Jinger Duggar on the 'Free Jinger' Movement and Raising Her Daughters Out of the Spotlight (Exclusive)

The former reality star sat down with ET to talk about the release of her new book, 'Becoming Free Indeed.'

For anyone still wondering, yes, Jinger Duggar Vuolo knew about the "Free Jinger" movement. The former reality star opens up about the online fan campaign during her days on 19 Kids and Counting in her new book, Becoming Free Indeed.

The book, co-written by Corey Williams, is not a tell-all about Jinger's reality TV-famous family, but an exploration of her conservative upbringing and faith journey in recent years. However, she does includes some details from her childhood, including recalling her amusement at the "Free Jinger" online campaign, started by fans who had convinced themselves that Jinger was unhappy growing up in her ultra-conservative family.

Jinger told ET's Nischelle Turner, however, that at the time, she couldn't understand why viewers of her family's reality show thought she wanted to escape.

"In my heart, at that point, I thought, 'Oh, that's crazy that they would ever think that I need to be freed from anything, because I'm so content in the life I'm in,'" Jinger observed. "I think I was probably one of the most avid rule followers in that setting, and I was like, 'No, I don't need to be freed from anything!'"

"So it is kind of ironic I came back and wrote this book, Becoming Free Indeed, because that was something that I didn't even know I needed to do, was to walk through this journey," she continued. "I appreciated the people at 'Free Jinger.' I think they had the best intentions in mind."

For Jinger, Becoming Free Indeed is not about liberating herself from Christianity or even conservative values. In the book, however, she details the work she's done to "disentangle" herself from her upbringing under the Institute in Basic Life Principles and disgraced pastor Bill Gothard.

The IBLP is an organization which espouses modest dress, female subservience, homeschooling, and large families, among other conservative lifestyle practices. Gothard stepped down from his leadership role in the organization in 2014 in the wake of multiple claims of sexual harassment, though the pastor denied any wrongdoing.

"I would say that it was definitely cult-like, I can't say it was a cult -- I'll leave that to the experts," Jinger explained of life under IBLP's practices. "There were so many things that made me think, 'OK, this reminds me of something that's cult-like,' because it's so hard to leave that community at times. If everything is so black and white, it makes it challenging for you to step outside of that."

With her book, Jinger has positioned herself as an example to others who may be looking for faith outside the IBLP or similar organizations -- and she hopes to help as many as possible.

"Hopefully, in spite of all the things I've walked through, it will be helpful to someone," she noted. "I had a fear of the community I was raised in rejecting me, and so every word I spoke, I thought, 'OK, once it's out there, it's out there,' and I really had to set that thought aside to be able to push forward and be strong to be able to share this story."

She and husband Jeremy Vuolo also don't plan to follow in her family's footsteps when it comes to growing up in the spotlight. They plan to keep their daughters, Felicity, 4, and Evangeline, 2, out of the public eye as much as possible.

"That's been something that we've talked about -- my husband, Jeremy, and I, we both just really felt strongly that we wanted to keep our kids out of the public eye," she shared. "I was raised on TV since the age of 10, and I see that I've had a lot of opportunities come up because of it. At the same time, there are difficulties being in that place, walking through the seasons of my life publicly."

"So we wanted to give our girls the opportunity to choose," she added. "If they choose to be in the public eye, that's great, we'll support them with whatever they want to do. But while they're so young, we're just keeping their faces off the camera."

While her daughters are still young, and may not understand the impact of their mother taking steps to distance herself from the teachings of the IBLP, Jinger hopes to keep them close with all of their cousins and relatives -- even those who have diverging beliefs.

"As they get older, we want to point them to the word of God," she shared. "Just show them that even though our lives look different, we still want to be loving and welcoming of even the differences."

Becoming Free Indeed is out now. 


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