When the Josh Duggar sex scandals first went public back in 2015, thoughts turned first to Josh’s victims — four of whom were his sisters — and then to his wife and children.
Divorce is strictly forbidden in the Duggars’ world, but many reasoned that exceptions must be made in certain cases.
Not only had Josh molested five young girls, it was later revealed that he had also used an Ashley Madison account to try and cheat on Anna.
Yes, divorce is an unforgivable sin in the Duggars world, but child molestation and marital infidelity must be considered worse sins … right?
For a long time that question went unanswered, as Anna offered no public comment about her marriage or her husband’s misdeeds.
Through it all, Anna stood by her man.
These days, she routinely declares her love for Josh in gushing Instagram posts that many of her followers view as signs that forgiveness and redemption are always possible — thought we doubt they’d take such an enlightened view of a predator who didn’t have a famous or disagreed with their politics.
Last month Josh and Anna celebrated their 12th wedding anniversary, and as usual, she marked the occasion with an Instagram post.
“!2 years ago today we said, “I do!” I’m so thankful for God’s grace and kindness that has continually surrounded our family!” Anna wrote.
“Joshua, I’m looking forward to growing old with you!”
“You have a beautiful love story. God redeems. I admire your heart SO much, and the strength it took to forgive,” reads the top comment on the post.
“You are a woman of true faith. A testimony to other woman, who may be wondering if they could have a restored marriage.”
It’s a testament to the level of delusion among Duggar fans that anyone could refer to Josh and Anna’s marriage as “a beautiful love story.”
Thankfully, not everyone else has forgotten about the ugliness of their situation.
In fact, Anna’s latest post has prompted a resurgence of interest in Josh’s messy past, and many now believe there’s sufficient evidence to conclude that she did consider leaving him at one point.
As proof, they point to an appearance by Anna in the first season of Counting On.
As you may recall, 19 Kids and Counting was canceled following the revelation of Josh’s predatory behavior.
The Duggars soon returned to air with Counting On, but only after assuring TLC and their production partners that Josh would not appear on camera.
They made no such promise regarding Anna, however, and while her wounds must have been fresh, she appeared on camera and candidly opened up about her troubled marriage, and the discovery of Josh’s shocking past.
“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,” Anna said during a confessional segment.
Many have concluded that it sounds as though Anna was on the verge of leaving Josh when she first learned of his crimes and infidelities.
In order to understand Anna’s mindset when news of the scandal first broke, online sleuths have also pointed to social media comments posted by her brother, Daniel Keller, in 2015.
“I have told her I would pay for her to move out here w me and pay for her kidz,” Keller wrote.
“[Anna] said she’s staying where she’s at,” he added.
“But I won’t stop trying to get that pig out of our family.”
So while divorce may be forbidden in the Duggar clan, the Kellers seem willing to make exceptions.
And in those days, Anna was almost certainly turning to her Florida family for support, not her in-laws.
In the end, she decided to stay with Josh and try to work things out — but it looks more and more as though she nearly took a different path.
How different things might be today if she’d chosen to free herself.
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