Will Anna Duggar Divorce Josh Duggar? She’s In an ‘Impossible’ Situation, Ex-Fundamentalist Says

Duggar family followers hoping that Josh and Anna Duggar will divorce following his recent arrest on child pornography charges may be disappointed. Walking away from the marriage will be difficult for Anna, 32, due to her religious upbringing, some say. Anna and Josh Duggar have six children and are expecting their seventh. 

Josh Duggar arrested, faces decades in prison 

A pregnant Anna Duggar hugging Josh Duggar, two members of the Duggar family from TLC's 'Counting On,' at the 42 annual Conservative Political Action Conference
Anna Duggar and Josh Duggar | Kris Connor/Getty Images

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On April 30, former 19 Kids and Counting star Josh Duggar was indicted on two counts of possessing and receiving child pornography. According to the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, in May 2019, he allegedly downloaded material depicting child sexual abuse. Some of the downloaded material depicts the abuse of children under the age of 12. 

Duggar pleaded not guilty and was released into the custody of Duggar family friends. A trial is set for July 6. If convicted, he faces 20 years in prison on each count.

During his release, he is not allowed to have contact with children. However, he will be allowed to see his own kids with his wife present, the AP reports.   

Why Anna Duggar may not leave her husband

Josh Duggar's mugshot following his 2021 arrest
Josh Duggar’s mugshot following his 2021 arrest | Washington County Sheriff’s Office/Getty Images

After the news of Duggar’s alleged crimes, many people who follow the Counting On family wondered when — or if — his wife would leave him. But according to those familiar with the kind of religious community she and her family are part of, that may not happen. 

Vyckie Garrison spoke to Salon about her experience in the Quiverfull movement. This strain of conservative Christianity sees fathers as the ultimate voice of authority in the family and encourages couples to have as many children as possible. While the Duggar family has denied being part of the controversial movement, they share many of the same beliefs. 

Garrison had seven kids before eventually leaving her abusive husband. She says she had a “martyr’s mentality” but eventually found the strength to leave. But Anna Duggar’s religious beliefs may make it difficult to do the same. 

“The situation she is in is just impossible,” Garrison said. “The only way she can save herself and her children — she would just have to give up her idea of her faith.”

Anna Duggar clung to her faith after previous Josh Duggar scandal 

This isn’t the first time Anna Duggar has faced pressure to leave her husband. In 2015, 19 Kids and Counting was canceled after reports emerged that Josh had molested several girls when he was a teenager, including several of his sisters. A few months later, he admitted to having an account on the cheating website Ashley Madison. 

“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 and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife,” he said in a statement at the time. 

In an early episode of Counting On, Anna opened up about how she dealt with Josh’s “betrayal.” 

“I knew that my only hope was to cling to my faith,” she said. “Because I knew if I went off of what I was feeling, I would turn a mess into a disaster.”   

Anna Duggar may not see divorce as an option

In a 2015 interview with People, Kathryn Joyce, who wrote a book on the Quiverfull movement, explained that Anna may have seen herself as responsible for her husband’s failings. 

“It has been common not just in Quiverfull circles but also more broadly in some fundamentalist Christian communities to hold women responsible for men’s sexuality and choices,” by, for example, “accusing wives of causing their husbands’ affairs because they didn’t satisfy them.”

At the time, Anna said she had made a lifelong commitment to Josh when she married him in 2008, and she intended to stand by it. 

“I know there are those who think I have every right to walk away from this marriage,” she said during the Counting On episode. “I respect other people’s views. But in my heart, when I got married, I vowed to God first, and to Joshua, ‘for better or for worse, til death do we part … my prayer and my heart’s desire is for our marriage to be restored.” 

How to get help: If you or someone you know has been sexually abused, text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 for free and confidential support.

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