When it comes to the Duggar family (and evangelical Christians in general,) marriage is viewed as a "covenant with god," meaning followers will avoid divorce at all costs. Those who have tuned into Counting On know that Anna and Josh Duggar's marriage has already survived multiple scandals. But could the child pornography allegations against Jim Bob and Michelle's eldest child be the last straw?
Let's take a closer look at how likely it is (or isn't) that Anna is divorcing Josh.
What did Josh Duggar do?
According to a release from the United States Attorney's Office of the Western District of Arkansas, Josh "allegedly used the internet to download child sexual abuse material." The release also said that "Duggar allegedly possessed this material, some of which depicts the sexual abuse of children under the age of 12, in May 2019."
If convicted, Josh faces up to 20 years in prison, along with fines up to $250,000 for each count.
Is Anna Duggar divorcing Josh?
It's difficult to say what the current state of their marriage is, considering Anna has not yet released a statement about the allegations against Josh. However, the mother of six (who is currently pregnant with Josh's seventh child) doesn't seem to be planning to divorce Josh.
"Anna is standing by her husband as she always has," a source told The Sun, following his arrest on April 29, 2021. "She even accompanied Josh to Fayetteville on Thursday so he could turn himself in to authorities."
This makes sense, considering Anna's previous statements about marriage following Josh's 2015 Ashley Madison scandal. During Season 1, Episode 2 of Counting On, Anna opened up about how the infidelity had affected her — along with her thoughts about divorce.
"It's such a betrayal for a spouse to go through what we're rocking through," she said on the TLC series. "You know, from my heart, it was just like, 'How could this happen in our marriage? Josh was my first love. He's my one and only.'"
Anna continued: "I knew that my only hope was to cling to my faith because I know if I went off of what I was feeling, I would turn a mess into a disaster. And so I think in the stun and in the shock of everything, I was just praying, 'God, help me to know how to respond to all of this.'"
When asked, specifically, what her plans for their marriage were, Anna made it clear that divorce was not an option for her and Josh.
"I know there are those that feel I have every right to walk away from this marriage, and I respect other people's views," she explained. "But in my heart, when I got married I vowed to God first and then to Joshua, 'for better or for worse, 'til death to we part.'"
Anna continued, "I pray that through all of this, that I would be an extension of God's love to Joshua — that I would love him and forgive him, and that I would wait patiently and allow God to work in our hearts. And my prayer and my heart's desire is for our marriage to be restored."
Add this to the fact that Anna is pregnant with her seventh child, which was announced just days before Josh's arrest, and it's even more unlikely that she'll be divorcing her husband.
Following the Ashley Madison bombshell in 2015, Josh ended up going away for an extended period of time to a "Christian recovery program" to seek help (presumably for his porn addiction). He has not appeared on Counting On since, and has managed to lie low for the most part — until his car dealership in Springdale, Ark., was raided by Homeland Security in November 2019, leading to the 2021 child pornography allegations.
Josh Duggar was released from jail in May 2021 to await his July hearing.
Josh plead not guilty on April 30 to two counts of downloading and possessing images and videos depicting sexual abuse of minor children, some as young as toddlers.
On May 6, he was released from jail but most reside with a third-party custodian (the Rebers, who are friends of his parents). He cannot have contact with minor children (except his six children in the presence of Anna), cannot access the internet, and is subject to GPS electronic monitoring, among other stipulations.
His pretrial hearing is scheduled for July 1, and the trial is scheduled to begin on July 6.