Behind The Beards Of 'Duck Dynasty'

Before the popularity of Duck Dynasty, the family had humble beginnings and, surprisingly, no beards. INSIDE EDITION explains.

Phil Robertson could have played for the NFL, but he quit to go duck hunting. It sounds far-fetched, but it's true.

Long before the beard, Phil was a clean-shaven star quarterback at Louisiana Tech back in 1967. He was actually considered as good a quarterback as his teammate, football great Terry Bradshaw.

Bradshaw said on FOX Sports, "He quit because he knew his passion was duck hunting. He knew my passion was football. He left and that is how I got the starting job. I did not beat him out. He quit."

Phil actually has a masters degree in education. He married his childhood sweetheart Kay, and became a teacher. In his 20s, he acknowledges he struggled with drugs and alcohol.

His wife said, "What I saw was that Phil had never drank before and he started drinking, smoking dope, pills, he took other things."

But he found God and turned his life around.

He started making duck calls out of a small backwoods shed. Money was tight as Kay once told INSIDE EDITION. She said, “We raised four boys in a 1,400-square-foot house with one bathroom."

Their sons, Willie, Jep and Jase, are now the stars of Duck Dynasty. They all work in the family business that has made them millionaires. Willie has a business degree. It was his vision and savvy that turned the family business into an empire. Now, they live in gorgeous homes.

Photos of Willie show him with his young family before he grew a beard.

Middle brother Jase's wife Missy told INSIDE EDITION she's prefers him clean shaven. She said, “I don’t care for the whiskers.”

Another photo shows Jep clean shaven with his family.

They grew those beards as a symbol of their deep religious faith.

The glamorous women of Duck Dynasty are quite a sharp contrast to their scruffy husbands. They definitely prefer designer clothes over duck-hunting gear.

Willie's daughter, Sadie even helped design a line of prom dresses that were shown during New York’s Fashion Week.

Now, the family is rallying together as the debate over Phil’s extreme views wages on.