Friday, May 7

Jinger, Jeremy's Book: 13 Revelations About Courtship, Miscarriage and More


Jinger Duggar and Jeremy Vuolo recount their romance — from courtship to kids — in their book, The Hope We Hold, and like any good love story, theirs came with plenty of twists and turns.

The twosome went public with their relationship in December 2015 and got engaged after seven months of courting. In November 2016, they exchanged vows in Arkansas during a ceremony that included the 19 Kids and Counting alum’s first kiss.

“Jeremy and I had talked about it quite a bit leading up to our wedding day. You sort of have to when your first kiss is going to be in front of a thousand people,” Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar’s sixth child recalled in the new book, out Tuesday, May 4. “‘Tilt your head to the right,’ he’d told me. ‘Just follow my lead.’ I should have felt nervous as we leaned into one another, but as our lips met for the first time, any jitters I might have had disappeared.”

Before tying the knot, however, the couple faced some pushback from Jinger’s parents. In particular, Jim Bob had concerns about the former pro soccer player’s commitment to his faith, despite having left the MLS behind to pursue life as a pastor.

“I did not see that coming,” the Pennsylvania native wrote. “If anything was a stumbling block, I’d thought it would be my past. I drank and partied in college. I’d been arrested. I could understand parents looking at those issues as red flags. It had never occurred to me that my theology would be the issue.”

Jinger’s father took extreme precautions when it came to giving the Hartwick College alum permission to date his daughter. Before their book hit shelves, Jinger and her husband reflected on the “intense” questionnaire Jim Bob doled out — which was 50 pages long.

“I was actually pretty eager to fill it out and say, ‘OK, look, this is a good opportunity for them to get to know me,’” the retired New York Red Bulls star told Us Weekly exclusively in April. “It’s tough for Mr. Duggar, man. He’s got all these girls [and] all these guys hanging around. I think if I had all those girls I’d probably come up with a document too.”

Eventually, the pair got their happily ever after. Nearly two years after their wedding, they welcomed daughter Felicity Nicole Vuolo in July 2018. While they adored their little girl, the couple were eager to give Felicity a sibling. Jinger and Jeremy aimed to welcome their kids “two years apart,” and their wish came true when daughter Evangeline Jo Vuolo arrived in November 2020. However, the pair experienced hardship one year prior when Jinger suffered a miscarriage.

“I talked to [my sister] Joy a lot in that time,” the TLC star told Us exclusively in June 2020. “We grew closer. We were already close, but that relationship even deepened all the more having been through the same thing. [It] was very difficult, but I was grateful for Joy to be able to talk to her. [My sister-in-law] Lauren also just shared such sweet words with me.”

Keep scrolling to see the 13 biggest revelations from Jinger and Jeremy’s memoir:

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Jeremy’s Bad Habits

While attending Hartwick College in upstate New York, Jeremy went to “party after party” with his soccer teammates and “inevitably” found himself drinking. “The same scenario played out week after week, party after party, hangover after hangover. Lather, rinse, repeat,” he recalled, adding that he was “miserable” despite the outward appearance of “having the time of [his] life.”

As time went on, he grew “distant” from his parents, leaving details of his college life out of their conversations. After getting arrested and spending time in a jail cell, Jeremy was done questioning his faith. “I can’t do this anymore. I don’t want to live for myself anymore. I want to live for you,” he prayed in jail. “I’m not going to do the Christian life halfway anymore. I knew I either had to live for Christ or live for myself. But I couldn’t call myself a Christian and live like this.”

 

Courtesy of Jinger Duggar/Instagram

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Jinger’s Intro to the Spotlight

The Duggar family was originally approached by Discovery Health about making a documentary about their lives, and as Jinger remembered, her parents “had one condition” for the network. “They didn’t want the documentary to edit out our faith,” she wrote. “‘It’s your story,’ the channel executive told my dad. ‘We’ll let you tell it.’”

When the series — originally titled 17 Kids and Counting — debuted in 2008, “nothing could have prepared” the family for what came next. “Suddenly, it seemed like everybody in the world knew my name,” Jinger wrote. “Whether I was licking an ice cream cone at Braum’s or loading a cart with cans at Aldi, I heard someone whisper, ‘That’s her! That’s Jinger!’ I felt strangely on display, like people knew something about me that I didn’t.”

 

Courtesy of Jinger Duggar/Instagram

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Jinger’s Insecurities and ‘Extreme Dieting’

Growing up in the public eye — combined with the pressures of being “the perfect Christian” — took a toll on Jinger.  “During the day, fears endlessly scrolled through my mind. I worried constantly about whether people liked me, or what they thought of me, or if that thing I’d said sounded stupid. I felt a constant drive to be perfect,” she wrote.

Her body image also fell victim to this perfectionist mentality as Jinger started to restrict her meals. “I skipped breakfast each morning by sleeping as late as I could so that nobody would know I hadn’t eaten. Then, I’d eat a super light lunch and a healthy snack before dinner, so I could honestly say I wasn’t hungry and pick at my food,” she continued. “At night, I’d go to bed before my stomach could rumble too loudly. It seemed reasonable at the time. I didn’t realize that my little weight loss plan was teetering dangerously on the edge of an eating disorder. … I had to be skinny. If this is what it took, then I would do it, I decided, no matter how hard it was.”

After carrying on with her “extreme dieting” for one month, she confessed to her mother, who had battled bulimia as a teenager. 

 

Courtesy of Jeremy Vuolo/Instagram

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Jeremy’s Dream Girl

When considering what he wanted to find in a partner, faith and “a servant’s heart” were high on Jeremy’s list. “Since I had gotten serious about the Lord back in college, I hadn’t dated much. I didn’t want to get in a relationship unless I could see myself marrying the woman,” he wrote.

In a journal entry before crossing paths with Jinger, Jeremy got more specific: “Monday, March 1, 8:50 a.m. Lord, bring me a partner, please. One who is in love with Christ, with a visible passion, humble, meek, willing to forsake all to follow wherever You lead us. Not consumed with money and comfort. A wartime mentality. A servant, strong in faith. Walks consistently by faith. Lover of children. Physically attractive to me. Disciplined. Healthy lifestyle. Acquainted with the type of Christianity I’m striving to live.”

Courtesy of Jeremy Vuolo/Instagram

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First Sight

Jeremy was introduced to Jessa Duggar and Ben Seewald before meeting the entire Duggar clan at a conference. While there, one family member in particular caught his eye. “I’d noticed a girl who told me her name was Jinger. She wore a green dress that brought out her eyes, and when she smiled, her whole face lit up with the kind of beauty I hadn’t seen often. ‘She’s really cute,’ I thought,” he recalled. “There was no magic right off the bat, no instant spark. Still, I couldn’t help thinking about it.”

Speaking to her sister — who “thought highly” of “this mystery guy” — Jinger was surprised to find herself considering who would “be a good match” for Jeremy. “I wasn’t in a hurry to get married. … I wanted a man who loved God more than he loved me. A man with spiritual and emotional maturity, who knew how to have a good time but also knew when to be serious. A man who was a leader,” Jinger wrote, noting that “guys were constantly asking” about her and her sisters because of their fame. “I understood it came with the territory when you’re a teenage girl on a reality show, but sometimes it was crazy, and a little creepy. At one point, at least 25 guys had asked about me or my sisters within a couple of months alone.”

 

Courtesy of Jinger Duggar/Instagram

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The Scandal

In 2015, news broke that Jinger’s brother Josh Duggar was accused of molesting multiple women and had cheated on his wife, Anna Duggar. The aftermath was difficult for Jinger and her family.

“My brain hadn’t quite caught up to the reality of what had happened in a few short hours,” she wrote. “Earlier that day, Dad had gathered my siblings and me to tell us that the worst trial in our family history, a trial we had long since dealt with and made our peace with, was now public knowledge. … One of my siblings had made some sinful choices, but it had all been years ago. It had been awful, but we had dealt with it as a family. We’d sought the Lord, took the necessary steps to move toward healing, and offered up our forgiveness. Now that it was out in public, the old wound was open again, raw, painful.”

Jinger reflected on the experience while speaking to Us exclusively in April 2021, shortly before Josh was arrested in Arkansas. “Walking through that season, it was one of the hardest times of our lives,” she said. “Our family was way closer because of that, and in spite of that, I guess you’d say.”

 

Courtesy of Jinger Duggar/Instagram

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Winning Over the Family

Jinger “had never felt such a strong attraction to anyone” in her life, describing her chemistry with Jeremy as a “magnetic pull.” But the path to courtship came with a few bumps along the way — including a 50-page questionnaire from Jinger’s dad and a complicated approval process.

“It didn’t take me long to realize I had some theological differences from Mr. Duggar and his church that ran deep,” Jeremy wrote, admitting that he was told his particular religious views could be a “dealbreaker” for the Duggars. “I spent hours laying out my position on theological issues and walking them through passages of the Bible that led me to those positions. … Yet months went by and I didn’t receive permission to pursue Jinger.”

 

Courtesy of Jinger Duggar/Instagram

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The Rules

Before getting permission to make things official, the twosome frequently FaceTimed to pray together when they were apart. On Jeremy’s first visit to Arkansas, they received a blessing from Jinger’s parents to date.

“We weren’t just getting to know one another, we were boyfriend and girlfriend,” Jinger wrote, noting that she and Jeremy had both agreed to adhere to some conservative guidelines for their early relationship. “That included the rule of not kissing until we were married. As difficult as that sounds, I honestly didn’t give it much thought. I knew that’s what my family did, so to me, it was normal. Besides, I knew we wouldn’t date forever. I wouldn’t have to wait too long.”

 

Courtesy of Jinger Duggar/Instagram

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The Proposal

When he was finally ready to get down on one knee, Jeremy wanted to pay homage to the Duggar family’s tradition and purchase an engagement ring at the same store they’d all bought theirs. He found the perfect princess-cut ring and knew that an upcoming visit to New York City would allow for a magical proposal.

“Jinger blew all my expectations out of the water. If I’d searched for the rest of my life, I’d never find anyone else who not only exceeded my every desire, but also complemented me in every way,” Jeremy added. “I wanted to spend every day of the rest of my life with her.”

 

Courtesy of Jinger Duggar/Instagram

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The Firsts

Like many of her family members, Jinger had “never kissed anyone” before her wedding day. Starting her life with Jeremy brought plenty of other firsts, including her first attempt at dressing in a different style. “Once I found certainty from the Bible, my heart was free. I felt no inner conflict as I started wearing pants for the first time,” she wrote. “I felt emotional as I worried that my parents would think I didn’t appreciate how I was raised.”

Though they’d been warned the first year of marriage was the hardest, Jeremy wrote “it was the best year of our lives.” 

 

Courtesy of Jeremy Vuolo/Instagram

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Jinger’s 1st Pregnancy

When the couple found out they were pregnant with their first child, Jeremy was “excited,” but couldn’t picture fatherhood quite so clearly. “The reality of it didn’t set in at first. While Jinger was experiencing morning sickness and fatigue, nothing had changed for me,” he wrote, adding that he prayed the little one “would look and act like Jinger.” Once he finally saw his first glimpse during an ultrasound, however, everything changed.

Jinger gave birth to daughter Felicity in July 2018 — and the delivery wasn’t easy. “Tears of pain and frustration rolled down my cheeks. I was sweaty, exhausted, and completely spent,” she recalled of her hours-long labor. When Felicity finally arrived, the duo “never considered naming her with a J name,” as was tradition for the Duggar family. “All the good names were taken,” Jeremy teased.

While adjusting to parenthood, the couple “certainly had disagreements,” but learned to work together. “We also knew that if we messed up, there was forgiveness. Life as a family of three was beautiful. It was difficult, but even with the night awakenings and dirty diapers, by God’s grace, it was beautiful,” they wrote. 

 

Courtesy of Jinger Duggar/Instagram

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The Miscarriage

Jinger revealed in May 2020 that she had previously suffered a pregnancy loss — and the moment was difficult to wrap her head around. “I’d heard of people having miscarriages. My mom and sisters-in-law had experienced that tragedy, but naively, I never thought it would happen to me,” she wrote. “How could this be real?”

The TLC star recalled feeling “so excited about Felicity having a sibling,” dreaming about watching her children reach milestones together. “And just like that, those dreams were gone,” she wrote, remembering the “intense” cramping that triggered her to believe something wasn’t right. “I sat on the cold tile of the bathroom and hugged my knees to my chest, sobbing for the baby I never knew, the sibling Felicity wouldn’t have. I wanted that baby so badly, but that wasn’t enough to save it.”

 

Courtesy of Jinger Duggar/Instagram

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Next Chapter

Following their heartbreaking miscarriage, which Jeremy called their “greatest trial,” the couple didn’t lose hope. Instead, they turned to their faith for comfort. “If God is good in times of prosperity, then I knew without a doubt that he was good in my darkest days too. And that knowledge gave us hope,” Jeremy wrote. “We don’t have to despair when tragedy strikes. Even in our grief, we knew this trial was refining us, shaping us, making us more like Christ.”

Things turned around for the pair, who welcomed their rainbow baby, daughter Evangeline Jo, in November 2020.

 

Courtesy of Jinger Duggar/Instagram



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