Jill Duggar Dillard is shedding light on the state of her relationships with her family.
The former “19 Kids and Counting” star, who recently released her bombshell memoir “Counting the Cost” with husband Derick Dillard, exclusively told Access Hollywood about how “complicated” things are between her and her parents amid the fallout from their reality TV experience and Josh Duggar’s child pornography conviction and imprisonment.
“I saw my mom at a birthday celebration for one of my sisters,” Jill said of when she saw Michelle last. “She’s always good about bringing birthday gifts over, Christmas gifts, things like that, but it is very complicated.”
Jill suggested that her interactions with her dad are much less frequent.
“With my dad, we mostly see him at weddings, funerals, and then sometimes a few other events here and there. But yeah, it’s complicated. We try to not involve my mom in too much of it.”
“We really don’t have a whole lot of conversations at this point in our relationship with my family about the whole family drama situation, because we feel like we have kind of just had to make our own decisions and realize that you can’t change people,” she continued. “They have to like make those decisions for themselves, which is hard sometimes … When there’s a moment that we can spend together and have family time and it’s healthy for us, or we’re in a good place, we try to do that. And then other times, I just feel like I’m not there and not able to do that, so we have to draw that boundary.”
“One thing that helped us was something our therapist taught us, which was, you have to be OK with other people not being OK,” Derick added. “So I think we had to get to that point where we’re not going to convince other people, we can’t change other people. We just have to be OK with that.”
While her relationship with her parents has gotten complicated, she’s gotten closer with her younger sister Jinger Duggar, who recently wrote her own memoir, “Becoming Free Indeed: My Story of Disentangling Faith from Fear.”
“I like how my sister Jinger talked about it – how she said ‘disentangle your faith’ – so kind of like sorting out what you believe and what things look like versus what you’ve been taught,” Jill told Access of her journey with her faith as an adult. “I felt like that was a really helpful illustration also in this whole thing, in this whole process … Jinger and I definitely have gotten closer through this process.”
On Tuesday, Jill released “Counting the Cost” – which shares “the unedited truth about the Duggars” and reveals “secrets, manipulation, and intimidation behind the show that remained hidden from their fans,” per Simon & Schuster.
“Thanks to time, tears, therapy, and blessings from God, they have the strength to share their journey,” the publisher shared. “Theirs is a remarkable story of the power of the truth and is a moving example of how to find healing through honesty.”
Jill told Access that she didn’t write the book to criticize her family, but rather to inspire others.
“It’s not me trying to change my family or as a part of the reconciliation process. I’m not just bashing my family. I love my family,” she said. “I think that’s another reason why it’s taken us so long to write this book – one, because we’ve been living our story, but two, also because I love my family, and I really care about them. It carried a lot of weight for me to be able to just even put these words into a book, and I wanted to do it accurately and carefully.”
“I know it isn’t guaranteed to be well received, but I think we’re playing the long game here and really just hoping for better relationships in the future,” she continued. “Hopefully, people will find encouragement in their own stories, just by knowing they’re not alone and helping them find their voice, maybe.”
“Counting the Cost” is available now wherever books are sold.