James Robert "Jim Bob" Duggar (born July 18, 1965) is the patriarch of the Duggar family. He is the husband of Michelle Duggar, with whom he has 19 biological children, 1 adopted child, and 23 grandchildren, with 2 grandsons on the way.
The Duggars did not have a lot of money, and in one of the books Jim Bob wrote as an adult, he mentioned a time where his mother had to cook decorative rice because it was the only food in the house. Jim Bob often blames this on his father being unable to handle money. In the book Growing Up Duggar, which Jim Bob's daughters wrote, they mention that Jimmy was not a good "spiritual leader of the home", a statement they don't expand on.
Jim Bob graduated from Shiloh Christian High school in May 1983.
Relationship with Michelle
When Jim Bob was about seventeen years old, he was going door to door visiting families who had visited their church when a friend, Fred Pearrow, suggested that they visit a cheerleader friend of his who had recently been saved. The friend was named Michelle Ruark. The boys invited her to Sunday School and talked to her about recent conversion. When Jim Bob left her house, he prayed at the doorway "Lord, I would love to be her spiritual leader. Can she be mine?".
A year later, when Jim Bob was a senior in high school, Michelle applied to work at a yogurt shop where Jim Bob's mother was a manager. He told his mother to hire her. He came in to fix the cash register one day and invited Michelle to the junior/senior banquet at his high school, and she agreed. After the banquet, Jim Bob and Michelle went back to Michelle's house and discussed the Bible for four hours and began dating.
On Christmas Eve 1983, Jim Bob proposed in Michelle's parents' living room and she said yes.
On July 21, 1984, Jim Bob married Michelle Annette Ruark at Cross Church in Rogers, Arkansas. Since the church was under construction, the couple was married in a hallway leading to a gymnasium. Michelle wore the wedding dress that was originally worn by Jim Bob's mother, Mary. There were about two hundred guests at the wedding. The wedding colors were pastel shades of yellow, pink, green, and blue. The wedding only had fake flowers, which the couple then used to decorate their home. There is no video recording of the wedding, but there is an audio recording on a cassette tape. "Everything we did for our wedding was so inexpensive, but perfect for us," Michelle said in an interview in 2014. "We wanted to spend our money on our honeymoon, which was our first time to be alone together.".
The couple went to a cabin in Mount Nebo and Lake Fort Smith, Arkansas, for their honeymoon. They were unhappy with the cabin, however, and cut their trip short so they could begin working on fixing up their new home.
On March 3, 1988, Jim Bob and Michelle welcomed their first child, Joshua James, to the world. After giving birth to Josh, Michelle went back on birth control. When Michelle suffered a miscarriage in January 1989, the couple consulted with a Christian doctor who told them that the pill can cause miscarriages. The couple was heartbroken and decided to no longer use birth control. They named the miscarried child Caleb Ryan.
On January 12, 1990, Michelle gave birth to a set of twins, Jana Marie and John-David. Feeling God was blessing them for making the right decision, the couple determined to leave the number of children they had up to God.
Jim Bob and Michelle went on to have sixteen more children: Jill Michelle was born on May 17, 1991, Jessa Lauren was born on November 4, 1992, Jinger Nicole was born on December 21, 1993, Joseph Garrett was born on January 20, 1995, Josiah Matthew was born on August 28, 1996, Joy-Anna was born on October 28, 1997, twins Jedidiah Robert and Jeremiah Robert were born on December 30, 1998, Jason Michael was born on April 21, 2000, James Andrew was born on July 7, 2001, Justin Samuel was born on November 15, 2002, Jackson Levi was born on May 23, 2004, Johannah Faith was born on October 11, 2005, Jennifer Danielle was born on August 2, 2007, Jordyn-Grace Makiya was born on December 18, 2008, and Josie Brooklyn was born 3 months prematurely on December 10, 2009.
On November 8, 2011, Jim Bob and Michelle announced that they were expecting their twentieth child. The couple said they had expected Josie to be their last, but were excited for another child. "Michelle and I both feel like some of the most blessed parents in the world. Our children are so sweet. We are so grateful to God," Jim Bob said of the pregnancy.
On December 8, 2011, the couple announced that they had miscarried their child. After a routine check-up, the doctor was unable to find a heartbeat, which meant they suffered a miscarriage. The family was heartbroken and said they would give the infant a name and a funeral once knowing the gender.
On December 11, 2011, Michelle naturally delivered their stillborn child, a girl. She weighed 4 ounces and was 2.4 inches long. On December 12, 2011, the couple set a date for the funeral and announced that they had decided on the name Jubilee Shalom, which means "joyful celebration of peace".
On December 14, 2011, the Duggar family held a funeral for Jubilee, which was held in Springdale, Arkansas, and was attended by hundreds of people. "I really believe that God sees the bigger picture. I hope that her short life can encourage other people who have gone through things like this. It was very healing, and we have precious memories," Jim Bob said about the event. The funeral, which aired on the family's television show, was the subject of some controversy after it was discovered the Duggars displayed photos of the stillborn child at the event.
On August 31, 2016, Jim Bob and Michelle were granted temporary custody of their great-nephew Tyler Hutchins. On November 21, 2016, they were appointed as his permanent legal guardians. Jim Bob and Michelle consider Tyler as their 20th child, even though they have not legally adopted him.
On September 26, 2008, his oldest son Joshua married Anna Keller in Hilliard, Florida. Together, they have 7 children. Their first child, daughter Mackynzie Renée, was born on October 8, 2009. Their second child, son Michael James, was born on June 15, 2011. Their third child, son Marcus Anthony, was born on June 2, 2013. Their fourth child, daughter Meredith Grace, was born on July 16, 2015. Their fifth child, son Mason Garrett, was born on September 12, 2017. Their sixth child, daughter Maryella Hope, was born on November 27, 2019. Their seventh child, daughter Madyson Lily, was born on October 23. 2021. The couple suffered a miscarriage in 2010. Notably, Jim Bob and Michelle's oldest grandchild, Mackynzie, is two months older than their youngest child, Josie.
On November 3, 2018, his son John-David married Abbie Burnett in Ada, Oklahoma. Together, they have 1 child. Their first child, daughter Grace Annette, was born on January 7, 2020. They are expecting their second child, son Baby Boy Duggar-Burnett, due late Summer 2022.
On June 21, 2014, his daughter Jill married Derick Dillard in Rogers, Arkansas. Together, they have 2 children. Their first child, son Israel David, was born on April 6, 2015. Their second child, son Samuel Scott, was born on July 8, 2017. They are expecting their third child, son Baby Boy Dillard, due July 2022. The couple miscarried a child, River Bliss, in October 2021.
On November 1, 2014, his daughter Jessa married Ben Seewald in Bentonville, Arkansas. Together, they have 4 children. Their first child, son Spurgeon Elliot, was born on November 5, 2015. Their second child, son Henry Wilberforce, was born on February 6, 2017. Their third child, daughter Ivy Jane, was born on May 26, 2019. Their fourth child, daughter Fern Elliana, was born on July 18, 2021. The couple suffered a miscarriage in 2020.
On November 5, 2016, his daughter Jinger married Jeremy Vuolo in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. Together, they have 2 children. Their first child, daughter Felicity Nicole, was born on July 19, 2018. Their second child, Evangeline Jo, was born on November 22, 2020. The couple miscarried a child, Halleli Grace, on November 26, 2019.
On September 8, 2017, his son Joseph married Kendra Caldwell in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. Together, they have 3 children. Their first child, son Garrett David, was born on June 8, 2018. Their second child, daughter Addison Renee, was born on November 2, 2019. Their third child, daughter Brooklyn Praise, was born on February 19, 2021.
On June 30, 2018, his son Josiah married Lauren Swanson in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. Together, they have 1 child. Their first child, daughter Bella Milagro, was born on November 8, 2019. The couple miscarried a child, Asa, on October 4, 2018.
On May 26, 2017, his daughter Joy-Anna married Austin Forsyth in Rogers, Arkansas. Together, they have 2 children. Their first child, son Gideon Martyn, was born on February 23, 2018. Their second child, daughter Evelyn Mae, was born on August 21, 2020. The couple miscarried a daughter, Annabell Elise, on June 26, 2019.
Jim Bob is a licensed real estate agent, alongside his wife Michelle and two of his sons, Joseph and Jeremiah. In their early years of marriage, both Jim Bob and Michelle worked in real estate, which they were reportedly successful at. They also invested in a number of commercial properties.
From January 11, 1999 to January 13, 2003, Jim Bob represented District 6 in the Arkansas State House of Representatives. He was Vice Chair of the House Corrections and Criminal Law Subcommittee. He participated in the House Insurance and Commerce Committee and the House Judiciary Committee.
In 2002, Jim Bob ran unsuccessfully in the Republican primary election for United States Senate. He was defeated by the incumbent Senator Tim Hutchinson by a vote of 71,576 to 20,546.
On March 28, 2006, Jim Bob announced that he was running for the Republican nomination for Arkansas State Senate District 35. He lost to opponent Bill Pritchard by a vote of 2,019 to 1,803.
On October 29, 2021, Jim Bob announced on Facebook that he was running for the Republican nomination for Arkansas State Senate District 7. He came in third place with 456 votes.
On December 2, 2008, Jim Bob and Michelle's first book, The Duggars: 20 and Counting!, was released.
On June 7, 2011, Jim Bob and Michelle's second book, A Love That Multiplies, was released.
In 1995, the "quiverfull" movement formed. It was a conservative Protestant group that is notably against birth control, looking to produce as many children as possible for God. The group's name comes from Psalm 127:
"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one's youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them."
Although it is unknown exactly when the family joined this movement, when they created their first family website in 2005, a link to quiverfull.com was included under the heading "links to articles about the family". The link was to an article posted in 2001, which discussed the family's involvement in the movement.