Move over Jared at Subway, Josh Duggar has an even bigger fish to fry this week (if that’s even possible). Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar’s eldest son, 27, has admitted publicly to infidelity and pornography addictions.
“I have been the biggest hypocrite ever,” Josh wrote in a statement released Wednesday. “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. 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, and most of all Jesus and all those who profess faith in Him.”
The statement continued, “I brought hurt and a reproach to my family, close friends and the fans of our show with my actions that happened when I was 14-15 years old, and now I have re-broken their trust. The last few years, while publicly stating I was fighting against immorality in our country, I was hiding my own personal failings. As I am learning the hard way, we have the freedom to choose our actions, but we do not get to choose our consequences. I deeply regret all hurt I have caused so many by being such a bad example.”
Josh concluded, “I humbly ask for your forgiveness. Please pray for my precious wife Anna and our family during this time.”
Jim Bob and Michelle released their own statement Thursday.
“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 former 19 Kids and Counting reality show parents said.
At the time of his infidelities on the website Ashley Madison, Josh was the executive director of the Family Research Council, an anti-gay organization, whose goal it was “to champion marriage and family as the foundation of civilization, the seedbed of virtue, and the wellspring of society.”
Josh’s latest admission follows the release three months ago of a 2006 police report showing him at the center of a molestation case involving five underage girls, including his own sisters. His wife Anna gave birth to their fourth child one month prior.
At the time of Josh’s first admission, he wrote on the Duggar Family Facebook page: “Twelve years ago, as a young teenager I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends. I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life. I sought forgiveness from those I had wronged and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life. I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions. In my life today, I am so very thankful for God’s grace, mercy and redemption.”
In support of her husband, Anna wrote her own note, saying: And when you, our sweet fans, first met me when Josh asked me to marry him…I was able to say, ‘Yes’ knowing who Josh really is – someone who had gone down a wrong path and had humbled himself before God and those whom he had offended. Someone who had received the help needed to change the direction of his life and do what is right. I want to say thank you to those who took time over a decade ago to help Josh in a time of crisis. Your investment changed his life from going down the wrong path to doing what is right.”
There is no official word yet on Anna’s response to the latest controversy surrounding her husband.
After avid backlash from fans, sponsors and supporters, TLC canceled the long-running show 19 Kids and Counting.