Even though the Duggar family is known for its strong religious beliefs and strict rules, Josh, one of Jim Bob and Michelle’s children, has been involved in some disturbing controversies.
Josh Duggar is the first child that Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar had. He was born on March 3, 1988, and just like the rest of his siblings, he was raised in a very conservative house, was homeschooled, and is an Independent Baptist.
“I deeply regret all hurt I have caused so many by being such a bad example. I humbly ask for your forgiveness," Josh said.
In 2006, he attended a Christian homeschooling convention and met Anna Keller, who was still a teen at that point. Soon after that, the pair began courting, which is the equivalent to dating in the Duggars’ environment.
Two years passed by and their love never stopped growing, so on September 26, 2008, the couple tied the knot at Buford Grove Baptist Church in Hillard, Florida. Anna and Josh Duggar chose that location because it was near the bride’s hometown of Gainesville.
Right after marrying, both of them admitted that they were planning on having a large family. Fans of “19 Kids and Counting” didn’t find it surprising as Josh has 18 siblings and Anna has seven.
During an interview with People, Anna said,
“I would love to have as many children as God would bless us with. Growing up in a large family, and Joshua in a mega-family, you learn so much more. I think a large family helps you prepare for life.”
On October 9, 2009, only one month after saying “I do,” Josh and Anna welcomed their first child to the world, a girl named Mackynzie Renée. Apart from that, the baby also became Jim Bob and Michelle’s first grandchild.
Mackynzie was born at her parents’ home with the assistance of a midwife and doula. According to People, Josh was also part of the birth.
Michael James, Josh and Anna’s second child, was born on June 15, 2011, four days earlier than expected. He became Jim Bob and Michelle’s first grandson.
Just as the couple did with their previous kid, they decided to welcome Michael in their house in Tontitown, Arkansas.
On June 2, 2013, the Anna gave birth to her second son and third child, Marcus Anthony, at the home of a midwife who lived close to their place.
With Marcus’ birth, it was clear that Josh and Anna were following Jim Bob and Michelle’s tradition of using the same letter at the beginning of the names of their children. In Jim and Michelle’s case, they chose “J,” while Josh and Anna opted for “M.”
Meredith Grace was born on July 16, 2015. Josh announced her birth on Twitter and added a photo portraying him and Anna flashing their smiles at the camera while the proud mother held her second daughter.
“Announcing the arrival of Meredith Grace Duggar! 7lbs 14 ozs, 20-1/2in -- Anna and Meredith are resting & doing well!” wrote Josh in the caption.
On September 12, 2017, Anna gave birth to her fifth child, a boy named Mason Garrett. According to the announcement shared on the family’s official website, the boy was born without complications.
“The entire family is ecstatic over the arrival of another beautiful blessing. We want to thank everyone for your prayers, kind words and well wishes. We appreciate it much more than we could ever express. We pray God blesses each of you with an abundance of the kindness you’ve shown us,” read the statement.
At the moment, Josh and Anna Duggar are expecting their sixth child. They surprised everybody with a video announcement posted on Instagram that included their five children.
In the clip, Josh gave his kids several sheets with letters on it and instructed them to place them in order on the floor. Once they finished, he asked them to read the sentence: “New baby coming this fall.”
For the caption, Anna wrote:
“We are so excited to announce that we are expecting a new little one! As we watch our children grow and thrive — we look forward to baby six joining us this fall!”
In May 2015, In Touch Weekly revealed that Josh had molested five underage girls between 2002 and 2003 when he was between 14 and 15 years old. The following month, Jim Bob and Michelle talked about the incident publicly for the first time.
The Duggar patriarch said that Josh improperly touched four of their daughters and that the fifth victim was a former babysitter. According to him, Josh did it out of curiosity and touched their breasts and genitals over their clothes while they were sleeping.
After saying that the girls didn’t even notice that Josh touched them, he said that “there were a couple instances where he touched them under their clothes.”
Jessa Seewald and Jill Dillard voluntarily identified themselves as two of the victims and labeled Josh’s actions as a teen “very wrong,” adding that he was not a child molester, pedophile, or rapist, some of the words people were using to describe him.
“The system that was set up to protect kids, both those who make stupid mistakes or have problems like this in their life and the ones that are affected by those choices — it’s greatly failed,” said Jessa.
Later, she pointed out that all they experienced after the molestation allegation was revealed had been “a thousand times worse for us” than the sexual abuse.
Jill also admitted that the release of the police reports was “a revictimization.”
Even Jim Bob received backlash when the news hit the internet as it was revealed that he opted to wait one year before contacting the authorities about Josh’s misbehavior.
Before coming to the police, Jim Bob told about the incident with the church elders, who send Josh to a “program” consisting of hard physical work and counseling to help him.
Michelle, however, later admitted that Josh had not been sent to a Christian program but to the house of a family friend who was involved in the home remodeling business. The family friend was not even a certified counselor.
According to his parents, Josh apologized to the victims, and they all allegedly forgave him. In 2003, Jim Bob and some of the church’s elders took Josh to Arkansas State Trooper Jim Hutches who was also a friend of the family.
Jim chose to give Josh a “very stern talk” and didn’t take any official action. Jim Hutches was later imprisoned and is now serving a 56-year sentence for child pornography.
Due to this incident, TLC canceled “19 Kids and Counting.” However, “Counting On” was later created, leaving Josh entirely out of the spotlight.
In August 2015, Josh Duggar was dragged to the middle of the storm once again after being identified as one of the 32 million people who used the cheating website Ashley Madison.
Hackers illegally obtained the information of the customers from the website and released it to the public. Soon after that, Josh admitted his mistake in a statement, labeling himself as the “biggest hypocrite ever.”
“While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife," Josh pointed out although he later edited the text to remove the reference to pornography.
Josh reportedly paid Ashley Madison $986 between 2012 and 2015 and used the name “josh_the_man.” In the description of his profile, he wrote that he was an “attached male seeking female.”
Again, he was forced to ask for forgiveness. In a statement, he said that people have the freedom to choose their actions but not the consequences that come along with them.
“I deeply regret all hurt I have caused so many by being such a bad example. I humbly ask for your forgiveness," Josh finished.
On August 25, 2015, Josh voluntarily checked himself into a rehab facility later identified as Reformers Unanimous, which was described by his family as a “long-term treatment center.”
According to the facility’s website, it is “a learning atmosphere where the addicted can be disciplined in an environment that is much like a greenhouse."
Soon after the scandals, his appearances in social media drastically reduced, appearing only on his wife’s Instagram page for family pictures, which has led people to wonder what happened to Josh Duggar.
Before the molestation allegation arose, Josh was working at the Family Research Council in Washington, away from his family, while also handling a used-car dealership and running a part-time political career with Jim Bob, Glamour Fame reported.
After the scandal, Josh returned home and got back to his old business in which he sells used cars. Even though it is not officially known, his net worth is reported to being close to $500,000 thanks to his time on “19 Kids and Counting” and the rest of the reality shows.
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