Father’s Day is always a main event for families, but if you have 14 kids under your roof it’s likely to be celebrated on a whole different level. With that said, enter the Derricos—the upsized clan that is the subject of the TLC cable series Doubling Down With the Derricos.
The show centers on the daily life—peppered with laughter and sometimes tears—of the family headed by dad Deon Derrico and mom Karen, along with a lively brood that includes twins, triplets and quintuplets!
The Derricos first caught the public’s eye with the birth of their quints eight years ago, which led to being spotlighted on such programs as Good Morning America and The Today Show. From that point on—given America’s fascination with multiple birth families—a “reality” show was in the cards.
Born in Detroit, Deon, 50, was one of two boys raised by a single mom, which begs the million dollar—or maybe the 14 million dollar question—how did he wind up a dad of 14? According to Deon, he always had a strong desire for a large family and a desire to be the kind of father he longed for but didn’t have in his own life as a child. And then there’s wife Karen, 41, who he says responded to his query of how many kids she wanted when they first started dating this way: “She gave me the golden answer that I never ever anticipated, which was she wanted as many as God would bless her with, and that was impressive,” he tells EBONY.
Those blessings were not immediate for the pair, despite both having a history of multiple births in their family lineages. They struggled to conceive, plus their first two pregnancies ended in miscarriages. But in 2006, they successfully delivered their first born, daughter Darian, followed by more children to come. Son Derrick, 10, arrived about five years later; followed closely by twin boys Dallas and Denver, 9; then there were their quintuplets Deniko and Dariz (boys) and Deonee, Daician and Daiten (girls), 7; their 4-year-old sons Diez and Dior; and finally another set of triplets—girls Dawsyn and De’Aren, plus brother Dyver, 1½.
This new season takes on more of the family’s daily dramas including 15-year-old Darian flexing her independence, and a health issue impacting young Diez.
Deon’s mom, who helps the couple out with their burgeoning brood, is also a part of the show. “My father’s inability to father me properly is what made me the father that I am—coupled with my mom’s ability to be a great mother and pick up the slack,” Deon says. He notes that when he was a child his mom would give him examples of what a man should do. “My mother never put my father down; she never talked about him negatively. When I became an adult she told me all the choice conversations she had with him on my behalf in regards to him not being there for me,” he adds. “As an adult I believe somewhere deep down inside that my father [who passed away in 2011] did love me, but he didn’t know how to express it.”
One thing he and his wife Karen try to do is give each child solo attention. “We make it a point to take them out individually. For instance, I may run to the grocery store and I may take Darian or I might go to one of the rental properties and I’ll take Derrick, then I go to Home Depot to buy something for the rental properties. That allows us to have that one-on-one time with each child, giving them that sense of being special.”
Doubling Down With the Derricos airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. EST on TLC cable network.