As if the Duggar family drama wasn’t bad enough already, the recent Ashley Madison website hack has just made things a whole lot worse for TLC’s former fundamentalist reality stars.
Josh Duggar, arguably the most controversial member of the Duggar family at the moment, was caught red-handed when “hacktavists” broke into the Ashley Madison website and released thousands of user emails.
Duggar already faces serious public scrutiny after reports emerged a few months ago that he had sexually abused multiple young girls girls as a teenager, including his sisters. The allegations caused TLC to cancel the reality show that catapulted the Duggar family to fame, titled 19 Kids and Counting, and the family as a whole has faced plenty of public criticism for the way it handled the charges — or rather, the way it ignored the charges and tried to sweep them under the rug as swiftly as possible.
Despite the accusations and his abrupt departure from his job at the conservative lobbying group Family Research Council, Josh Duggar, 27, seemed firmly rooted in marriage with his wife, Anna, and their children.
That is, until the Ashley Madison email records were released, and it become clear that Josh had been cheating on his wife for three years.
According to CNN, the cybersecurity company Trustify has confirmed that Duggar had an account on Ashley Madison, using the name “josh_the_man.” He paid the company nearly $1,000 between 2012 and 2015 for dating services targeted specifically to married individuals looking to have extramarital affairs.
Duggar released a statement on his family’s website on August 19, admitting that he had been struggling with a pornography addiction and had been unfaithful to his wife. Just a week later, TIME reported, Duggar checked himself into rehab for his apparent sex and pornography addictions.
Up until this point, it has been unclear how well his wife, Anna, had been handling the entire onslaught of events. Though infidelity often leads to divorce, and indeed is the primarily reason for splitting up, according to 73% of divorced couples, the fundamentalist Christian faith that the Duggar family preaches is not very keen on allowing members to get divorced easily.
Of course, social media has a way of weeding out unpleasant details for the media, which is exactly what happened when Duggar’s recently-married sister, Jessa Seewald, posted a Bible verse from 1 John 1:8: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Daniel Keller, Anna Duggar’s brother and Josh’s brother-in-law, took the opportunity to voice his true feelings about the Duggar lifestyle by commenting on Seewald’s post, according to FOX News. “You have to confess and forsake your sin to have mercy. Not sin confess and repeat,” Keller commented. “Confessing and getting caught are two different things… You want to know what happens when you cover ur [sic] sin maybe you should go read ur [sic] bible instead of beating people over the head with it.”