Counting On star Justin Duggar announced his engagement to Claire Spivey just two months after they announced their courtship. The couple broke the news of their upcoming wedding last month, just one day after Justin’s 18th birthday.
Ever since, fans have had a lot of questions about the relationship, and Claire’s provided some answers. However, many fans are still extremely skeptical about Justin and Claire’s relationship timeline.
‘Counting On’ fans are very familiar with Jim Bob Duggar’s courtship rules
For more than a decade, Counting On fans have been following the lives of the fundamentalist Duggar family. During that time, they’ve become extremely familiar with patriarch Jim Bob and his strict courting rules. This is because Justin is the 9th child in the family to announce a courtship and engagement, and document the romance on Counting On.
When Justin’s older siblings were courting and getting engaged, fans learned that Jim Bob and his wife, Michelle, never let their kids have alone time with their significant others. They require all courting couples to have a chaperone, which is usually a younger sibling. Jim Bob and Michelle also monitor text messages, phone calls, and video chats.
There are also rules about physical contact. Most Duggar kids wait for their wedding day to experience their first kiss. Some even wait until they are engaged to hold hands or hug.
These extreme restrictions have consequences, though. As Derick Dillard — Jill Duggar’s husband — recently noted on social media, the Duggar kids get married young because they “want to have sex.”
Claire Spivey claims she and Justin Duggar secretly courted for eight months
Since their courtship and engagement announcements, Justin and Claire have been posting about the relationship on their new Instagram pages. Claire has even answered questions from fans who want to know more about the young couple.
The 19-year-old revealed on Instagram that she and Justin actually started courting in secret back in September 2019 — a whole year before they announced the news on Counting On.
Claire explained that she and Justin actually filmed that announcement in May, which included the couple sharing the news with his family. Claire also claimed that they courted in secret for eight months.
“I noticed you said you and Justin courted for 14 months, but on Counting On you announced to the family in May. Is there a stage before official courtship that you guys were in prior to announcing to the family?” a fan asked.
Claire replied, “We announced to the family for official documentation in May!! Until that time, everyone knew we were close ‘friends’ and we chose to not say we were official till May. So it was 14 months, we just kept 8 of them quiet.”
Some ‘Counting On’ fans don’t believe Claire Spivey
As The Hollywood Gossip notes, it’s hard for many Counting On fans to believe Claire’s story. According to her, she and Justin secretly courted when she was just 18 and Justin was 16. And, they managed to do this while he lived under Jim Bob’s roof?
“Their whole relationship doesn’t sit right with me…,” one skeptic wrote. “I feel like she’s saying this to hide the fact that he was a minor and way too young when they got together, but who knows with this family.”
A second fan wrote that Claire should “just stop talking” because the more she talks, the “fishier their courtship sounds.”
Another opined that Jim Bob has different rules for his sons than he has for his daughters.
“Announced to the family meaning that the family wasn’t chaperoning their conversations up until then?” the fan asked. “I guess I shouldn’t be surprised because he’s a boy so they get different rules.”
Claire’s mother, Hilary, has confirmed that the couple has set a wedding date for sometime in 2021. However, Justin and Claire aren’t revealing the specific day to avoid unwanted guests.
Counting On is currently on hiatus. New episodes will return to TLC in 2021.