Michelle Duggar’s Life: Her Struggles with Bulimia and Miscarriages

Even though the Duggar family has several members, one of the most important ones is Michelle Duggar, the proud mother of 19 children. If it hadn’t been for two tragedies, she would have 21.

Michelle Duggar was born on September 13, 1966. She is the seventh and final daughter of Garrett Ruark and Ethel Hardin, who passed away on June 18, 2010, and August 11, 1991, respectively.

Due to that tragic event, the couple decided to stop using birth control, a decision that would change their lives forever.


While she has been following the Lord for many years and has overcome most of her insecurities, Michelle revealed during an episode of “19 Kids and Counting” that she struggled with self-worth and was bulimic during high school.

“I ended up starting a bad habit of making myself get sick after I would eat, especially if I had more food than I felt like I should eat, and it was destructive for my health and my life,” Michelle said.


It was also during her high school years that she became a Christian. Thanks to her faith, she met Jim Bob, who considered that it was love at first sight, although Michelle pointed out that the truth was different.

According to Jim Bob, he and a friend were on church visitation, but the people they tried to talk to were not home, so his friend told him to go to Michelle’s house, who was a cheerleader and had recently become a Christian.


“We knocked on the door, and the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen came to the door. I couldn’t believe how beautiful she was, how sweet she was. It was definitely love at first sight,” said Jim Bob.

Michelle’s perception was entirely different as she admitted that the first time they met each other, she didn’t “remember meeting him.” The mother-of-19 said that it wasn’t love at first sight because “I really didn’t even talk to him.”

About a year later, Michelle applied for a job at a yogurt shop that Jim Bob’s mother was managing. He asked his mother to hire her, and soon afterward, he asked Michelle out on a date.

“I think I really realized that Jim Bob was the one for me that night after our first date,” Michelle revealed after saying that her now husband was not only handsome but also had a “spiritual focus.”


On Christmas Eve of 1983, when Michelle was only 17 years old and Jim Bob was 19, he proposed. According to Michelle, it was one of her favorite dates as he asked Garrett for his daughters’ hand before popping the question.

While in the living room of Michelle’s parent’s home, Jim Bob kneeled, showed her a “beautiful ring,” and asked, “Michelle, will you marry me?” One of the highlights of his proposal is that her parents were in the same room watching everything.

Although some people might believe that it was not creative enough, Michelle loved it as it was a “really special” time because it was “on our normal surroundings” and Jim Bob made it “so romantic.”

On July 21, 1984, she officially became Michelle Duggar as the pair got married at Cross Church in Rogers, Arkansas. Unfortunately, there was some construction works getting done at the time, so the ceremony took place on the hallway.

Apart from that, the tried to do as much as possible to save money, so she made the bouquet using fake flowers, the cake with the help of a friend, and didn’t buy a wedding dress. Instead, she wore Jim Bob’s mother’s one.


Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar’s honeymoon was also out of the ordinary. Since they were short on money, they decided to stay at a cabin in Lake Fort Smith and Mount Nebo, both located in Arkansas.

Unfortunately, they felt disappointed almost immediately after arriving at Lake Fort Smith because the photos on the brochure showed a beautiful place, but the truth was completely different, they revealed in their family blog.

Instead of spending the day there, they chose to stay at a hotel in Fort Smith for the first night of the honeymoon, which was not what they had anticipated, “but it was still sweet.” Thankfully, things improved at Mount Nebo, and they stayed there for a few nights.


As soon as they tied the knot, Michelle started taking birth control pills. Four years after getting married, in March 1988, Joshua Duggar was born. After his birth, she started taking birth control pills again but unexpectedly got pregnant.

Unfortunately, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar received devastating news in 1989 when she suffered a miscarriage. The doctor told them that the pill caused it. Although they never knew the gender of their unborn baby, they named them Caleb.

Due to that tragic event, the couple decided to stop using birth control, a decision that would change their lives forever. Based on the Bible, which states that children are a gift from God, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar chose to leave that aspect of their lives to Him.


Soon after that, in January 1990, she gave birth to Jana and John, the couple’s first twin children. Then, Jill Was born May 1991, Jessa in November 1992, Jinger in December 1993, Joseph in January 1995, Josiah in August 1996, Joy-Anna in October 1997, twins Jedidiah and Jeremiah in December 1998, Jason in April 2000, Justin in November 2002, Jackson in May 2004, Johannah in October 2005, Jennifer in August 2007, Jordyn-Grace in December 2008, and Josie in December 2009, totaling their 19 children.

During an interview with Huffington Post, the couple revealed that having all those children was not easy and that Michelle was not a “baby machine,” as some people label her.

They added that every delivery had been unique as Michelle had 13 natural births in a row and then four C-sections.


Even though Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar thought that Josie would be their last child, they announced on November 8, 2011, that they were expecting their 20th child. Unfortunately, exactly one month later, the family learned that the baby no longer had a heartbeat. Three days later, Michelle miscarried naturally.

When the family held the funeral for Jubilee, the name they chose for the stillborn baby, people criticized them because they displayed photos of the child. However, it was neither the first nor the last time they were involved in controversy.


In 2014, Michelle was heavily criticized for recording a robocall asking the people of Fayetteville, Arkansas, to discourage the city from allowing transgender women into women-only spaces.

According to her, it would allow “males with past child predator convictions that claim they are female to have a legal right to enter private areas that are reserved for women and girls.” 

Her words made people create an online petition to get “19 Kids and Counting” canceled, but a counter-petition, which reached almost the same number of signatures, was created and TLC took no action.

Apart from that, Michelle and Jim Bob posted a photo on their Facebook page kissing each other and asked married couples to share their own. Sadly, they chose to delete the pictures of same-sex couples kissing.


Even though Jim Bob and Michelle faced backlash for their hatred towards the LGBT community, the biggest dishonor that affected their family was Josh Duggar’s molestation scandal.

In 2015, In Touch Weekly revealed that Josh had molested five underage girls between 2002 and 2003 when he was between 14 and 15 years old. Neither Jim Bob nor Michelle reported anything to the police and chose to seek help from church elders.


At the moment, Michelle is 52 years old and, according to Celebrity Net Worth, she and Jim Bob have a net worth of approximately $3.5 million. Although it is unlikely for the couple to have more babies, the Duggar family is still growing, making Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar proud grandparents over and over again!

Josh, for instance, has five children and is expecting another one. On the other hand, Jessa has three kids; Jill has two; and Jinger, Joseph, and Joy-Anna have one each. Joy-Anna, Josiah, and Joseph are also expecting children who are all due in November this year.

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