Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar of Springdale, Arkansas, are the parents of 18 children, and their family is the focus of a TLC network reality series.
Joy Behar, guest host Thursday night on “Larry King Live,” asked the Duggars how they are able to stay debt free with such a large family and what they thought of Nadya Suleman, the single mother who recently gave birth to octuplets after having fertility treatments. Following is a transcript of their conversation. Joy Behar: Let me ask you something. What is your reaction to this octomom Nadya Suleman, the story. What do you think about that Michelle Duggar: Well, I just know from my own heart, I can’t judge and look at her and judge her situation. I just know from my heart, and personally God changed our heart about children years ago. And so we’ve kind of gone about it the old-fashioned way. And so we are enjoying each one of the blessings that God has given us, and we’re thankful for each one of them. Behar: Right, at least you guys enjoyed having the babies, you went through the sex then the giving birth. This woman didn’t have any of that, except the giving birth, which must have been rough, don’t you think Michelle Duggar: Oh, my, I can’t imagine. I had twins, but I have — I just can’t imagine having eight at once and the responsibility that that brings.
People.com: Octuplet mom’s home in default
Behar: Why do you suppose this woman has provoked such negativity They have a “USA Today” Gallup poll saying 70 percent of those surveyed are unsympathetic to this woman. What is going on Michelle Duggar: Well, you know, I feel like probably more than anything it’s just the fact of the responsibility issues from their perspective, and I, you know, I imagine that’s probably more of the animosity that’s out there. And so — but I do — I just can’t imagine, you know, her — how she’s going to handle that many little ones under the age of 8. That’s a lot of little ones all at once. Jim Bob Duggar: We just need to pray for her. Behar: But you guys haven’t experienced that kind of hostility for the children you have. Is that because you’re married Michelle Duggar: I don’t know. I think maybe, you know, being that God’s given ours one or two at a time and we’ve kind of done it the old-fashioned way, I don’t know. We love them, we’re enjoying them, and by God’s grace we’re taking care of them if he gives us one more. So I just think we’re grateful. Behar: I understand that you guys are debt free. I can’t even imagine how you pulled that off. … How did you do that Jim Bob Duggar: Well, back about 18 years ago, we saw Jim Sammons’ financial seminar on DVD, and it was life-changing. At that point, we purposed to try to get out of debt and try to stay out of debt. And our family motto is to buy used and save the difference. We shop a lot at garage sales, thrift stores. Michelle Duggar: Auctions. We bought our industrial kitchen equipment that way, our vehicles that way, and so we really cut corners and we live very frugally. Jim Bob Duggar: That’s right, we’ve never bought a new vehicle. So we do live — we try to — we know how to stretch a dollar. Behar: How many cars do you have Jim Bob Duggar: We actually have probably about, what Seven or eight right now Michelle Duggar: We have a lot of drivers, which is great. Behar: Seven or eight cars, well, that’s an expensive proposition, isn’t it Do you get public assistance of any kind Jim Bob Duggar: No, we don’t — we’ve never had any public assistance. Just like our 21-passenger bus, we bought at a sealed-bid auction for $2,100, we bought an ’04 Suburban at an auction for like $7,000. Instead of $40,000 on a vehicle we … Behar: Yeah, I got it. I see what you’re doing. But you have a book deal and a TV show. That’s got to help. Do you think the octomom could get a TV show like you have That might help her a lot. Michelle Duggar: I could not imagine having that many little ones and being busy with a show. I think for our situation, our children are a lot older and our heart is really to just share with other families, encourage them that children are a gift and enjoy them while you have them because they grow up really fast. And so … Behar: Well, you keep having more. But you have plenty to still enjoy. They keep coming. I don’t see that you’re ever going to have an empty nest syndrome. They’re going to be there. Michelle Duggar: I hope not. Behar: You guys will never be alone. Michelle Duggar: We look forward to grandbabies, then. That’ll be fun. Behar: You know, let me ask you one more question about her. If she did get involved in doing a reality show like you guys are doing, do you have any advice for her What kind of show should she have Maybe she needs a baseball team or something. What advice could you give her Michelle Duggar: I don’t — I really — I don’t know. Jim Bob Duggar: Yeah, I think it’s a full-time job just taking care of the children while they’re young. Maybe 10 years from now when the kids are 10 years old, that might be an option. But when they’re all small, I think there’s a lot of needs. And so, I think, she’ll have her hands full. As I know when we had seven that were 7 and under, it was a very busy time. Behar: Are you going to have some more, Michelle Jim Bob Duggar: I’ve always left it up to Michelle. Michelle Duggar: We’ll see. We’ll take it one at a time. I would love more, but we’ll see if the Lord sees fit and blesses us with another one. Behar: Do you ever say to Jim Bob, get away from me, I have a headache Jim Bob Duggar: Actually, I can’t keep her away from me. Behar: Oh, boy. You guys are funny. OK, thanks so much for sharing your time with us yet again. Good luck to you both.
Michelle Duggar: Thank you. Jim Bob Duggar: Thank you, Joy.