Jim Bob Duggar, 58, and Michelle Duggar, 56, have responded to their daughter Jill Duggar Dillard, 32, accusing her father of treating her “worse” than her “pedophile brother” Josh Duggar, in a new book, Counting the Cast. The parents, whose big family has been featured on the reality show, 19 Kids and Counting, released a statement to PEOPLE that explained they “love” all of their kids but don’t believe “conflicts” should be handled in “a public forum.”
“We love all of our children very much. As with any family, few things are more painful than conflicts or problems among those you love. … .” they wrote in the statement. “We do not believe the best way to resolve conflicts, facilitate forgiveness and reconciliation, or to communicate through difficulties is through the media or in a public forum so we will not comment.”
The statement comes after Jill, who married Derick Dillard in 2014, accused Jim Bob of financial improprieties in how he shared (or failed to share) money from 19 Kids and Counting with his fellow family members, even though their lives were all documented on screen. Her new memoir also mentions Josh, who molested her and several of her siblings when they were younger, and is now serving more than 12 years in prison on charges of downloading and possessing images of child sex abuse. One shocking excerpt talks about a heated meeting she and Derick had with both of her parents, which included a mediator, and she recalled some of the things she told her dad at the time.
“You think I’m some kind of horrible person just because I wear pants and have a nose ring … I’m evolving and changing … ,” she told Jim Bob during the meeting. “You treat me like I’m a prodigal who’s turned her back on you. You treat me worse than you treat my pedophile brother.”
Before things got even worse, Jill went on to tell her parents that she wanted “to restore family relationships very soon” and “have a good discussion” about “hurtful things” that happened between them. Jim Bob, however was apparently very angry at her. “He was sitting very still, lips tight, eyes locked in a scowl that had been sculpted out of rock,” Jill further wrote about her father’s expression when he brought up a letter she and Derick sent, which Michelle called “the most disrespectful thing I’ve ever read.”
“I knew she was right, that she was speaking the truth. I didn’t know exactly how I’d messed up, but I knew that I had,” Jill added. “I’d hurt her and Pops, and that was never my intention.”
Jill’s memoir, Counting the Cast, is set to be released on Sept. 12.