Digging deep. A new docuseries is setting out to expose the dark secrets of the Duggar family and their ultra-conservative religious beliefs.
Fans got their first look at Prime Video’s Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets in an explosive trailer released on Thursday, May 18. “World domination was the goal,” a man says at the beginning of the clip as several talking heads discuss the impact of controversial minister Bill Gothard and his Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP).
Photos of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar — as well as their 19 children — flash on the screen. “There’s a story that’s going to be told,” Jill Duggar says. “And I would rather be the one telling it.”
The former TLC personality is shown clutching husband Derick Dillard‘s hand as a producer off camera thanks her for taking part in the project. A press release describes the doc as “the first time” the Arkansas native “will go on record with her own story,” along with “family and close family friends who witnessed what went on behind the scenes firsthand.”
Jill and her siblings rose to prominence after 19 Kids and Counting premiered on TLC in 2008. The reality series followed the daily lives of the Duggars, who homeschooled their big brood and embraced strict religious values.
In 2015, the network pulled the show from the air amid reports that the couple’s eldest son, Josh Duggar, molested several girls when he was 14 and 15 years old. It was later revealed that Jill and her sister Jessa Duggar were among the victims.
Following the highly publicized scandal, the family returned to reality TV with the spinoff Counting On. The show aired for 11 seasons from 2015 to 2020, one year before Josh made headlines once again for his arrest on child pornography charges. TLC officially cut ties with the Duggars in June 2021.
Josh is currently serving time in a Texas prison after being found guilty on two counts of receiving and possessing child pornography. He was initially sentenced to 151 months behind bars in May 2022, but Us Weekly confirmed earlier this year that his sentence was extended by nearly two months. He is expected to be released in October 2032.
Before Counting On was canceled, however, Jill and her husband — who share three sons — dropped out of the show in 2017. The Growing Up Duggar coauthor later revealed that her relationship with her family has been strained.
“We found out we didn’t have as much control over our lives as it related to the show and stuff, as we needed,” she noted in a 2020 YouTube video. “We had to make a decision at that time to kind of put the show aside … to pursue our own goals and everything.”
She exclusively told Us the following year that “there are definitely some issues” between her and her extended family. “Certain people are more supportive than others. I think it ebbs and flows with a family of that size. Every family has drama and so when you’ve got that many more people giving opinions or whatever, it can get crazy,” she explained.
Jill isn’t the only Duggar sibling to express some second thoughts about their conservative upbringing. Her sister Jinger Duggar reflected on the constraints of IBLP teachings in her book Becoming Free Indeed, which hit shelves earlier this year.
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