The Busby family, led by patriarch Adam Busby and matriarch Danielle Busby, gained a national platform when they gave birth to America’s first all-female quintuplets in 2015. The parents — who already had a 4-year-old named Blayke at the time — then became mom and dad to Hazel, Olivia, Ava, Parker, and Riley. Their TLC show, called OutDaughtered, soon followed, capturing the adorable gang’s adventures and milestones for millions of viewers. As of October 2019, the show is on its sixth season, an impressive feat even considering the naturally intriquing spectacle that is the Houston, Texas family.
But amid all the fame and personal wins, there has been plenty of criticism from fans. To call it public parental shaming doesn’t even do justice to the ringer Adam and Danielle have been through where it concerns viewers questioning their judgment. At times, the backlash has become so intense, the young parents have addressed the incidents publicly, which is just what they need in between wrangling six kids, right? But, are the fans completely off-base here, or Adam and Danielle just bucking some parenting norms?
Let’s get to the bottom of it as we rehash the most controversial decisions the Busbys have ever made.
Who knew kindergarten could cause so much drama?
There’s no denying Riley Busby is one smart cookie. When taking a placement test, for instance, she scored an 84 when the average mark is 40. « If we can get her to scoring about an 84 on test three, I want us to really look at putting her in the advanced placement class, which is a really big deal, » an impressed teacher told Adam and Danielle Busby at the time. In response, Danielle joked, « I don’t know if I can handle a smart kid. »
As it turns out, Riley did really well on her tests and was encouraged to skip preschool for kindergarten. And although the decision was tough on the Busbys (they grappled with separating Riley from her sisters), they felt it was best for their mini-genius to bypass a grade. « First day of kindergarten in the books and she CRUSHED it! » Adam captioned a shot of Riley in August 2019. « So incredibly proud of this little kid. »
Despite Riley’s success, some people questioned the move, which prompted Adam to reply (via In Touch): « So many people that don’t actually know my child think that they know better than us, the parents … there have been 6 parents in world history that know what it’s like to raise all-girl quints with all of the complexities that we deal with on the daily. We are making the best decisions that we can; knowing what we know. » Well-said.
Yes, people even judge the Busbys’ decisions on door locks
Most of the time Danielle and Adam Busby’s controversial decisions revolve around seemingly small issues. Case in point: In June 2019, a fan on Twitter slammed the couple for choosing not to remove the locks on the quints’ bedroom doors. « #OutDaughtered Geez, every parent should know you do not have bedroom doors with locks especially on toddler doors. Bad move there, » they wrote. The logic behind this probably revolves around potential safety concerns, as Dr. Lynelle Schneeberg, a licensed clinical psychologist, Yale educator, and Fellow of American Academy of Sleep Medicine, highlighted to Fatherly: « It’s not OK to lock kids in their rooms. Besides the fact that, with a well-thought-out gentle behavioral plan, it is not necessary, there is also the vital reason of safety. If there is a fire or some sort of dangerous occurrence in the home, it is possible that the child would not be able to get out of the room or the home. »
That being said, however, we don’t know the other safety precautions Adam and Danielle have in place for the quints. What’s more? It’s not really any of our business. Adam touched on this sentiment in his reply to the commenter, writing, « Hey we have a perfect parent joining us tonight! Welcome to the party! Thanks for all the great criticism…I mean advice… »
No, Adam up there is clearly not here for the drama.
Even in a crisis, these Outdaughtered stars caught heat
One would think Danielle and Adam Busby could manage to avoid controversy during a crisis, but this hasn’t always been the case. This was evident in June 2019, when the Busby family caught heat for a decision involving their home. It all started when the couple realized their home was infected with a dangerous mold, which possibly caused Ava Busby’s wheezing issues and Blayke Busby’s ongoing dry cough. And given the « astronomical » levels of mold present, Danielle understandably wanted to leave her home ASAP. « That’s not good enough, Adam, » Danielle said when Adam tried to reassure her about the problem. « It’s not good enough because I don’t want to be in this house. »
So the family ended up staying at Danielle’s sister’s house for a period of time, a decision some people took umbrage with. « I think it was very selfish to intrude on your sister’s household, » one commenter wrote (via Showbiz Cheatsheet) on an Instagram clip highlighting the massive sleepover. « You knew she wouldn’t say no you couldn’t stay but y’all should have gotten a hotel room. No way you should be moving eight people in someone’s home. » Another fan slammed the parents for the quints’ supposed wild behavior in the house, arguing, « Those girls need discipline!! »
Of course, we’re sure Danielle’s sister was happy to have her nieces over. That’s what family is for, right?
Not everyone applauded Adam Busby’s postpartum depression revelation
Adam Busby made the brave decision in July 2017 to speak about his struggle with postpartum depression, a move many fans applauded him for, as mental health can still be a taboo topic. « It totally got worse and worse, but it crept in, » Adam told ABC News about his mental state after the quints were born in April 2015. « The babies, providing for my family and the kids and stuff, I felt like it was just constantly on my mind to where it’s really hard to focus on anything else. I started withdrawing from friends that I’ve talked to on a daily basis. I didn’t feel like engaging with people … just because of the weight and constantly thinking about all this stuff that I have to prepare for. »
Sadly, some commenters slammed Adam’s choice to open up, with some questioning whether a man can experience postpartum depression. « Adam Busby is such a whiner. He needs to grow up, man up and get real, » one person wrote, adding, « He doesn’t have postpartum depression. »
For the record, numerous studies have shown that men can go through postpartum depression. And the more dads who open up about this condition, the better.
The lipstick-gate controversy was real
The decision to let a child wear makeup is a very personal one, with some parents thinking it’s okay in small quantities. Adam Busby seems to fall in this camp, as he let his eldest daughter, Blayke, wear a little red lipstick to a father-daughter dance. « Take that lipstick off Little Blayke, your only little once, stay that way, beautiful!!! » one fan commented on Adam’s Instagram pic of the moment, while another person said, « Gosh she is tooooooo young for hooker red lipstick! Why do parents do this to their young kids? » Jeez.
« That’s the whole point. She is a kid that loves dress up, » the dad replied (via Entertainment Daily!) to one critical comment. « This was a night just for her and to get dressed up. she wanted to do her nails and wear red lipstick, so I allowed it. It made the night that much special for her. I don’t need your approval. »
Whether you agree with Adam’s decision or not, it’s clear some people are intent on sharing their opinions with the reality star.
Adam Busby’s new job created a whirlwind of controversy
The Busbys underwent a big life change in July 2019 when Adam Busby was offered a new job. And although career changes typically yield positive reactions, Adam’s new gig didn’t make Danielle Busby happy, because he might have to leave town two times a month. Her frustration centered around trying to parent a gaggle of kids solo, but some people boiled her reaction down to selfishness. « Your husband accepted a good job to better you and your kids why are you angry? I’m away from my husband for months at a time with him being military and you’re upset he might have to leave for 2 times a month, » a fan reportedly commented on one of Danielle’s Instagrams (via In Touch Weekly), while another fan said, « I feel that you are very selfish with the [move] to Dallas and that you did not care that what makes him happy. »
Everything has seemed to work out so far for the couple, and we’re sure this hiccup is in their rearview mirror. Not to mention, Adam once insinuated reality TV doesn’t always paint a clear picture. « Our marriage is rock solid, » he tweeted in July 2017. « Don’t ever doubt that no matter what you see on our show. »
Critics accused the Busbys of playing favorites
In a not-so-surprising twist, some people have accused Danielle and Adam Busby of making the decision to play favorites among their children. This has sparked ongoing backlash, with many viewers taking to their social media accounts to slam them for being uneven with their love. Heck, there’s even an entire Reddit thread dedicated to this exact issue. « Is it just me that noticed or does or [sic] seem that Danielle and Adam favor Hazel over the rest of the quints while Danielle favors Blayke over any of the quints, » one person wrote. « Anytime Adam comes home from work all you can hear is « hazel basil » As the girls are older now, my guess is they’d begin to notice this. » Another fan questioned Danielle (via Pop Culture): « Danielle’s always with the twins, I never really see her that much with the other 3, so sad poor haze,riri and pk. I love Adam the most bc he’s always with ALL the girls. »
Unfortunately, Danielle had to come out publicly and explain that she doesn’t consciously play favorites. « I 100-percent know my heart and my love for all my kids are equal, » Danielle told In Touch Weekly. « I may not get around to posting ‘enough’ of something … but since when is love based off of how much we post on social media? » In our opinion, we think Danielle handled this controversy pretty well.
Adam and Danielle Busby are always on the offensive
When you’re on reality TV, you have to get used to the haters and prepare yourself for ongoing backlash. No one knows this better the Busbys, who have to carefully review everything they post because « people are looking » at their « posts under a microscope just to find out what they can criticize about it, » as Adam Busby noted to People. Adam also expressed frustration with fans finding controversy in most everything they do, writing, « It’s crazy. And I don’t know what it is. Is it just to mask one’s own insecurities so they can have this persona online that they have everything together if they shame another mom? It’s really bizarre. »
Danielle also touched on their biggest controversy to date, aka enrolling Riley in kindergarten. « Riley’s above and beyond with her intelligence, » she explained. « Knowing where she’s at right now, this was our decision based on her. Of course we looked at the family and how this change affects everyone else. »
See? The Busbys are making informed and careful decisions about their kids, so fans should consider dialing back all of the criticism. It’s obvious they’re doing a great job.