Michael Christian "Michaella" (Bates) Keilen is the daughter of Gil and Kelly Bates. She is the younger sister of Zach Bates, and the older sister of Lawson, Nathan, Trace, Carlin, Katie, Jackson, Warden, Isaiah, Addallee, Ellie, Callie, Judson, and Jeb Bates, Erin PaineAlyssa Webster, Tori Smith, and Josie Balka. She is the wife of Brandon Keilen.

Early Life

Michaela baby

Michaela at 1 year old

Michal Christian Bates was born on January 23, 1990, to Gil Bates and Kelly Jo Callaham. She was the couple's second child, and they went on to have seventeen more children after her. When she was still an infant, her parents legally changed the spelling of her name from "Michal" to "Michael" after deciding they were unhappy with the connotations that the Biblical name carried. When she was about five or six years old, Michael was unhappy with having what she considered a boy's name, so she began going by the nickname "Michaella".[1] At some point as an adult, she changed the spelling of her nickname to "Michaela", as indicated on her personal website.[2]

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Michaela and two of her sisters wearing dresses she made

Michaela learned to sew as a child, and by the time she was a teenager she made many of her family's dresses.[3] At some point, she also began making modest swimsuits for her family as well. Growing up, Michaela was responsible for doing the family's laundry.[4]

Michaela reading

Michaela reading her Bible as a teenager

Along with her siblings, Michaela was homeschooled growing up.[5]

At fifteen years old, Michael became a Christian. Growing up, she dreamed of love, marriage, and a family, and would often pray for her future spouse.[6]


Michaela nanny

Michaela working as a nanny

When Michaela was in her late teens, she became a licensed EMT. She also worked as a nanny for many years.[7] She took classes through College Plus for awhile.[8] After getting married, she began taking online classes from Roane State, where she's pursuing a degree in liberal arts with a minor in health science. [9]

Television Career

Michaela appeared on the TLC show 19 Kids and Counting many times as a teenager and young adult. In 2012, TLC aired one season of the show United Bates of America, which focused on Michaela's family. In 2015, UpTV began airing a similar show, Bringing Up Bates, which is currently in its sixth season. Michaela has been featured on both shows.

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Michaela on her mission trip

Missionary Work

In July of 2013, Michaela and her friend Jana Duggar went on a mission trip to Honduras and El Salvador with a group of seven other girls from SOS Ministries. Michaela's involvement in the trip was funded by an anonymous sponsor. While there, Michaela worked at an orphanage, leading Bible studies, perfoming skits, and sharing the gospel.[10] It is likely that Michaela has been on other mission trips as well.



Michaela with her Journey to the Heart group in 2009

Brandon Keilen

Shortly after her nineteenth birthday, Michaela traveled to Chicago, IL, with her family. While there, she saw a young man helping an older man walk in the snow, and was impressed by the man's kindness. She went on to Michigan to attend Journey to the Heart, but when she returned she learned that her family had met the young man, Brandon Keilen, and he had made an impression on them too. Michaela got to know Brandon over the next few years, and found herself attracted to him. Two years later, while spending a few weeks in Chicago, she grew closer to him, and begin praying for him frequently. She did her best not to reveal her feelings, as she didn't want to lure him into a relationship. The two remained friends while Brandon attended Bible college.

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Michaela and Brandon shortly after entering a courtship


On November 29, 2013, Michaela's father told her that someone had asked permission to get to know her better. She reminded her parents that she was only interested in one guy and was not interested in any other suitors, only to learn that the interested man was Brandon.[11]

On December 30, 2013, Michaela arrived at Brandon's family home in Lansing, Michigan. Brandon and his sisters took her to The English Inn, where they had a table decorated for her. Brandon gave her a journal engraved with her name, which had a dozen photos filled with a fairy tale he had written about them. He then presented her with a box that contained a dried rose covered in gold. When she opened the box, Brandon asked her to begin courting her, which she accepted.[12]

The two had a longer courtship than is typical, due to the fact that Brandon was not allowed to get engaged until graduating from Bible college.

Brandon proposing

Brandon proposing to Michaela


On April 13, 2015, Michaela and her parents took a trip to Washington, D.C., where Brandon was visiting his sister. Although Michaela thought this trip was a surprise for Brandon, he had secretly been planning it with her parents the whole time.[13] Brandon had planned a scavenger hunt, leaving clues at seven different locations, with Michaela finally arriving in Great Falls, Virginia, where Brandon proposed and Michaela said yes.[14]

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Michaela's wedding to Brandon Keilen


Michaela married Brandon Keilen on August 15, 2015, at Wallace Memorial Baptist Church in Knoxville, TN.[15] Her bridesmaids were her sisters Alyssa Webster and Tori Bates, sisters-in-law Angie, Becky, and Christy Keilen, and close friend Jana Duggar, with both her mother Kelly Jo Bates and her sister Erin Paine serving as matrons of honor. [16]


Michaela and Brandon on their honeymoon

For their honeymoon, the couple went to Montana and Wyoming.

Married Life

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Michaela and Brandon in Chicago in 2015

After their honeymoon, Michaela moved in with Brandon in Chicago, IL. "It's definitely different from being home at a farm in the mountains, but I'm loving it," Michaela said of her new life in the city. "It's definitely an adjustment. The cold's very new, but I love married life. We've found a church that we just love, and it's been great."[17]


On June 25, 2017, Michaela shared a post on her blog about her struggles with infertility. The post did not provide many details on her specific health concerns, only that she and her husband had been trying to get pregnant for over a year with no success. The couple has seen a number of doctors over this issue, and is relying on God to get them through this struggle.[18]

Wedding Involvement

Michaela has been involved in the following weddings:

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