Both sisters, who also participated in a documentary on childhood sexual abuse, are now married. Jill and Derick Dillard have a baby son; Jessa Seewald and her husband, Ben, are expecting their first child.
“We know that our audience is really excited about what’s been going on with Jill and Jessa as they move into young adulthood,” TLC executive vice president and general manager Nancy Daniels told the Associated Press. “And now they’re both at the precipice of big changes. With what was happening in their lives in the next few months, it felt like now is the time (for the specials), and we got going pretty quickly.”
Citing an anonymous production source, the AP reported that the sisters’ older brother, Josh Duggar, would not be a part of the specials.
Duggar, following media reports that he had molested several young girls as a teenager, apologized for teenage “wrongdoing” and resigned from his job at a conservative lobbying firm in late May. His parents eventually confirmed the rumors. Among the victims were his sisters Seewald and Dillard.
In a June interview with Fox News, Seewald and Dillard came to their brother’s defense, saying the incident was in their past and that its resurfacing by the media was a “re-victimization” of them.
“If you’ve had failures in your past, it doesn’t mean you can’t be changed. I think that’s where, I think the real issue is people are making this sound like it happened yesterday,” Seewald said.
The family’s reality show was pulled from the air soon after Josh Duggar’s first apology; in July, it was canceled. But in August, Duggar said he was the “biggest hypocrite ever” and had “been unfaithful to my wife,” after Gawker connected his name to the hacked and leaked records of users of the infidelity Web site, Ashley Madison. Duggar entered a “long-term treatment center” following the apology.
“As parents we are so deeply grieved by our son’s decisions and actions. His wrong choices have deeply hurt his precious wife and children and have negatively affected so many others,” read a statement released by the family.
Jessa and Ben Seewald, however, both shared a link to a post on Twitter by Ben Seewald’s father, Michael, in which he called Josh a “fraud” and a “pretender.”
An e-mail to a Duggar family spokesperson was not immediately returned Thursday.
The Duggars have maintained a presence on social media to keep fans updated on their lives. The Seewalds and the Dillards also have active family Web sites, styled after the Duggar family’s site, and have urged their fans to visit those sites — which support advertisements.
“We are looking forward to reconnecting with everyone with the new specials on TLC — many have asked about our mission work and about the challenges of taking our family to a different country, culture and learning a new language,” Jill Dillard wrote on Instagram on Thursday. “We appreciate your prayers. To keep up with us visit www.dillardfamily.com.”
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We are looking forward to reconnecting with everyone with the new specials on TLC—many have asked about our mission work and about the challenges of taking our family to a different country, culture and learning a new language. We appreciate your prayers. To keep up with us visit www.dillardfamily.com