Kelly Jo Bates

Kelly Jo Bates was born on October 26, 1966, to Betty Smith Callaham and Kenneth Callaham Sr. She was the fourth child of the pair, and her mother later adopted two more kids. Her parents split at some time while she was a little child. Once Bates reached adulthood, her mother remarried again, her third spouse, following the demise of her second. At Anderson University, Anderson, South Carolina, Bates started her undergraduate career. There, she also met William Gilvin “Gil” Bates Jr. as members of the same ministry team, and she assisted Gil in the lab when he needed help with his chemistry lesson. At Jefferson City’s Carson-Newman University, the two later changed their enrollment. In October 1987, while they were still in school, Gil proposed to her and they exchanged vows on December 19, 1987.

Fast Facts

Full Name:

Kelly Jo Callaham

Birth date:

October 26, 1966



Zodiac Sign:



5' 5"

Relationship Status:


Net Worth:

$600 thousand

Kelly's Social Media:


The Duggar family, who are close friends of Kelly Jo Bates’ family, debuted their reality series, “17 Kids and Counting,” on T.L.C., in 2008. The Bates family was first presented to the show’s viewers in the October 13, 2008 episode, ‘When Big Families Collide.’ Throughout the show’s 10-season run, Bates and her family would later make several appearances.

Before the launch of their own T.L.C. program, “United Bates of America,” on August 13, 2012, the family was briefly introduced in a special episode of the show called “The Bates Family: And Baby Makes 19,” which aired on March 13, 2012. Before declaring its cancellation on October 6, 2012, the program aired for one season. The family said they had started production for a second reality series, “Bringing Up Bates,” on November 18, 2014. The series debuted on UpTV on January 1, 2015, and was terminated after 10 seasons on January 18, 2022.

Zachary Gilvin, the couple’s first child, was born on December 30, 1988, against Kelly and Gil’s plans, which included waiting until they had been married for five years before starting a family. Bates had her first two children at a hospital, but she had her subsequent children at home with a midwife’s help.

Since her eldest child was old enough to start school, Bates has been homeschooling her kids. She also teaches her kids how to take care of the house by assigning them duties to keep things running smoothly. Even though she’s friends and relatives have voiced concern about her health after having so many kids, Bates tells them she is well. After the birth of her twentieth child, she gave an interview in which she claimed, “I have not had health difficulties and have had relatively simple pregnancies.”

Career timeline

December 30, 1988
Kelly Bates’ First Child is Born

Zachary Gilvin, the couple's first child, is born.

The First Reality Show

The Duggar family, who are good friends with Bates and her family, debuts their reality series, "17 Kids and Counting," on T.L.C., starring Bates and her family.

March 13, 2012
Bates Introduces the “United Bates of America”

Before the release of their own T.L.C. program, “United Bates of America,” the Bates family is reintroduced in a special episode of the show called ‘The Bates Family: And Baby Makes 19.’

January 1, 2015
“Bringing Up Bates”

"Bringing Up Bates" debuts on UpTV.

Why We Love Kelly Jo Bates

  1. She is a great example

    She is a great example of what it means to be a strong woman who loves her family and God. She loves her husband more than anything in the world. She says they have been married for 35 years because they have learned how to communicate well with each other over the years.

  2. She's not afraid to stand up for herself

    The Bates have also had to deal with criticism from people who think they shouldn't have so many kids. But she knows what she wants out of life and isn't afraid to stand up for herself.

  3. She's a role model for women

    Bates has always been a positive role model for women. She can show that a mother's job is very noble. She takes care of 19 children at once, making her an inspiration to mothers caring for their children.

5 Surprising Facts

  1. She has 476,000 followers on Instagram

    While Kelly Jo Bates does not have a personal Instagram account, she does share one with her partner, who now has 476,000 Instagram followers.

  2. Bates has 19 children

    She has 19 children, 10 girls and nine boys.

  3. Bates' unusual idea

    According to her husband, her idea is to have many kids.

  4. They lived in a five-bedroom house

    Nineteen kids were living with the Bates family in their five-bedroom home.

  5. All her children are homeschooled

    All of the Bates family's children have been homeschooled.

Kelly Jo Bates FAQs

Do the Bates family believe in birth control?

The Bates are devout evangelical Christians who oppose the use of contraception. They have so many kids as a result.

Are the Duggars still friends with Bates?

Yes, they are. The couples got together while they were only kids and have been close since then. They see each other frequently. Even though Kelly Jo and Gil Bates have distanced themselves a little from Jim Bob and Michelle, several of their kids still get along well with the Duggar kids.

How many grandchildren does Kelly Bates have?

Over the years, many of their children have married, leaving the couple with 14 grandkids and counting. Bates stated on Instagram that her grandchildren make her world so bright and wonderful. The best treatment ever, she exclaimed.

Kelly Jo Bates’s birthday dates

2024October 26Saturday
2025October 26Sunday
2026October 26Monday
2027October 26Tuesday
2028October 26Thursday

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