Just like fans of TLC’s defunct “19 Kids and Counting,” Josh Duggar’s parents are reportedly shocked by their eldest son’s latest scandal. On Wednesday, it was revealed that Josh, 27, had paid for accounts on Ashley Madison, the notorious social site for married people seeking affairs. Now insiders are speaking out about the Duggar family’s behind-the-scenes reaction to the news.
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar released a statement on their family’s website Thursday, calling themselves heartbroken over reports that Josh — who admitted to having a pornography addiction -- had been unfaithful to his wife of six years, Anna. “When we learned of this late last night our hearts were broken. As we continue to place our trust in God we ask for your prayers for Josh, Anna, our grandchildren and our entire family,” the couple said in a statement. According to People, the parents are “absolutely stunned” and “baffled” by their offspring’s actions.
“This wasn’t something they ever imagined was possible,” a source told the magazine.
According to People's sources, the Duggars raise their 19 children away from “outside influences,” including television and the Internet, further fueling their shock about their son’s recent admission. “They were absolutely baffled by how this could have been possible,” said an insider.
Following their son’s latest scandal — he was revealed to have molested five underage girls, some of which were his sisters, as a teenager in May — the Duggars have turned to religion to sort out their issues. “[They’re] feeling more devout than ever because they are turning 100 percent to God and prayer and their church community to help them,” said a source. “Their faith is in no way rocked by this.”
Josh, who stepped down from his job at the Family Research Council in May, apologized for his actions in a statement Thursday.
“I have been 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,” he wrote. “I am so ashamed of the double life that I have been living and am grieved for the hurt, pain and disgrace my sin has caused my wife and family. … I humbly ask for your forgiveness. Please pray for my precious wife Anna and our family during this time.”
— Us Weekly (@usweekly) August 20, 2015
It is unknown what lies ahead for Josh and Anna's marriage. While Anna, 27, has yet to speak out publicly, insiders say she is not pursuing a divorce. “Anna will not leave him,” one source told People on Thursday. "As with her in-laws, she is turning more to her faith than ever. She and Josh are probably praying around the clock right now, I would assume."
Josh and Anna married in September 2008. Their wedding was featured on an episode of “19 Kids and Counting,” then titled “17 Kids and Counting.” They have four children together, Mackynzie, 5, Michael, 4, Marcus, 2, and Meredith, 1 month.