The Duggars: 10 Moments That Were Actually Real And 5 That Were Staged

Most people tend to understand that reality TV shows are not 100% or even, for the most part, 50% true. Most of reality TV shows are staged because, let's face it, if reality television was real it would be pretty boring. So, instead, things are carefully staged and minimal roles are cast on the fly. The new-ish yet very exciting show, 19 Kids and Counting is no exception to the rule of reality TV. The Duggar family is most definitely not an exception to the reality TV world.

Many parts of the show are staged to look real and to spice up the show to make it more entertaining for the viewers. The show follows a very large family with strong religious values and documents their lives, including the children who have grown up and have married into other families. Although there have been a few scandals related to the show, 19 Kids and Counting still remains fairly popular on TLC. However, despite all of the staged moments on the show, the Duggar family definitely has had way more than their fair share of real, gritty moments throughout the series that started off in the year of 2008.

Continue scrolling to keep reading

Click the button below to start this article in quick view

Start Now

15 The Role Of "The Guy That Wants To Buy A Car" (Fake)


Jinger Duggar is easily a favorite part of the cast of 19 Kids and Counting. She is cute, quirky, and a perfect addition to the family. There is one episode that aired in 2016 called "Jinger Flips" where the young star fixes and sells a car.

According to InTouch Weekly, the man who bought the car was actually hired!

The man admitted to Facebook that, "A friend of mine works on the crew and invited me to play the role of 'guy who wants to buy a car.'"

Basically, the entire episode was staged. The Duggar children don't have much of a buy schedule besides their family life, so the show had to "create" hobbies for the kids. They decided in this episode that Jinger was going to take an interest in cars like her brothers, but it is reported that she didn't have anything to do with the car.

14 Barely Any Privacy For Any Of The Duggar Kids... Even Off Camera! (True)


It's no secret that this family attempts to lead a Christian lifestyle, which is their choice. However, because of their intense dedication to their faith, the children are barely given any freedom or privacy, even when the cameras aren't rolling! InTouch Weekly says, the children's phone calls are listened in on and all phones and computers are subjected to mandatory checks by the parents. On the show, viewers can see how all of the children are very micromanaged and have become very dependent on one another because of this lack of privacy. I can't imagine how frustrating this must be for the kids of the Duggar parents! One would think that the parents would end up raising more rebellious children due to the lack of trust and privacy for the kids, but for the most part, they all seem fairly well adjusted.

13 $3,000 Budget A Month For The Family's Food (True)

InTouch Weekly

I'm sure no one is shocked to know this! Having and raising 19 kids also means feeding 19 kids! It was once said on the show that Michelle Duggar attempts to have a $5 budget per day for each kid, which equals out to about $95 for all the kids every single day.

That means a total is $2,850 per month and that's not including the parents!

Thank goodness for bulk grocery stores or shopping for the large family would be a lot more difficult! The family has complained a few times on the show about how much money they have to spend on food, but in the end, it's no one's fault but the parents. After all, it was Jim Bob and Michelle who decided to have so many children.

12 The Extended "Crew Family" (True)


When you know a family well and are close to them for over five years, it's like you become part of the family. The filming crew of the show 19 Kids and Counting experienced this first hand. The crew was with the family for roughly seven years and eventually became part of the family according to fame10.com. On the Duggars' blog, they have stated that even off camera the crew would help with things such as taking out the garbage, watching kids, or even helping with dinner! Needless to say, the two parents probably felt blessed to have so many other adults around to help them out with their large family, as it would be a big job for a few adults, let alone two! It's nice to know that the crew is concerned with the well-being of the family and truly cares about them and aren't just in it for the paycheck.

11 Giving Food To Charity On Camera (Fake *Gasp!*)


Pretending to give food to charity then taking it back once the cameras shut off is just downright scandalous and not very community-oriented at all!

Unfortunately, the Duggars were caught doing this exact thing according to InTouch Weekly.

A big element of the show is the family putting on a nice face for the cameras and doing their best to be good Christians and role models while on film. According to a few insiders, however, off-screen, they're not as great as they appear to be on TV. It's understandable that the family can't donate food due to the fact that they're already spending $3,000 on themselves just to be able to eat, but it's just wrong and misleading to pretend to donate food then take it all back after!

10 It Takes 200 Tries For A Good Family Photo (True)


Taking a family photo is not an easy task even if you're only a small family of three or four. You have to keep everyone still, the younger ones entertained and smiling, and, most importantly, everyone has to be looking at the camera. Taking the PERFECT family photo with 19 kids is next to impossible! ET! Online says that the photographer admitted to InTouch Weekly that every picture can take up to 200 or more tries for a single perfect photo! The hours spent taking the pictures must be exhausting. One would almost think it would be better to just photo-shop everyone in and be done with it. Certainly, the kids must be too tired to even think about filming after having to stand, pose, and smile for so many tries. They probably try for at least a couple hours!

9 The Political Campaign Prejudices (True)


Before starting the show and becoming a real estate agent, Jim Bob Duggar was a Republican member of the Arkansas Republican House of Representatives. During his career, he sponsored anti-abortion bills, he is also anti-birth control and is anti-LGBT+ according to many sites including, Romper.

Some people say that Duggar did more good than bad during his time in office, while others claim he did more bad than good.

It all depends on which side you stand on politically at the end of the day and what kind of principles you have. At least he did something that he believed was right while in the office, and whether you agree with his prejudices or not, he's still done his part to make a stand for his political beliefs.

8 The Engagement Wasn't A Surprise After All (Fake)


Getting engaged is such a wonderful time! The fact that someone is willing to spend the rest of their life with you is enough to make any die-hard-romantic swoon. The best part, in my opinion, is probably the surprise of your significant other getting down on one knee and pulling out that ring; the idea of it all is completely dreamy. It's too bad that Jinger Duggars and Jeremy Vuolo's engagement was completely planned, according to Daily Mail. It is really unfortunate that Jinger couldn't have her special moment with Jeremy, and Jeremy didn't get the chance to surprise the love of his life. In the end, they got to share their special moment with the world, and at least they'll have great footage to remember it all.

7 The Wild RV Road Trip (True)


Who could forget the episode when the whole family piled into an RV and went on a trip? Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar must have felt very brave to even attempt such a trip.

Most parents wouldn’t have dared to take an RV trip with only three kids, let alone 19!

The episode didn’t leave us disappointed either, in fact, we could say it was almost as entertaining as the movie, RV, starring Robin Williams. This idea was 100% Jim Bob Duggar’s, and he seemed quite pleased with the overall result with the kids and the trip. The kids also seemed to enjoy their time in the super-sized RV with their entire family. The real question is, will the Duggar parents ever attempt another trip like this again?

6 Husbands And Fathers Choose What The Girls Can Wear (True)


It was mentioned before that the kids get very limited privacy when it comes to the Duggar parents. Well, the girls get even less than no privacy; they get limited wardrobe options and the parents are very open about this. Until they are married, the girls in the family are only to wear long skirts and dresses. There's been some controversy around this as the younger girls even have to wear dresses or skirts while riding bikes which can cause wardrobe malfunctions. After the girls do get married, it is up to the husbands to decide if the young women can wear pants. So far, the husbands introduced to the family have been chill and let the girls wear what they want, but many viewers have expressed that it's the 21st century and women should be able to wear whatever they want.

5 Michelle's "Baby Voice" (Fake)


Michelle Duggar has created almost a kind of brand for herself with her "baby voice". When she speaks it is very childlike and soft, however, this voice is actually a facade. Mrs. Duggar is on record admitting that she has anger issues, which is why the baby voice comes in handy; the voice makes her seem more innocent that she is.

According to the crew of the show, she has a very normal voice, but her baby voice only comes back when the cameras are rolling or if she starts to get upset with the children.

Apparently, Michelle Duggar told Radar Online that she learned this trick from a "wisdom book", and uses it to obey her religious views better, as she believes women are to be submissive and kind.

4 The Tortilla Hat Incident (True)


The classic tortilla hat scandal really did happen, but it was also blown way out of proportion. When Jill and Derick Dillard took their family out for a trip to the farm, the two young parents forgot a sun hat for baby Samuel. Being newer parents, however, it's an easy thing to forget to pack. In the end, the parents used a soft tortilla shell as a hat to protect the young boy's head from the sun. It's definitely not ideal, but at least they covered their son's head with something to protect it from the sun. Babies need proper protection from UV rays or they could end up with health issues, and although a tortilla is definitely not a hat, at least they tried. In the future, the parents most probably will never forget a hat again.

3 Jill Duggar's Wedding And Ceremony (Fake)

Duggar Family Blog

Jill Duggar's wedding didn't go off as effortlessly as it appeared on the very popular TV episode of 19 Kids and Counting. They ended up re-shooting some scenes up to 20 times.

According to InTouch Weekly, the exiting of the church was re-shot 4 times because Josh Duggar kept getting in the way.

It just goes to show that even with a live audience, it doesn't mean the show is actually live or real. The audience must have been exhausted after all of those retakes, having to pretend over and over like it was the first time they saw whatever was happening. A good chunk of brides often say they wish their special day would last forever, but I bet Jill Dillard wished she could have just celebrated a normal wedding.

2 Therapy To Save The Marriage (True)


After the scandal, InTouch Weekly reported that Josh and Anna Duggar went into marriage counseling, which isn't much of a surprise. For Anna to have had to cope with such heavy baggage from her husband is beyond crazy. Although I won't get into the details of Josh Duggar's past,  it's definitely tragic and very difficult for not only Josh and Anna but the rest of the family as well. While there has been a large outrage with how relaxed the Duggars are handling the incident, Anna and Josh Duggar are trying very hard to make it work, but in the end, they may end up splitting up due to the recent uncovering of his name on the dating site, Ashley Madison, as reported by ScreenRant. One thing is for sure, Anna Duggar has gone through more than any woman should ever have to go through.

1 The Duggars Are Pro-Life... Among Other Things (True)


From the show, viewers got a sense that this conservative, right-wing family is pro-life as well as pro-gun. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but this picture of the kids at the gun show raised public controversy throughout the media. Due to the recent events involving these weapons in the US, it's easy to say that not everyone is on board with America's gun laws, nor would they all agree that exposing their family to such powerful and dangerous machinery is okay.

A lot of viewers have critiqued the Duggars' parenting methods and questioned whether or not they are actually ethical.

To each their own. One thing is for sure, their show 19 Kids and Counting didn't experience a shortage of drama!

References: etonline.com, screenrant.com, fame10.com, intouchweekly.com, duggarfamilyblog.com, romper.com, dailymail.co.uk, duggarfamilyblog.com, radaronline.com

More in Entertainment