The former TLC's '19 Kids and Counting' star's memoir 'Counting the Cost' is on bookshelves now.
Jill Duggar is reclaiming her own narrative. The 32-year-old former reality star and her husband, Derick Dillard, spoke to ET last week about her experience reliving painful memories of her brother Josh Duggar's actions she describes as abusive while writing her new book, Counting the Cost.
"My life has already been very public," Jill told ET's Deidre Behar. "So it was almost like I didn't really have a choice whether or not my story was going to be told."
Jill was just 13 when her family first started appearing in television specials that eventually became TLC's 19 Kids and Counting and later Counting On.
In 2015, In Touch published redacted police records claiming that Jill and several of her sisters were victims of alleged molestation from their eldest brother, Josh Duggar, when they were children. Josh was later convicted of receiving and possessing child pornography, and is currently serving a more than 12-year sentence. She opens up about the experience and its traumatic aftermath in her book.
"I knew that we would have to address things in the book that I wouldn't want to," Jill told ET. "I did not want to talk about those things, but I knew writing a book, I couldn't just not address it."
Both Jill and her husband, 34-year-old Derick Dillard, have been outspoken about their opposition to the publication of the police report, and Jill writes in the book about the trauma she experienced following the report being made public.
"Child sexual abuse, victim information, should never be public," Derick told ET. "That was really part of why I went into the legal profession, [I] was just so aggravated by that... Jill shared certain things with me because we were getting married that nobody else should know."
Jill told ET she and Derick were careful to establish boundaries during their writing sessions. "We did use care in what had already been out there with my story," Jill said. "I am not just going to overshare, people want gritty nasty details, I am not going to overshare."
Jill added that she had to stay conscious of respecting her own privacy after spending a childhood in the spotlight. "As we've lived our lives, we've learned a lot. Growing up in TV, I know that there can be a tendency to overshare, so I wanted to do it with care," Jill said, adding that she wanted to tell her story "while not coming at it from an angle of bashing or shaming, and so in that way, I would say we did kind of reign it in but at the same time still tell the truth."
Derick concurred, adding that they went into writing sessions with the goal of empowering Jill's story. "To be able to be the ones to choose to share those things. What I hate is that whenever that power is taken away from you."
Counting the Cost is on bookshelves now.