Love or hate them, there’s no way to hold a neutral opinion when it comes to the Duggars. As seen in their internationally famous show “19 Kids and Counting”, the clan’s very-religious point of view, strict household rules and overall eyebrow-raising lifestyle made them a recurring topic of discussion in the reality TV genre.
While not many people agreed with their views, it was a huge surprise when in 2015, a scandal involving the family’s oldest son Josh ended their reputation and career on TV altogether.
Several years later, that scandal isn’t the only one on Josh’s criminal record, but many people still wonder what happened to his wife Anna, and whether those claims against him have ruined their marriage.
Keep with us to know what’s up with Anna Duggar’s life, including her family, personal scandals and so much more!
Where Is Anna Now?
It’s no secret that Josh Duggar, whose family rose to fame through the show “19 Kids and Counting”, was sentenced to 12 years in jail for possessing child pornography. Given the delicate situation going on in the family, many people wonder how his wife Anna is doing now and what’s the future for their marriage.
While Anna has taken time away from social media, and hasn’t said anything about the sentencing of Josh, inside sources point out she’s not divorcing him anytime soon: ‘Some of her relatives want her to, but it goes against everything in her being’, the source told In Touch Weekly, assuring that even though Anna has briefly considered a legal separation, she is ‘not ready to walk away’.
— Anna Duggar (@Anna_Duggar) November 24, 2020
Needless to say, Anna accompanied and supported Josh during the trial process, even though according to the insider, Anna’s family have advised her to file for divorce, which she refuses to do in spite of the difficulties she has faced all along: ‘Anna is not a quitter, she never wanted to give up on Josh, but she’s been tested to the limit’.
Whether Anna’s attitude to her marital status will change with time is obviously unknown, but it’s safe to assume the situation is distressing for her, to say the least.
The Duggar family is known for their sense of unity, even in spite of their worst scandals. Nonetheless, while Josh’s sentence has caused split opinions in the family, most of them condemn his actions.
Jill Duggar wrote on the family’s blog: ‘God has carried out his vengeance today for his unspeakable criminal activity’. As In Touch Weekly reports, for his part, Jason said he ‘has forgiven’ Josh for his ‘wrongdoings’, but also expressed: ‘My heart is grieved over the choices my brother has made. His actions do not reflect that of a Christian believer, and have doubtlessly defamed my Lord and Savior’s name!!’ Needless to say, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar didn’t publicly react to their son’s sentence, but shortly before the day of the verdict, the matriarch posted a letter online, encouraging the judge to give him less time behind the bars than the 20 years asked for by the prosecutor, claiming her son has a ‘tender heart’.
Meanwhile, the Duggar’s family member more open about her opinion on Josh is his cousin Amy, who claimed feeling like she ‘never knew him’, and felt the sentence was too short: ‘I hope that every single second he’s there feels like an eternity’, she wrote.
By the time Josh was sentenced to 12 years and half in prison for his crimes, he and Anna had welcomed seven children, the youngest a daughter born in November 2021, less than a week before he was set to appear for his pre-trial.
With so many kids and a husband who not only owes $50,000 in fines, but also has to pay his lawyers’ honorariums, the financial situation for Anna and her kids obviously isn’t good. In fact, Josh’s net worth dropped from $200,000 to $5,000 after his sentence was announced, according to In Touch Weekly.
Nonetheless, while Anna has been a stay-at-home mother since her marriage, and apparently never worked before, the Duggar family is reportedly not only supporting her financially, but also allowed them to stay in the property indefinitely.
Only time will tell whether Anna would take a separate direction from Josh in the future, but for the time being she’s reportedly focused on her children: ‘She’s going to stand by her husband and she’s going to continue raising their kids to the best of her ability’, a source told Us Magazine.
How Did Anna & Josh Meet?
Those who watched “19 Kids and Counting” from the beginning might remember the 2009 episode “A Very Duggar Wedding”, which showed Josh and Anna tying the knot in a Christian ceremony.
Anna and Josh met in 2006 ,while in a ‘homeschooling convention’ and according to their on screen story, they began courting immediately afterwards, but didn’t become engaged until 2008 per her request to not marry before she was 20 years old – three months later they married in Florida, all of which was recorded for the show’s second season.
However, as time passed and many secrets about Josh Duggar surfaced, the most dedicated fans of “19 Kids and Counting” have theorized that maybe the couple’s story might have gone a different way than shown. As Radar Online reported in 2019, their marriage could have been partially arranged just like their first meeting, given that his parents wanted him to marry soon: ‘Michelle and Jim Bob thought a relationship would solve some of his problems. That was common in our church’, an insider told the website, who claimed the Duggars’ actions were probably meant to hide the allegations of molestation against Josh.
Whether their marriage was actually arranged or not is yet to be confirmed, but this claim is only one of the many suspicions involving Josh.
Following Anna and Josh’s marriage in September 2009, the pair welcomed their first child Mackynzie in October 2009, and second child Michael came in June 2011.
As if following Josh’s parent’s example, the couple welcomed Marcus in 2013, Meredith Grace in 2015, and fifth child Mason in 2017, born a couple of years after his father’s cheating and pornography scandal was made public. Previously, Josh and Anna announced their expectation of Mason with the following statement: ‘As we continue our journey as a family and rebuild our lives, we are delighted to share with you that we are expecting a new baby boy later this year’.
In 2019 they welcomed Maryella, by saying: ‘On Thanksgiving eve our hearts are overflowing with joy and gratefulness for the arrival of our sixth child!’. However, the arrival of their seventh child in late 2021 wasn’t as publicly celebrated as the previous, considering the big scandal the family was going through at the time.
Why Is Josh In Jail?
Josh’s arrest and subsequent sentence doesn’t come as a surprise considering his many sexual scandals throughout the years. That being said, there are many people who don’t know in detail what really put him behind the bars.
It all comes back to April 2021, when he was arrested and charged with two counts of possession of child pornography, to which he pleaded not guilty: ‘Duggar allegedly possessed this material, some of which depicts the sexual abuse of children’, as read in the statement released by The US Attorney’s Office. Josh was released on bond the following month, but was unable to return home and see his children without supervision, until the trial’s start in November. Meanwhile his attorneys tried to have his case dismissed, by filing several ‘motions to suppress evidence’, all of which were rejected by the judge.
During the trial, Bobye Holt testified against Josh by admitting to knowing about him molesting younger girls in 2003, as the judge deemed past allegations of abuse to be of importance in the case. Later her husband Jil testified that he knew about Josh’s having a special operative system installed on his computer, to prevent being caught watching pornography.
Given the testimonies from the Holts and others, and from the Department of Justice regarding the images found in Josh’s confiscated drive, in December 2021 Josh was found guilty of ‘downloading and possessing child sex abuse images on his work computer’.
Although several months had to pass for a verdict, the judge determined that Josh’s illegal activity coincided with an on-going investigation by Federal authorities, which showed that he’d downloaded and saved several images on his office computer.
Besides being condemned to 12 years and seven months in prison, his sentence will be followed by 20 years of probation, and he’ll be registered as a sex offender, impeding him being close to his own children following his release.
Allegation against Josh for sexual misconduct aren’t new. From 2002 to 2003, he had allegedly molested several girls when he was 14 years old, including four of his younger sisters. Upon knowing about his actions, Jim Bob and Michelle sent Josh to spend time with their friend, Trooper Joseph Truman Hutchens, who apparently gave him a ‘stern talk’ regarding his behavior. Josh would return to his home later that year with a renewed attitude, as stated by his parents.
However, nothing of this was known until 2006, when local police interviewed the family regarding the allegations, but as the statute of limitations had already passed, they couldn’t press charges against him.
While the case remained in the shadows for years, the rumor was around internet forums, since an unknown blogger posted about it in 2007. It wasn’t until In Touch Weekly released a thorough report on the case in 2015 that the world knew about it – according to the portal, not only were the Duggars aware of Josh’s misconduct, but so were other members of their Church.
A consequence 0f this scandal was that Josh resigned from his position in the Family Research Council, accepting that he’d committed ‘inexcusable’ acts in his teens.
The Ashley Madison Breach
A couple of months after his molestation allegations made headlines, Josh faced another scandal when his personal information was filtered in the Ashley Madison Breach of Information. As it happens, in July that year, the online activism group The Impact Team hacked data from the extramarital website Ashely Madison due to the site’s controlling company Avid Life Media’s apparent ‘deceptive business practices’. The group threatened to leak the stolen information about Ashley and other websites of the company unless these were shut down, but Avid Life refused to acquiesce to the request.
Later in August The Impact Team filtered dozens of gigabytes of information which contained names, addresses and financial data about the sites’ users. Much to the surprise of the general public, one of the filtered names was Josh Duggar, who had been subscribed to Ashley Madison since early 2013.
In an official statement released, Josh admitted: ‘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’. He continued his letter, admitting to not only becoming addicted to consuming adult content, but also being unfaithful to Anna. Soon afterwards, he entered a rehab program in Illinois, to deal with his addiction.
In November 2015 another scandal hit Josh when Danica Dillon accused him of sexually assaulting her. According to Dillon, who is an adult film actress and dancer, the assault occurred in Philadelphia months before, when he had apparently physically harmed her after meeting her in a strip club.
— infowe (@infowe) August 27, 2015
Although her damage lawsuit asked for $500,000, the case was dropped the following year, as it was proven that Josh wasn’t in the city during the time she claimed the assault occurred.
Unsurprisingly, the Duggars’ show “19 Kids and Counting” was canceled by TLC right after Josh’s molestation scandal hit the headlines in 2015. The decision also came with the announcement of the release of ‘a one-hour documentary’ about sexual abuse, which showcased some of the Duggar family members affected by Josh’s actions.
Nonetheless, a couple of months later, TLC released another Duggar show entitled “Counting On”, which featured several members of the family but not Josh. The show was continuously renewed for years until 2021, when Josh was charged with possession of child pornography: ‘TLC feels it is important to give the Duggar family the opportunity to address their situation privately’, the network’s statement read.
The Duggar family accepted TLC’s decision, but it’s unknown if any spin-off will be released. Nonetheless, it’s undeniable that the show’s cancellation was indeed necessary.