When Michelle Duggar first came to fame, her uneasy financial situation quickly became a source of public fascination.
How, fans wondered, could she support so many children on a single income, and with no inherited wealth?
Indeed, Michelle didn’t work outside the home (Duggar women generally aren’t allowed to), and neither she nor husband Jim Bob came from money.
But that didn’t stop them from welcoming a whopping 19 children.
Of course, against all odds, that turned out to be a sound financial decision.
After all, it was Jim Bob and Michelle’s massive family that made them reality TV stars.
And the couple used that fame as a springboard to launch a multimillion dollar media empire.
And then it all came crashing down.
First, the world learned that the couple’s eldest son, Josh Duggar, had molested five young girls while still under his parents’ care.
Despite the evidence that Jim Bob and Michelle helped Josh hide his crimes, the family’s business partnership with TLC somehow survived.
The Duggars were able to keep their reality show (albeit with a new title) so long as they promised not to feature Josh on any new episodes.
That arrangement was not long for this world, however.
He’s currently serving a 12-year sentence in federal prison for his crimes.
Needless to say, the Duggars’ days as an influential reality TV family have finally — and thankfully — come to an end.
So how have Josh’s transgressions affected Michelle’s bank account?
Well, according to UK tabloid The Sun, the Duggars stand to “lose $850,000 a year” as a result of their show’s cancelation.
“The family was roughly paid $80k for each chunk of filming, and some seasons were longer than others, but they were picking up on average $850k a season,” one insider tells the outlet.
It was around this time last year that Jim Bob and Michelle confirmed that the show would not be returning (of course they didn’t use the word “canceled” or mention Josh at all).
“It is hard to believe that more than 17 years have passed since we were first contacted by a production company wanting to do a one-hour documentary about the logistics of raising 14 children,” read a statement the couple posted online.
“Our family has grown (and grown up!) before our eyes and on national television, and the journey has been miraculous — following God is an exciting adventure!”
Jim Bob still has real estate concern and other business ventures.
Michelle, however, has no income of her own.
And because Duggar women are not permitted to work outside of the home, she never will.
Despite that, Michelle’s net worth is estimated at roughly $3.5 million by Celebrity Net Worth.
How is that possible?
Well, Michelle is technically a partner in all of Jim Bob’s businesses, even though she likely has very little say in how the companies are run.
Now, she also probably doesn’t get to decide how to spend all of that money.
So Michelle’s wealth is largely symbolic.
The good news is that if she ever decides to divorce Jim Bob, she’ll be a very wealthy woman.
The bad news is that Michelle believes divorcees burn in hell for eternity, so she’ll probably never take that step.
But at least she can look at her joint bank account and dream!