Why Anna Duggar Married Josh Despite His Molestation Past
Anna Duggar’s siblings beg her to leave husband Josh after his shocking double life is revealed. Subscribe now for more on the cheating scandal and the Duggars’ ultra-conservative lifestyle, only in PEOPLE!
Long before the world ever knew about the sexual abuse that had transpired in the Duggar family household – where former 19 Kids and Counting stars Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar‘s eldest son Josh, as a teenager, had molested five underage girls, including his sisters Jill and Jessa – that dark secret was shared with the woman who was soon to be his wife.
“Anna did know,” a source close to Josh’s wife tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story. “Her whole family knew something had happened.”
After Josh and Anna, now both 27, met at a religious conference in 2006, the two began courting, to the delight of the Duggars and Anna’s own ultra-conservative parents, Mike and Suzette Keller. But before they said “I do” in 2008, the Duggars revealed their dark secret to Anna and her family.
“It definitely wasn’t portrayed in its entirety,” says the source. “I don’t think she understood the entirety of what had happened. It was kind of something that was swept under the rug and nobody made a big deal out of it.”
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Furthermore, the source says Anna wasn’t well equipped to truly comprehend what Josh had done. With her strict religious upbringing, “She was very sheltered with anything that came to physical relations or anything like that. She knew the words ‘rape’ or ‘abuse,’ but I don’t think she really understood what that even meant.”
When it came time to process the information, she looked to her parents. “They still gave their blessing,” says the source. “How she was brought up, if your parents gave their blessing then you pretty much marry the guy and that’s what God’s will is for you and what’s best for your life. So much of her belief was based on what her parents told her and not in the actual truth. She looked to her parents and they were okay with it, so she was okay with it.”
Now, blindsided by Josh’s second sex scandal this year, Anna’s parents are still controlling her choices, says the source. When one of Anna’s siblings reached out to their father about the situation, “His response was, ‘Well, King David had an affair,’ ” the source says, adding, “I just wish she could be left alone to figure out her own feelings on this matter.”
For much more on the fallout from Josh Duggar’s secret double life and the Duggars’ ultra-conservative lifestyle exposed, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday