“19 Kids and Counting” reality star Jill Dillard, who revealed to Fox News’ Megyn Kelly that she was fondled by her older brother Josh Duggar when she was a child, has left for a long-term mission trip with her husband, Derick Dillard. The pair has not stated where they are going or how long they will be gone, but they revealed in a blog post they wanted to leave the U.S. “for longer than the typical short-term mission trip.” They added that they are “prepared for the possibility of it being years.”
The Dillards had reportedly been eyed for a possible “19 Kids” spin-off as a way to salvage the embattled show. So does the couple’s announcement mean that “19 Kids” is finally done for good?
TLC has not commented on the fate of the reality show since it pulled episodes from the air immediately after Josh Duggar admitted to inappropriately touching four of his younger sisters and a family babysitter when he was about 14 years old. TLC has deleted all mentions of “19 Kids and Counting” from their press site, but a page for the series remains on TLC’s official website. The network did not return FOX411’s request for comment for this story.
The Dillards announced their plans to leave the country in late June—less than two months after the family’s scandal broke—but Jill Dillard’s sister Jessa Seewald, who has also revealed she was one of Josh Duggar’s victims, took to Instagram to declare that the pair had been planning their trip since “late last year.”
So excited for @jillmdillard & @derickdillard! They've been praying about and working towards this transition since late last year, and are so excited to finally be heading to the mission field! Please continue to pray for them! ❤️ And be sure to check out their blog at www.dillardfamily.com "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." Mark 16:15
In a blog post, the couple reiterated that a mission trip abroad has been on their radar “since we first began our relationship.”
“Earlier this year God brought about an opportunity much earlier than either of us was expecting. Several months ago a new opportunity arose for us to serve God on the mission field… After much prayer and seeking Godly counsel, we realized that taking this opportunity and moving overseas in order to serve is the best option for our family.”
The Dillards welcomed their first child on April 6.
The blog post made no mention of how their trip could affect their family’s reality series. Rumors swirled after the Duggar scandal broke that TLC was hoping to put a spinoff on the air that centered on the Dillards and the Seewalds.
Ratings-wise, the spinoff seemed like a good solution to the “19 Kids” dilemma. A special about the birth of the Dillards’ son, Israel, garnered 3.6 million viewers. The Seewald’s wedding brought in even bigger numbers, with 4.3 million viewers.
A rep for the Duggar family did not return FOX411’s request for comment.