TLC is dishing some Duggar secrets! The network released its behind-the-scenes “19 Kids and Counting” special on Tuesday, revealing some never-before-seen footage from the reality series and discussing some secrets about the show. Here’s eight things we learned:
Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar have 19 kids in their brood, but they didn’t have an issue welcoming their TLC film crew into their family. Coordinating producer Courtney Enlow, director Scott Enlow, sound man Jim Goodwin and camera man John Rogan said that after years of working on the show, they feel like one of the Duggars.
“It’s just fun getting to know them,” Jill (Duggar) Dillard said. “We call them Uncle Jim, Uncle Scott, cousins, whatever… It’s a lot of fun.”
Not only does the crew film the Duggars several times per week, they also get involved in their day-to-day household chores. The crew admitted to buying the family diapers when they were in need, helping take out the trash, delivering pizzas, doing lawn work and more.
“If something spills, we’ll clean it up. Even if we didn’t do it. We just jump in and help,” John said.
2. Name game
Jim Bob revealed that the crew initially had trouble remembering all of his kid’s names. And when the crew was asked to name all of the kids in birth order on the behind-the-scenes special, only a couple were able to do without struggling.
The “19 Kids and Counting” crew has been exposed to several illnesses during their time on the show, everything from Chickenpox to the common cold.
“We had to call our parents and see if we had Chickenpox,” John said. “I’ve gotten at least two or three ear infections since I’ve been the show. Sore throats. We’ve built up quite an immune system working on the show.”
4. No script
Unlike most reality shows that go off some sort of script, Josh Duggar said “19 Kids and Counting” is all real, depite recent reports which state otherwise. “It’s not like we are sitting there saying, 'Read these lines.' It’s just like, let’s see what happens and sometimes it doesn’t happen,” he said of the show’s authenticity.
Some of the big news that the Duggars share with one another is first announced to the show’s crew. When it comes to pregnancy announcements and gender reveals, the "19 Kids and Counting" crew members are typically the first to know if its going to be filmed.
“They probably know more about our families than we do sometimes,” John David Duggar said.
The adults are not the only “19 Kids and Counting” stars who participate in behind-the-scenes interviews. The show’s crew revealed that its the kids on the series who typically deliver the best interview one-liners.
“When you’re doing interviews with the kids, you never know what you’re going to get. You have to be rolling all the time because sometimes you get gold,” John said.
“You put Josie and Jordan and Kenzie in front of the camera and it’s golden. It doesn’t matter what it is, it’s golden,” Jim added.
7. Baby surprise
Pregnancy and baby deliveries are common story lines on “19 Kids and Counting,” but did you know that one of the show’s producers once delivered her baby in the midst of filming an episode? Courtney revealed that she welcomed her daughter Leah in Bejing, China, in 2013 while filming the family’s trip to Asia.
“When I first found out that the Duggars were going to Asia, I was really pregnant,” Courtney said. After contemplating whether or not to go on the trip, she decided to go for it, and what happened while she was overseas is something she will never forget. “I went and I had a baby, in China!” she said.
Courtney went into labor while the family was headed to Tiananmen Square. It was in route there that she slipped and her water broke. While in hospital, Jill and Jana Duggar, both students midwifes, helped her through her labor.
“They were amazing coaches. They just kept me calm. I can pretty much say it was a wonderful labor. A lot of that had to do with Jana and Jill,” Courtney said.
With 19 kids comes its challenges, but according to the show’s crew, Jim Bob and Michelle are just as patient and loving as they appear on the show. “I’ve seen Jim Bob and Michelle discipline the kids, but I’ve never seen theme raise their voice. They really are what you see on TV," Scott said.
“Michelle is probably the most patient person you will ever meet. I do not know how Michelle does it. I’m a mom myself, and there’s a lot to learn from her,” Courtney said. “She runs a great house. She runs a tight ship.”
What “19 Kids and Counting” behind-the-scenes secret surprised you the most? Tell us in the comments section below and don’t forget to tune in Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EDT on TLC.