“These past seven years have been extremely trying but navigating life with my best friend has not only made it more bearable but also exciting and adventurous,” the Counting On alum, 32, wrote in an Instagram caption on Monday, May 17, alongside family photos. “Your Christ-like attitude continues to inspire and challenge me to be more like our Savior, Jesus Christ. You are an amazing wife and mother. Thank you for who you are and all the sacrifices you constantly make for our family! I love you, and I know our boys love you too!”
Derick’s tribute comes after the Dillards, including the couple’s sons Israel, 6, and Samuel, 3, visited the Buffalo National River in Arkansas to ring in the occasion.
Jill has undergone quite an evolution in recent months following her candid interview about why she was keeping some distance from her loved ones.
“There were just a lot of things that we were working through and then learning to develop boundaries with even just extended family,” she told Us Weekly in February. “[There’s] a little bit of drama there … At that point, we were like, ‘We really need somebody outside the picture to speak into our lives to help us sort things out.’”
Fans watched Jill and her siblings grow up after being introduced to the Duggar family in 2008 on TLC’s reality series 19 Kids and Counting, which is no longer on air. The spinoff, Counting On, premiered on the network in 2015 and is still on television. However, in 2017, Jill and her husband stopped making appearances.
In a joint YouTube video they shared in October 2020, the couple discussed why they were just fine with moving forward from the show. “We found out we didn’t have as much control over our lives as it related to the show and stuff, as we needed,” Jill shared about their exit. “We had to make a decision at that time to kind of put the show aside … to pursue our own goals and everything. That’s when we made that decision.”
The Duggar family has since made headlines for her brother Josh Duggar’s child pornography charges, which he pleaded not guilty to on April 30. “We just learned this information. It is very sad,” Jill wrote in a statement to Entertainment Tonight on April 30.
As for Jill and Derick, who tied the knot in June 2014, they are still going strong today. After forging their own path away from reality TV, Derick focused on his studies. The father of two graduated from law school on May 8.