Michelle Duggar is the famous matriarch of one of the most controversial families on television, the Duggar family, and is the star on TLC's reality hit 19 Kids and Counting. She and her husband Jim Bob have accumulated a whopping nineteen children, all born biologically to the couple, as well as a hefty handful of grandkids. They are supposedly proponents of the Quiverfull Movement, are highly religious and preach their beliefs to anyone and everyone who will give them half a minute of their time.
During her television stint, Michelle Duggar was often seen quietly and calmly mentoring and educating her children; you never saw her losing her mind and snapping at them. She never appeared to be overwhelmed with the grocery shopping, the laundry or the cleaning. She was forever the picture of modesty and subordination, following her strict faith of Christianity above all.
While Michele puts on a good show for viewers, she wasn't always the matriarch we know her as. In fact, Michelle sowed some oats back in her childhood days. Here are fifteen things everyone forgets about Mama Michele's past.
13 She Struggled With Body Issues
Viewers were shocked to learn that Michelle has struggled with food issues in the past. Michele started struggling with her body image in her young teen years. When she was only fourteen years old, she turned to puking her food as a way to control her body weight Even pairing this dangerous habit with three hours of activity a day wasn't enough to make Michelle feel satisfied with how she looked because, of course, her issues were mental.
She revealed in the book her daughters penned that she was forever comparing herself to other young gymnasts and cheerleaders, never feeling as if she was as thin as they were. Michelle met Jim Bob and claims it was him who helped her work through her demons. These days Michelle lives a healthier life and has put her eating struggles behind her.
12 Her Sister Likes Women
The Duggars are pretty open and honest about their attitudes concerning gay and lesbian people and believe that this lifestyle is as sinful as it gets. Mama Duggar even went as far as spearheading a campaign to strike down an ordinance that would prohibit businesses from discriminating over sexual orientation. Interestingly, one of Michelle's sisters is openly homosexual and has lived with her partner for a number of years, according to InTouchWeekly.
While it was pretty common to see Jim Bob's family members on their television show 19 Kids and Counting, we didn't see Michele's family members but a handful of times.
Knowing that your own sister damns your lifestyle might have a little something to do with a possible rift.
11 She Wore Bathing Suits In Her Teen Years
Michelle Duggar, along with her husband, believes that females should dress modestly and cover their flesh up as much as possible. Recently, daughter Jinger rocked the internet when she wore pants! The Duggar women are always clothed from neck to knee and believe that those hidden body parts are for their husbands' eyes only. They are also raised to think that exposing their flesh is essentially tempting male eyes and will inadvertently draw undesired male attention. While Michelle dresses modestly and raises her girls to do the same, she didn't always own only turtlenecks and long jean skirts. Back in Michelle's teen days, she was known to rock a bikini while mowing the lawn! It's rumored that her lady neighbors were none too pleased to have a scantily clad cheerleader prancing about.
10 Before Jim Bob...
People who grew up with the bubbly, beautiful Michelle barely recognize her now when they see her on the television screen playing the housewife and mom of 19 kids. Back in Michelle's younger years, she was a popular cheerleader and she definitely dressed the part. Old friends from Mrs. Duggar's past claim that she never wanted for any male attention. Young boys were happy to vie for her affections.
In fact, it is rumored that she had a few possible boyfriends before Jim Bob came along and stole her heart.
It is a bit strange to try and visualize Michelle holding hands with a football jock after seeing her by Jim Bob's side for all of these years.
9 She Broke Her Own Courtship Rules
When it comes to dating rituals, Michelle and Jim Bob didn't always follow them. The two have boatloads of dating rules and regulations that they impose on their children, but they themselves never followed those. When a Duggar child is ready to enter the dating pool, they are required to have chaperones accompany the budding couple at all times. Courting couples can only hug from the side and are only permitted to hold hands with one anther once they are engaged. Those are some pretty strict guidelines considering that Jim Bob and Michelle were known to lock lips before they officially tied the knot. We have to wonder how their children look at them and don't want to constantly call them out for not walking the walk in spite of talking the talk.
8 She Had A Pet Tarantula
If you had to guess what Michelle Duggar's childhood pet would have been what would you guess? A bunny? A kitty? If you guessed anything sweet-natured and fluffy then you would be way off base.
Back in her little girl days, Michelle was the proud owner of a pet tarantula! Who would have guessed?
Fast forward decades later and she has nineteen kids, but not a single animal in the household. You would think she would be fine with a couple of critters running loose considering she would most likely pawn their care off onto the older, responsible children. Turns out Jim Bob and Michelle got some advice before they wed that encouraged them to not have a television nor a pet for the first year of marriage so that they only lived on love. We guess that tidbit stuck!
7 A Party Girl Past
Michelle still likes to clap along to a rousing church song, but you won't catch her hiking her skirts up and cutting a rug anymore. Dancing is forbidden in Duggar-land. This family believes that "moves like Jaggar" could encourage sensual feelings and heaven knows we want none of that until someone puts a ring on it. I think it is safe to say any wild partying ways Michelle might have experienced in her youth are long gone. While we can't fathom righteous JB letting loose for a boozy night on the town (Duggars are totally anti-alcohol), Michelle was a bit freer and fun in her teen years. She often hung out with other cheerleaders and football players and frequented the typical high school parties that we all hazily recall.
6 She Had A Non-Religious Upbringing
Michelle and company are devout Baptists. They only watch television programs that they consider to be wholesome, family shows, they filter their internet services, if they use it at all, and they pay particular attention to how modestly they are dressing and behaving. The family follows many of the Quiverfull Principals, although they have denied that they are part of that movement. Believers of the Quiverfull Movement look at children as blessings from God and as cultural weapons. They aim to create as many like-minded humans as they can. Basically, their goal is to birth more devout Christians in a lacking world. This way of believing is vastly different from the non-religious home that Michelle was raised in.
While she professes that her childhood was a happy one, it was not a religious one.
5 She Went To Public School
All 19 of Michelle's kids have been homeschooled. Michelle went through the public school system for her entire life and Jim Bob attended public schools for six years before transferring over to a Christian school. Their decision to home-school a whopping nineteen kids might make more sense if Michelle had experienced some negative encounters during her education, but she was actually really popular and enjoyed all sorts of public school activities. It's interesting that she would not want any of her own kids to share in those events that public schools offer. When their oldest son was only 8 months old, they met a family who home-schooled and was so impressed with the kids that they turned towards the practice and never looked back.
4 A Teen Bride
One thing that Michelle and her older daughters have in common is that they were all young brides. Many of the older Duggar sisters are getting married and starting their journeys of motherhood immediately, and it's not surprising, considering their mother was a teen bride herself.
Michelle married Jim Bob at 17 years old. The pair waited until Michelle finished her high school education and then tied the knot.
The young lovebirds waited four years to have their first son, Josh, after suffering from a devastating miscarriage early on in their union. The pair publicly attributed that loss to the usage of birth control pills. Michelle's daughters seem to be diverging from their mother's path slightly as none of the married girls have wasted any time in becoming mommies themselves.
3 Michelle Versus The Mean Girls
Michelle Duggar can oftentimes come off a bit bullish, especially when you are one of those select groups that she lobbies against. If you happen to be part of a group that conflicts with her beliefs, then she is coming for you and preaching her good word loud and clear. While this won't feel like bullying to many, others take offense to people who try and impose their own religious views on them. Michelle used to be less of a pushy bully and more of an advocate. Classmates and friends remembered a younger Michelle as someone who was really scrappy and would stand up for those who needed some backing. There is no doubt this mama still stands up for what she believes in.
2 Baby Auntie
Michelle is the youngest of seven siblings and she is the youngest by a lot!
Michelle was an auntie before she was even born!
Her siblings are much older than her and were already starting their adult lives when baby Michelle joined the Ruark family. So the future Mrs. Duggar essentially grew up alongside her nephews and nieces, who served as her play pals in their younger years. Perhaps this concept feeds into Michelle's wanting to breed for as many years as she has. She was, after all, still birthing babies when her oldest was doing the same. Her son Josh's wife Anna and Mama Michelle were once preggers at the same time, so their children have grown up together just as Michelle and her nieces and nephews did. Can you imagine being pregnant along with your mother?
1 She Has Anxiety Issues
A few years ago, Michelle let the world know via a video blog that she hasn't always been the quiet and calm mother she seems to be these days. When her oldest children were in their younger years, Michelle was quite prone to yelling and snapping, which serves as more proof that she has some kind of human DNA lingering about. She attributed her outbursts to both anger and anxiety and credited The Lord for showing her a better way of parenting. She started trying to emulate God's love for his children in her own child-rearing practices, which led to her parenting with less frustration and stress. What also helped lift her parenting pressures though was probably her creation of her infamous "Buddy System." This Duggar-creation essentially put the older children into the roles of the parent so that Michelle had less to deal with on the daily.