20-year-old Kendra Caldwell first came to our attention when she began dating Joe Duggar from the popular reality TV show, Counting On. A spin-off show of 19 Kids and Counting, Counting On follows the exploits of the Duggar’s, a family known for their strict faith and somewhat old-fashioned habits. Over the past 2 years, we’ve followed Joe and Kendra as they’ve progressed from shy teenage lovers to a committed married couple. With baby number 2 already on the way, this is one family that’s set to get big, in more ways than one. To find out more about the young star, keep reading.
1. Her father is a pastor
Kendra was born on August 11, 1998, to parents, Paul and Christina Caldwell. Kendra was raised in Woodbridge, Virginia, a small town in which her father served as the local pastor of Heritage Baptist Church. In 2008, the family uprooted from their home to move to Fayetteville, Arkansas, after her father was tasked by Baptist International Missions, Inc. with starting a new church in the district. For Kendra, the move would prove more than fortuitous, for it was at that same church, the Lighthouse Baptist Church, that she would first meet future husband, Joseph Duggar.
2. She has 7 siblings
Kendra comes from a huge family and has a total of 7 siblings: sisters Lauren and Olivia, and brothers Micah, Nathan, Timothy, and Jesiah. Jesiah the youngest, was born in January 2018, but the pregnancy for mom Christina was tough, as she suffered from premature contradictions and frequent pain. The problems were related to a car accident she’d been involved in years before, 36 weeks into her pregnancy with Kendra. “She has always struggled with each pregnancy after having me, because she was in a car accident when she was 36 weeks along with me,” Kendra has explained. “It caused a lot of damage, and so, every other pregnancy since then, she has had problems with having contractions prematurely.”
3. Joe proposed to her at his sister-in-law’s wedding
After meeting at the Lighthouse Baptist Church, Joe expressed his interest in dating Kendra at the lot in which his childhood home had once stood. Kendra accepted his invitation to a date, and just two months later on May 26, 2017, Joe proposed at the wedding reception of his sister in law, Joy-Anna. Joy stunned the surprised Kendra when she pretended to toss the wedding bouquet into the crowd, only to turn to her and present it at the last minute. Joe quickly turned her puzzlement to delight when he got down on bended knee to pop the question.
4. Her first date was chaperoned
As fans of Counting On will know, the Duggar’s are firm advocates of tradition and the “proper” way of doing things – something that was more than evident on Joe and Kendra’s first date. The pair decided to go rollerblading for the occasion, but if they were hoping for some alone time, they were out of luck. Accompanying them on their date were “chaperones” 16-year-old James Duggar and 13-year-old Jackson Duggar. Explaining the purpose of their presence, the brothers explained: “The responsibility of a chaperone is to make sure they don’t do things they’re not supposed to do, like …” James began, before Jackson added “… no holding hands and no kissing!”
5. Her wedding was a family affair
Following on from their short courtship, the couple enjoyed an even shorter engagement, marrying just a few months after Joe’s proposal on September 8, 2017. The ceremony was a decidedly family affair, with Kendra’s sister Lauren serving as maid of honor, her other sister Olivia acting as flower girl, and her brothers Nathan and Timothy doing their duty as ring bearers. Kendra also managed to round up a sizeable gaggle of bridesmaids, which included mom, Christina, and future sisters-in-law Jana, Johannah, Jennifer, Jill, Jessa, Jinger, and Joy-Anna in their number.
6. She announced her first pregnancy in December 2017
Cleary Kendra and Joe aren’t ones to hang around: on December 18, 2017, just over three months after their wedding, they made the happy announcement they were expecting their first child. Baby Garret David was born on June 8 the following year, weighing in at a healthy 7 lbs, 8 oz.
7. Baby number 2 is on the way
In March 2019, Kendra revealed to her mom during an episode of Counting On that despite being very happy as a new mom to little Garret, she was looking forward to a break before having another one. As it transpired, that break didn’t last long, as, on June 25, 2019, she and Joe revealed they were expecting their second child, a baby daughter.
8. She’s learning to embrace social media
Despite leading a very public life on Counting On, Kendra and the Duggar family have been slow to catch on to the social media trend, and it wasn’t until March this year that she and Joe launched their own Instagram page. Since then, she’s been busy making up for lost time, delighting fans with pictures of her growing family.
9. She bonded with her mom during her pregnancy
In somewhat unusual circumstances, Kendra’s first pregnancy overlapped with her mom’s eighth. The shared experience helped the already close pair to bond even further. “We found that my mom was expecting about a month ago,” Kendra explained during an episode of Counting On. “I think this has definitely been really interesting because we’ve been able to share a lot of things that we didn’t get to share before so I feel like we’ve become even more like friends”.
10. She honeymooned at home
While most Duggar’s celebrate their nuptials by honeymooning at some far-flung exotic destination, Kendra and Joe decided to eschew tradition and celebrate the first few weeks of their married life at home instead. They clearly had plenty to keep them occupied though, at least if the many YouTube videos they posted of them learning how to make oatmeal cookies are anything to go by.