Bill and Barb Putman have been married since 1983. Following their decision to become husband and wife, the pair welcomed four kids into the world: three boys, Billy, Brandon, Blake, and one daughter, Blair.
As the kids got older, they all married and gave Bill and Barb grandchildren.
According to MLive:
[Billy and his wife, Jennifer] now have four children: Isabelle, Abbigail, Addison and Gabby. Brandon and [his wife,] Kacie have five children: Emma, Bella, Mya, Nova and Gia. Blake and [his wife,] Megan have four children: Mercy, Noah, Lulu and Alena. [And] Blair and [her husband,] Jamie have two children today, Jonah and Eli.
That makes for a total of 26 Putmans— and they all still live under the same roof … by choice.
Some of the members of the family told MLive that living together “just made sense,” as most of the family works in their demolition, construction, and commercial real estate business.
However, for Bill, living with his entire family under one roof means so much more. As he said on their TLC show, “Meet the Putmans,” Bill became an orphan at 8 years old:
“It was a living hell. Being an orphan teaches you how to love because you don’t have it. I brought that to the family. That’s why there is so many of us (living together).”
Now, Bill is wondering if his idea of the whole family living together under one roof is preventing his children from experiencing a life outside of their loving walls.
As the show has documented, the Putmans are currently in the process of building a 35,000-square-foot home that has 17 bedrooms, 15 bathrooms, a “man-arena,” and a craft room for the women.
And while Blair and Jamie were initially excited to move into the home with the rest of their close-knit family, Jamie was offered an opportunity that he wasn’t sure he wanted to refuse — an opportunity that would take him, his wife, and his kids out of state for over a year.
Blair told the cameras:
“I’ve lived with my family for 24-25 years, and I’ve never lived far from my family.”
Jamie is currently in the residency portion of medical school. However, there isn’t a fellowship he can apply for that allows them to stay in their native Michigan, meaning they would have to move away from the Putman crew for at least a year, maybe more.
Blair explained her reservations to her husband:
“It’s not easy, you know, to realize that it’s going to take us a year to, it’s going to take us away from the family for a whole year.”
Blair’s fears are something Jamie understood, which is why he didn’t want to accept the fellowship until he knew for sure that his wife was going to be comfortable with the big move.
He told her:
“There are some unknowns, sometimes, in doing new things, but that’s kind of part of the reason you do it. It’s not always comfortable, it’s not always easy. But you have to kind of do what you know will be best for us.”
And with that being said, Blair told her husband to “do it,” to apply to the fellowship he wants. The most dreadful task followed — Blair having to tell her family their future plans. And they decided to broach the subject with Blair’s dad Bill one-on-one.
Bill admitted that the news caught him off guard, saying that he “never thought he would be that long-distant parent.” But it also got him thinking. Bill explained to his family:
“I got some terrible news and I’m distraught. Blair and Jamie came over tonight … and the vision that we have for living together, is going to be postponed again. Jamie told me about doing a fellowship for OBGYN, and it’s going to take them out of Michigan. It was like something hit me with a rock.”
Bill went on to say that he was initially “pissed” off by the news of Blair and Jamie leaving the state. Brandon echoed those sentiments, arguing that they all made a commitment to each other.
And although Bill tried to discourage them from leaving, he realized in the end that his actions were maybe selfish:
“I want every one of you to chase your dreams. My dream is to have this huge family like we got. Just because this is my dream and mom’s dream, it don’t have to be your dream. If you have a dream that supersedes this, then that’s OK. I mean, I still love you with all of my heart and Blake, if you want to take your family and go, it’s OK. It’s OK, Brandon, the same with you and Billy, cause now I’m insecure. I started thinking maybe I’m holding you guys back cause you love me, too, and you don’t want to hurt me by moving out.”
The three brothers said that none of them felt like they were being held back by their father. In fact, they all stay because they can’t think of a better way to raise a family.