jill’s son Israel, she said the couple asked TLC just to pay them enough to cover the out-of-pocket costs of their insurance for the birth.

“They said they pay the family. Pay the family means we don’t get anything at that point,” Derick recalled before claiming, “They said, ‘Well, we paid your dad. So take it up with him.’”

Jill later revealed that she was never paid at any point during her time on “19 Kids and Counting” and “Counting On.”

“I never received any payout,” she said. “No check, no cash, no nothing. For seven-and-a-half years of my adult life, I was never paid.”

Representatives for TLC did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.

Jim Bob, Michelle have allegedly become the ‘replacement’ for Bill Gothard at IBLP

michelle duggar looking at jim bob

Jim and Bobye Holt claimed that Jim Bob has become the “replacement” for Gothard. (Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

“Happy Shiny People” delved deep into the conservative Christian fundamentalist teachings of IBLP. The series featured numerous interviews with former members who described how the organization’s practices led to alleged abusive behavior within the community.


In 2014, Gothard resigned from the ministry after he was accused of sexual harassment and molestation by 34 women. Some of the accusers alleged that the sexual abuse occurred when they were minors. A group of Gothard’s alleged victims brought a lawsuit against him and IBLP in 2016, but it was dismissed in 2018 since the statute of limitations had expired.  

In “Happy Shiny People,” Jim Bob’s niece Amy Duggar King said Jim Bob and Michelle had become public faces of IBLP due to the success and platform of “19 Kids and Counting.”  

The Duggar Family during a TV appearance

Amy Duggar King said Jim Bob and Michelle became the “poster child for IBLP” after “19 Kids and Counting” became a hit. (D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Extra)

“With all the babies and the popularity of the show, they literally became the poster child for IBLP,” she said. 

The Holts said Jim Bob is “definitely” trying to emulate Gothard. 


“Because Mr. Gothard has been taken out of it, from what my understanding is, is that Jim Bob and Michelle are his replacement,” Bobye claimed.

“With them being on TLC, I think it has definitely given them a platform to encourage people to come to IBLP,” she added. “And they’ve encouraged people to move to Arkansas. Which is completely a cult move,” she claimed.

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