‘Counting On’: Jill and Derick Dillard Reveal That Their Initial On-Camera ‘Goodbye’ in Nepal Was Fake

After Jill Duggar Dillard, 29, married her husband Derick Dillard, 31, in 2014, the couple – now parents of two – surprised fans of TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting and Counting On by becoming the first members of the Duggar family to rebel.

Jill and Derick spoke out against some of the rules set by Jill’s parents, Jim-Bob and Michelle Duggar, and their treatment during their time on TLC. From sending their older son to public school and drinking alcohol on occasion to even using birth control, they made it clear that they planned to make their own way in life rather than adhering to the usual Duggar guidelines.

Eventually, the couple left the world of reality TV behind. They’re currently estranged from most of the Duggar family as a result. In a recent YouTube Q&A session, the former Counting On stars revealed that one aspect of their courtship, which played out on 19 Kids and Counting, was faked for the cameras.

Jill Duggar Dillard and Derick Dillard
Jill Duggar Dillard and Derick Dillard | D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Extra

Jill and Derick revealed that Thanksgiving was especially important to them

In their new YouTube video, Derick and Jill answered fans’ questions about their courtship, their Thanksgiving plans, and more.

The couple, who are currently raising sons Israel and Samuel, explained that Thanksgiving was a very special day for them – not only because of family togetherness, but because it was the first holiday they ever celebrated together as a couple.

Jill first visited Derick in Nepal, where he was doing mission work at the time, in 2013. After spending plenty of quality time getting to know each other, they cooked a Thanksgiving feast together. They’ve always remembered that as a special time in their lives and their relationship, so they make sure to put an emphasis on the holiday each year.

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The former TLC stars revealed that their segment on the show was misleading

But, the former Counting On stars pointed out, that might not be how 19 Kids and Counting fans remembered their courtship. TLC filmed what looked like Jill and Derick’s final goodbye (before Jill returned to the U.S.) during that first trip – and their first Thanksgiving together wasn’t shown.

Derick explained, “Once all the filming was done and we recorded our ‘goodbye,’ [Jill] stayed another week, and we had Thanksgiving together.” Jill cut in to explain that many 19 Kids and Counting fans probably didn’t even know that, unless they read their Dillard family blog and figured it out.

The final farewell that aired on 19 Kids and Counting, Derick revealed, wasn’t “final” at all. In fact, Jill just turned right back around in a taxi after they said goodbye for the benefit of the cameras. Spending the next week together without any cameras or crew members around, they explained, was especially meaningful for them. This was when they truly grew closer as a pair.

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The couple admitted there were probably ‘misconceptions’ about their courtship

This isn’t the first time that Jill and Derick have pushed back against the narrative about them that was presented on the Duggars’ reality shows. In the same Q&A session, Jill argued that misconceptions about their courtship were probably common among viewers.

The former Counting On star and mom of two felt her courtship with Derick was “definitely a little bit more played up for the show,” especially because she was the first Duggar daughter to court. In real life, she didn’t think things were “as weird” and sensationalized as they might have appeared on TV.

For example, while the show might have made it seem as though Derick and Jill had never spoken to each other one-one-one before getting married, that wasn’t true at all. The couple revealed that Jim-Bob and Michelle weren’t listening in on, or even home during, their first two video chats, which were five and six hours apiece.

Derick and Jill explained further that they set their own dating standards and rules when it came to touching, kissing, and sex. While they were “highly encouraged” by their parents to do so, the couple said they likely would have set those boundaries anyway.

“We weren’t given rules like, ‘Here’s what you can and can’t do,’” Derick said. “We set those ourselves.”

The former Counting On stars also revealed that they didn’t call regularly call their relationship a “courtship.” Instead, in private, they preferred to refer to their style of dating as “dating with a purpose.” This simply meant that they were dating with the purpose of heading toward engagement and marriage, rather than just having a fling for fun with no end goal in mind.