Counting On secrets the Duggars don't want you to know

Following 19 Kids & Counting's cancellation in July 2015, fans wondered if they'd ever see the Duggars on television ever again. Luckily for the family's supporters, however, in December 2015 the execs at TLC decided to give the reality stars another chance via a new show called Jill & Jessa: Counting On. The only catch? Josh Duggar, who confessed to molesting at least two of his sisters and cheating on his wife, Anna Duggar, would not appear on the show. 

TLC also shifted its focus from parents Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar to the couple's married daughters at the time — Jessa and Jill Duggar. Although one might assume that banning Josh from the spin-off would rehabilitate the family's image, it turns out Counting On has its fair share of scandals. In fact, as much as the Duggars would like fans to think that all is well at their 7,000 square foot home in Arkansas now that Josh is out of the picture, the truth is Counting On is a treasure trove of drama. And on that note, here is what the Duggars never wanted you to know about Counting On. Spoiler alert: Things are about to get juicy.

Josh Duggar still attends family events

Throughout the course of Counting On's run, at least three Duggar kids have tied the knot as of May 2018. And because Duggar weddings are a big hit with fans, Counting On filmed each ceremony for the show. From the trading of vows all the way to the wedding reception, TLC's camera crew goes above and beyond to make sure every special moment appears in each episode. 

The flip side of this, however, is that the crew also takes great measures to avoid filming certain people and situations at these weddings. Want to take a guess about who we're talking about? Yep, the answer is Josh. Although Josh's face is never shown in the wedding episodes, rest assured he is there. Although Jim Bob and Michelle want you to think Josh is off somewhere repenting for his wrongs, he's actually enjoying family moments with Counting On cast. 

Making matters even more interesting is that TLC uses a variety of tactics to keep fans in the dark. Take Jinger and Jeremy Vuolo's wedding in November 2016, for instance. To block Josh's face out of the episode, the editors used a fake sun glare and elaborate camera cuts to hide him from fans, according to the Daily Mail. And at one point during the ceremony, Josh lifted up his son, Marcus, in an effort to shield his face from cameras as Jinger walked down the aisle. Hmm, we wonder what editing schemes the Duggars will cook up next.

Derick Dillard's payment allegations

In case you haven't already noticed, Derick Dillard — Jill's husband — has a fondness for airing his grievances on Twitter. And one of Dillard's most scandalous gripes is that TLC never paid him or Jill a dime for their work on Counting On. Dillard issued the shocking claim in March 2018, just five months after TLC announced he wouldn't return to the spin-off. But why did Dillard bring up money in the first place? 

It all started when Dillard argued that TLC should have paid the medical bills associated with the birth of his son, Israel. When a fan challenged Dillard on this (he had a good job as an accountant at Walmart, after all), he responded in a since-deleted tweet (via InTouchWeekly): "We could pay for it fine; I had a great job. The point is, I thought that at least since they were making money off the birth special episode, they could help soften the burden a little … And no, as far as we could tell, we were volunteers and hadn't been paid anything 4 the show." Um, say what now? 

Although TLC hasn't commented on this matter as of May 2018, some fans think they know what's going on here. The prevailing theory among Counting On Redditors is that Jim Bob is responsible for Dillard's angst. "I think Jim Bob largely still controls the money in terms of the show," one Redditor wrote. Talk about a scandalous theory.

The show bleeds advertisers

It can be difficult to find advertisers for reality shows, especially when scandals are involved. Case in point: Counting On has lost a staggering number of advertisers throughout the years following Josh's multiple scandals. Shortly after the spin-off first premiered in December 2015, a long list of companies pulled the plug on their support. Apparently, the upset advertisers weren't aware that their spots would air on the show. 

Cici's Pizza, one of the frustrated companies, stated, according to InTouchWeekly: "Cici's prides itself on being a family-friendly restaurant. We recently made a large advertising buy on cable television that spanned several networks but did not target any particular program. When we learned one of our ads was placed adjacent to controversial programming, we took immediate action to stop it." Yikes. As for why companies don't want to deal with the Duggars, the answer boils down to the family's tainted image. 

"The Duggars are radioactive right now," media expert David Johnson told InTouch Weekly about the situation. "People will see that this new show is just a desperate ploy by the Duggars to reclaim the spotlight and hopefully make some dollars off the public." Unfortunately for the Duggars, Counting On continues to bleed advertisers. Just two years after a ton of advertisers bailed on the show, a long list of companies (Credit Karma, Ring.com, Wrigley, etc.) ditched the family, according to InTouchWeekly. Yep, it sounds like the marketing team at Counting On has a lot of work to do.

Jill Duggar's complicated birth

After a Duggar gives birth, the happy news is typically promoted on social media and TLC's website ASAP. But when Jill gave birth to her second son, Samuel, in July 2017, the fanfare surrounding the baby's arrival was non-existent. In fact, Jill didn't share the first photo of Samuel until July 25, 2017 — 17 days after the delivery. Of course, many fans came up with conspiracies about Jill's social media delay, including the theory that Samuel had a complicated birth. 

People went on to suggest that Jill didn't want the details of Samuel's birth featured on Counting On — an idea that was confirmed when the show's sixth season seemingly glossed over the delivery. Although Jill has the right to keep this part of her life private, some argued that her secrecy about Samuel's birth was due to guilt. Apparently, a few Counting On viewers think Jill waited too long at home laboring (she prefers home births) before going to the hospital to deliver Samuel. And because Jill supposedly waited too long, Samuel had a stressful and life-threatening delivery

So, what's the truth here? While Dillard confirmed that Samuel spent "two weeks" in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, there's no proof that this was Jill's fault — or that she tried to hide something shady from fans. The likely scenario here is that Jill simply wanted to keep her son's health issues private. 

Jim Bob Duggar is supposedly plotting Josh's return

Some fans might be surprised to learn that Jim Bob supposedly attempted to score Josh a spot on Counting On despite his many misdeeds. In fact, a source claimed in August 2017 that Jim Bob hounded TLC execs 24/7 to bring Josh back into the reality TV fold. "Nobody thought TLC would ever allow him on again," an insider shared, according to InTouch Weekly. "He spent a month trying to convince TLC that Josh should be back on the show. 

They finally caved and agreed to let him film an upcoming Counting On webisode where he'll talk about his joy at learning he's going to be a father again. If the episode is well-received, he'll appear on the next season of Counting On." As it turns out, however, Josh's supposed webisode never made the cut. Still, it seems like Jim Bob is dead set on integrating Josh back into fans' lives. 

Want proof? Look no further than the fact that Josh is back on Jim Bob and Michelle's social media channels. "Happy Anniversary, Josh and Anna," Michelle and Jim Bob penned on Facebook in September 2016. "We are so thankful for God's redemptive love in your lives." We can't put our finger on it, but we have a feeling Jim Bob won't give up on his supposed campaign to rehabilitate Josh's image.

The real reason Jill and Derick left the show

After months of speculation, TLC revealed in November 2017 that Derick Dillard would no longer appear on Counting On. And to fans' surprise, Dillard confirmed in December 2017 that Jill was also done with the show. Shockingly, no one really knows why the two decided to bid adieu to Counting On. What is clear, however, is that this is a very confusing situation. 

While many viewers assumed that Dillard was fired from TLC for his transphobic remarks against transgender reality star Jazz Jennings, the minister-in-training claims he "quit" the show. "Unbelievable…'" Dillard tweeted about a Fox News article claiming he was fired. "For the record, I was never fired. I just felt it best for my family to cut ties months ago, as we are heading in a different direction." 

On the other hand, TLC's statement seems to suggest the network gave Dillard the boot. "We want to let our viewers know that Derick Dillard has not participated in Counting On for months and the network has no plans to feature him in the future," TLC shared on Twitter. "We want to reiterate that Derick's personal statements do not reflect the views of the network. TLC is proud to share the story of Jazz Jennings and her family and will continue to do so." We guess we'll never know the truth until TLC comments on Dillard's claims.

Joe Duggar might have stolen his brother's girlfriend

One of the most juicy secrets about Counting On is that Joseph Duggar supposedly stole his now wife, Kendra Caldwell, from his younger brother Jedidiah Duggar. The rumor surfaced via a family insider in June 2017 who claimed that Jedidiah dated Caldwell first — until Joseph "bumped" him out from the relationship, according to The Hollywood Gossip

Apparently, the move created a rift between the brothers until Joseph mended the relationship with an apology letter. If this story sounds unbelievable to you (the idea of Joseph and Jedidiah feuding over a love interest is a bit out there, to be fair), consider the possibility that the Duggars might be putting on a perfect front for fans. 

"There's a whole world that goes on that really isn't so," the source said about the behind-the-scenes shenanigans at the Duggar home, according to The Hollywood Gossip. "When the cameras aren't rolling, it's a whole different life." Hmm, maybe Joseph and Jedidiah did try to hide a scandalous feud from fans. You never know.

Ratings are down

In addition to Counting On's ongoing struggle with advertisers, the show is also dealing with falling ratings. Take the family's wedding specials, for instance. When 19 Kids & Counting was on the air, Josh, Jill, and Jessa's nuptials raked in a ton of viewers. Josh's wedding brought in 3.2 million viewers, Jill's special drew in 4.4 million people, and Jessa's episode clocked in at 4.3 million fans. 

In comparison, the Counting On weddings flopped with viewers. Jinger's ceremony in November 2016, for example, brought in 1.4 million viewers — a big drop from other wedding specials. Making matters even more concerning for TLC execs is that Joy-Anna's wedding to Austin Forsyth in May 2017 drew in 1.3 million fans, a slight dip from Jinger's episode. 

Clearly, it's not a good sign that people are becoming less interested in Duggar weddings, especially since they were once big money makers. Either way, it might be a good idea for the cast of Counting On to spice things up. A curveball could be beneficial for ratings. 

Jim Bob and Jinger Duggar are estranged

One of the more upsetting rumors to surface about Counting On is that Jim Bob and Jinger are on the outs. The reason for this supposed estrangement is that Jim Bob doesn't like Jinger's husband, Jeremy Vuolo. Apparently, Jim Bob thinks Vuolo is encouraging Jinger to ditch her conservative upbringing — including the Duggar family's strict dress code. Another issue is that Jim Bob doesn't agree with Vuolo's different religious beliefs, and he has allowed these disagreements to fester. "He's allowed a division in the family to occur," a source said about Jim Bob's take on the situation, according to The Hollywood Gossip

Sadly, people think Jim Bob has taken out his frustrations with Vuolo on Jinger. The theory hinges on the rumor that Jim Bob supposedly didn't attend Jinger's gender reveal party in April 2018. The truth, however, is that Jim Bob did attend the event. The only thing worth noting is that Jim Bob and Michelle didn't post the party pics to their social media channels. So, perhaps there is a nugget of truth to this estrangement. 

TLC pays for the family's trips

Throughout the years, the cast of Counting On has enjoyed a large number of trips.  From family vacations to Texas to excursions in Central America, it seems like the family is always on the go. And one has to wonder, who pays for these trips? The reality stars aren't billionaires, after all. As it turns out, many people suspect that TLC foots the bill for the family's getaways. 

The gossip reached a fever pitch in May 2018 when Jinger and Vuolo booked a babymoon at The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Resort in South Carolina. As for how much the mini-vacay cost, the hotel's website states the babymoon's package runs $450 per person a night, and that a two-night stay is required. If Jinger and Vuolo stayed at the resort for the weekend, that means they spent a whopping $1,800 on the vacation. 

But before you assume that Jinger and Vuolo shelled out the dough for the trip, think again. "Thanks to the generosity of dear friends, [Jinger] and I enjoyed some time away to relax before our little girl arrives," Vuolo said about the luxury trip, according to Instagram. Unsurprisingly, many fans questioned whether Vuolo and Jinger's friends would be willing to pay that hefty price for a getaway. Whatever happened to your average baby shower? "Their 'friend' is probably TLC," one fan theorized on Reddit. Compelling theory.