She is the wife of Jim Bob Duggar and the mother of their 19 children, Josh, Jana, John-David, Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joseph, Josiah, Joy-Anna, Jedidiah, Jeremiah, Jason, James, Justin, Jackson, Johannah, Jennifer, Jordyn-Grace, and Josie.
Michelle and her family are conservative Christians.
Michelle attended Westwood Elementary School in Springdale, Arkansas. She attended Springdale High School and was a cheerleader. During this time, she struggled with self-worth and was bulimic. She graduated in 1984.
Michelle became a Christian while in high school. It was through her faith that she would come to meet Jim Bob Duggar. He and a friend were on church visitation. They tried to visit a few people, but no one was home, so the friend suggested that they visit Michelle, who had recently become a Christian. While Jim Bob claims it was love at first sight, Michelle does not remember this encounter.
The first time Michelle remembers meeting her now-husband was the next year. She applied for a job at a local yogurt shop that Jim Bob's mother happened to be managing. She was hired at Jim Bob's encouragement and shortly thereafter he asked her out on a date, to which she said yes.
The couple quickly fell in love, with Michelle claiming that she knew Jim Bob was the one by the end of their first date. "Father, I can't imagine anyone better than this that you have planned for me. He's such a godly man," she prayed after their first date.
On Christmas Eve of 1983, Jim Bob proposed in Michelle's parents' living room and she said yes.
On July 21, 1984, Michelle married Jim Bob Duggar at Cross Church in Rogers, Arkansas. The wedding was attended by around 200 people and was done on a budget. Michelle made her own bouquet using fake flowers, and one of her sisters made a floral arrangement for the altar. Michelle also made her own cake, which was decorated by a friend. Furthermore, she did not buy a wedding dress, opting to wear Jim Bob's mother Mary's dress. The wedding ceremony was recorded on cassette.
For their honeymoon, Michelle and Jim Bob originally planned to stay at a cabin in a state park, but the reality ended up being very different from the brochure, so they went into town and stayed at a hotel in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Afterwards, they visited Mount Nebo, where they spent a few nights.
After the honeymoon, Michelle moved in with Jim Bob. They lived in a 900 square foot fixer upper.
For the first few years of her marriage, Michelle was on the birth control pill. She then gave birth to a son Joshua James, on March 3, 1988.
After having their first child, Michelle went back on the birth control pill. While on it, she became pregnant with another child. This pregnancy ended in miscarriage in 1989, and a doctor told them it was caused by the pill. They named the baby Caleb Ryan despite not knowing the gender. Because of this incident, Michelle and Jim Bob decided to trust their fertility entirely to God and stopped using any birth control.
On January 12, 1990, Michelle gave birth to twins Jana Marie and John-David. Feeling that this was God blessing their decision to go off birth control, the couple 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, Michelle and Jim Bob 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 that they suffered from 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 the stillborn child. 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.
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 September 26, 2008, her oldest son, Josh, married Anna Keller in Hilliard, Florida. The couple has six children, Mackynzie Renée, who was born on October 8, 2009, Michael James, who was born on June 15, 2011, Marcus Anthony, who was born on June 2, 2013, Meredith Grace, who was born on July 16, 2015, Mason Garrett, who was born on September 12, 2017, and Maryella Hope, who was born on November 27, 2019. Notably, Jim Bob and Michelle's oldest grandchild, Mackynzie, is two months older than her youngest child, Josie. The couple suffered a miscarriage in 2010.
On June 21, 2014, her daughter Jill married Derick Dillard in Rogers, Arkansas. The couple has two children, Israel David, who was born on April 6, 2015 and Samuel Scott, who was born on July 8, 2017.
On November 1, 2014, her daughter Jessa married Ben Seewald in Bentonville, Arkansas. The couple has three children, Spurgeon Elliot, who was born on November 5, 2015, Henry Wilberforce, who was born on February 6, 2017, and Ivy Jane, who was born on May 26, 2019. They are currently expecting their fourth child, due in Summer 2021. They suffered a miscarriage in 2020.
On November 5, 2016, her daughter Jinger married Jeremy Vuolo in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. The couple has two daughters, Felicity Nicole, who was born on July 19, 2018 and Evangeline Jo, who was born on November 22, 2020. They miscarried a child in November 2019.
On September 8, 2017, her son Joseph married Kendra Caldwell in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. The couple has three children, Garrett David, who was born on June 8, 2018, Addison Renee, who was born on November 2, 2019, and Brooklyn Praise, who was born on February 19, 2021.
On June 30, 2018, her son Josiah married Lauren Swanson in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. The couple has one child, Bella Milagro, who was born on November 8, 2019. They miscarried a child, Asa, in October 2018.
On May 26, 2017, her daughter Joy-Anna married Austin Forsyth in Rogers, Arkansas. The couple has two children, Gideon Martyn, who was born on February 23, 2018, and Evelyn Mae, who was born on August 21, 2020. They miscarried a daughter, Annabell Elise, in June 2019.
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.