So many Duggars, so little time! While it’s hard to keep up with the entire Counting On clan and their significant others, Derick Dillard is one that fans just can’t ignore. Married to Jill Duggar, the 28-year-old has become one of the most polarizing characters on TLC’s hit show.
However, we only get a small glimpse of Derick’s life on reality TV — and there is so much more to the devout Christian than meets the eye. Here, In Touch has rounded up everything you need to know about Derick.
His father passed away when he was younger.
Derick was attending college at Oklahoma State University when his father, Rick Dillard, passed away in 2008. Back in January, the TV personality — who shares sons Israel, 2, and Sam, 2 months, with Jill, 26 — took to Instagram to pay tribute to his father nine years after he passed away. “Nine years ago today I said goodbye to the greatest man I knew. The greatest, namely, because he taught me in word and deed about Jesus Christ. He protected and served the public as a police officer, and he loved God and his family,” he wrote. “His time came sooner than expected, but I know he would have loved being grandpa Dillard to little Israel too. He is my dad, and I look forward to seeing him again on the other side of eternity. Rick W. Dillard (1957-2008).”
Derick and Jill first met in Nepal.
Derick was on a mission trip in Kathmandu, Nepal, when he struck up a virtual romance with Jill via Skype. The two were connected by Jill’s father, Jim Bob Duggar, who had a feeling they would make a great pair. Eventually, Jill ended up making the trek from her home in Alabama all the way to Asia so she could meet Derick in person — and the rest is history!
His mom is a cancer survivor.
Not long before Derick and Jill’s June 2014 wedding, Derick’s mother, Cathy Dillard, was diagnosed with stage 4 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma — a very aggressive form of cancer. Thankfully, Cathy was feeling good on the day that her son tied the knot with Jill and was able to attend their nuptials. These days, according to Derick, his mom is doing better than ever.
“My mom’s story of battle and triumph over cancer is nothing short of a miracle, performed by the one true God, our Lord Jesus Christ, through many medical personnel to whom I am eternally grateful,” he has said.
His own health has been a concern.
Earlier this year, Derick looked painfully thin in an Instagram photo with Jill and their son, Israel. Fans were shocked by his frail appearance and voiced their concern via social media. However, Derick insisted that he is just fine. “No, I’m actually quite healthy,” he wrote in response to a fan who had asked if he was sick.
He is seemingly transphobic.
For reasons we may never understand, Derick decided that it was a good idea to attack 16-year-old trans advocate and fellow TLC star Jazz Jennings in an offensive Twitter rant earlier this summer. “What an oxymoron… a ‘reality’ show which follows a non-reality,” he said of Jazz’s reality show, I Am Jazz. “‘Transgender’ is a myth. Gender is not fluid; it’s ordained by God.”
He later claimed that he harbors no ill will toward Jazz — even though he referred to her using the wrong pronoun. “I want to be clear. I have nothing against him. I only have issue with the words and definitions being propagated here,” he tweeted, which prompted heated responses from fans. “You mean her. Use the right pronoun if you have no issue,” one wrote, while another fumed, “He’s a grown man attacking a child! He’s being a bully!”