Jana Duggar Biography
Jana Marie Duggar is an American television personality best known for her role in the hit reality TV show 19 Kids and Counting from 2008 to 2015, and its follow-up Counting On from 2015 to 2021, both on TLC. Aside from reality TV, Jana Duggar has also co-authored a book entitled Growing Up Duggar: It’s All About Relationships alongside her sisters Jill, Jessa, and Jinger. After the cancellation of the show Counting On, Jana has focused on her career as a home remodeler.
Jana Marie Duggar was born on January 12, 1990, in Tontitown, Arkansas. She is the second child and first daughter of James Robert “Jim Bob” Duggar and Michelle Annette Duggar (née Ruark). She was followed soon after by her fraternal twin brother, John-David Duggar. They have one older brother, Joshua James Duggar, and incredibly, would go on to have sixteen more siblings. Listed from oldest to youngest are; Jill Michelle, Jessa Lauren, Jinger Nicole, Joseph Garnett, Josiah Matthew, Joy-Anna, the twins Jedidiah and Jeremiah Robert, Jason Michael, James Andrew, Jusitn Samuel, Jackson Levi, Johannah Faith, Jennifer Danielle, Jordyn-Grace Makiya, and Josie Brooklyn. In addition to all this, they also have a legal step-brother named Tyler Wayne Hutchins, who is the great-nephew of their mother Michelle.
Jana Marie Duggar is currently unmarried, making her the oldest child in the Duggar family to be so. However, she has many nephews and nieces courtesy of her other siblings. Her older brother Josh is currently married to Anna Renée Keller, and they have six children, with a seventh one on the way.
Jill is married to Derick Michael Dillard, and they have two sons. Jessa married Benjamin Michael “Ben” Seewald, and has four children. Jinger married Jeremy Joseph Vuolo, and have two daughters.
Joy married Austin Martyn Forsyth, and they have one son and one daughter. Joseph married Kendra Renée Caldwell, and they have three children. Josiah and his wife Lauren Milagro Swanson have one child, and her twin brother John-David recently married Abbie Grace Burnett, and have one child together.
Meanwhile, Jedidiah married Katelyn Koryn Nakatsu last April, and are now expecting their first child due in April 2022. This brings the third generation of Duggars at a whopping twenty-one, with two more on the way. Additionally, Justin has married Claire Yvonne Spivey, although they are not expecting a child yet.
Jana Marie Duggar grew up as a bit of a tomboy during her childhood, known to be more outgoing than her siblings, especially her younger sisters.
Like her other siblings closer to her age, especially among the girls, she was tasked with helping her younger siblings with their school work. Some people close with the Duggar family have described the older sisters, including Jana, to be like “secondary moms” in the household.
This was especially evident in Jana’s case, due to her special chore being the head planner and preparer of meals. Eventually, the large brood of siblings would be divided into “buddy teams” headed by each of the four eldest daughters, with the purpose of helping bathe and raise their much younger siblings.
Jana Marie Duggar began her life in the public eye upon her and the rest of her family is featured in the 2004 documentary 14 Children and Pregnant Again on the Discovery Health Channel. A second Discovery Health Channel documentary, Raising 16 Children was aired in 2006 following the birth of Johannah. This was followed by a third documentary, On the Road with 16 Children which focused on them having a cross-country road trip.
On September 29, 2008, the then-titled 17 Kids and Counting was first aired on TLC, which focused on the daily lives of the Duggar family, who are also devout Baptists, which often factors into the messages they’d like to tell on their show, often touting traditional, conservative values.
Jim Bob and Michelle explain that a large number of children is due to the fact that they avoid birth control, and have allowed God to decide how many children they will ultimately have. On the ninth episode of the second season, aired on March 3, 2009, the show was renamed 18 Kids and Counting to account for the birth of Jordyn-Grace, and starting with the fourth season of the show in 2010, was finally named 19 Kids and Counting following the birth of Josie Brooklyn Duggar.
The show has garnered significant controversy and criticism over the years, mainly due to the parenting methods of Jim Bob and Michelle that many believe to be outdated, if not outright harmful to the children.
Firstly, all nineteen children have been homeschooled, which has become a cause for concern for many parent groups, due to none of them having access to formal, standardized education. Additionally, their access to entertainment media such as movies, television, and video games, has been severely limited to the children, raising the question of whether or not they are receiving the proper perspectives and stimuli beneficial to children growing more aware of the world.
Perhaps the most controversial practice that Jim Bob and Michelle advocate for is the so-called “blanket time” wherein an infant or toddler is forced to remain within a blanket area with selected toys for a limited period of time, and any attempts by the child to leave the blanket area are met with corporal punishment with a ruler. While proponents of this claim that the practice builds self-control within the child, others have denounced it as a form of child abuse.
Another controversial practice that the Duggar family partakes in is chaperoned courtship, wherein a couple only becomes acquainted in a group setting. This has been criticized by numerous teen development psychologists as damaging to a youth’s sense of independence, however, Jim Bob and Michelle insist that it is in the name of upholding their Baptist beliefs of purity, modesty, and chastity.
The Duggar family has also received criticism due to their stances on multiple LGBT issues. In 2014, Michelle Duggar made a political robocall denouncing the impending legislation in Fayetteville City that would grant the right for transgender people to enter the restrooms of the genders they identify with. Michelle’s comments were described as transphobic.
Also in 2014, the eldest son, Josh Duggar, made comments described as homophobic, stating “I truly believe every child deserves a mother and father”, and on the Duggar Family Facebook page, when they asked married couples to post pictures of themselves kissing, they have promptly deleted all pictures of same-sex couples.
Despite all this controversy, however, 19 Kids and Counting remained to be TLC’s most popular show, averaging over 2.3 million viewers per episode, and on its tenth season, was in the Nielsen Cable Top 25.
Ultimately, however, the show would come to an untimely end in 2015, following the reveal of a police report from 2006 stating several molestation charges against Jana’s eldest brother, Josh. The report claimed that Josh had molested a total of five girls, including four of his own sisters. Following these revelations, several advertisers to the show withdrew their sponsorships. In July 2015, Discovery Communications, the parent company of TLC, formally announced the cancellation of the show.
While it is unknown whether Jana was one of the four sisters whom Josh molested, it still does not change the fact that she was involved in a very trying time in her family not only during the time the scandal broke out, but for several years starting at least in 2006, and possibly even earlier, for the incident must have been known within the family due to the fact that the police were already involved by that time.
Fortunately for the rest of the family, a three-part spin-off series called Jill and Jessa: Counting On was aired focusing on Jill and Jessa and their newlywed husbands Derick Dillard and Ben Seewald respectively. Jana would also appear several times in this spin-off, and in March 2016, it was announced that Counting On had been renewed for a full season. The show would go on to last until 2020, until it too was canceled, due to Josh Duggar’s arrest due to possession of gross amounts of child pornography.
The cancellation of the Duggar family’s shows would have a severe impact on their net worth. Before cancellation, the Duggars were known to have been paid $25,000 to $45,000 per episode, and that earnings from sponsors and advertisements would net them a total of around $25 million per year.
As mentioned prior, Jana Duggar is still single and lives with her parents, and often puts her skills as a home remodeler into practice in their own home, including renovations and redecorating, and even building a treehouse for her younger siblings, and nieces, and nephews. She is also an avid gardener and maintains a large organic garden.
Other skills of Jana, as presented in the show, include training in firefighting in 2010, and being a doula in 2013. She also did various mission work throughout the 2010s. This shows her spirit of compassion and charity towards her fellow people.