Josh and Anna Duggar: 4 of the Couple’s Most Cringe-Worthy Moments

Josh and Anna Duggar’s relationship is a bit controversial. It wasn’t always that way, though. When the couple met way back in 2008, fans tuned in to watch the eldest Duggar child navigate the world of love and dating. Everything seemed to be fine until 2015 when the family was rocked by not one, but two scandals at the hands of Josh. Now, looking back at the couple’s courtship and early marriage, there are more than a few cringe-worthy moments.

Josh Duggar made a wildly inappropriate incest joke

In the earliest years of 19 Kids and Counting, Josh Duggar seemed relatively normal. Michelle and Jim Bob regularly pushed him in front of the camera, and he became something of a spokesperson for the Duggar Kids. Fast forward to 2008 when Josh and Anna began their courtship and engagement. They wanted to head out and see a movie, but going without a chaperone was simply not allowed.

John-David and Jana Duggar tagged along to serve as accountability buddies. That would have been perfectly fine if Josh didn’t feel the need to make a strange incest joke about his family. He even poked fun at their home state. Originally the joke was a bit off-putting, but once the molestations scandal hit the mainstream media, it became really cringe-worthy.

Josh and Anna made hand holding almost obscene

Speaking of Josh and Anna’s courtship; fans might remember how intensely the couple held hands when they were engaged. Handholding is pretty tame, generally speaking, but they took it to a nearly obscene level. There was caressing; there was rubbing, there was the mashing of fingers together. The young couple was so into their handholding that they even tried to flip restaurant menus with one hand.

Anna and Josh Duggar
Anna Duggar and Josh Duggar | Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images

The Duggar kids are held to some pretty rough standards when it comes to dating. Not only are they not allowed to be alone with each other but kissing and “front hugs” are strictly prohibited. Handholding is generally deemed acceptable once the couple is engaged to be married. Leave it to Josh Duggar to make handholding seem risqué.

Josh Duggar’s loyalty song can be seen through an entirely different lens now

When a couple gets married, it’s a tradition to exchange little gifts or to write notes to each other ahead of the big day. Generally, these gifts are delivered the day of the wedding as the bride and groom are getting ready separately. Josh, however, decided he’d offer his new wife a little gift at the altar. His contribution came in the form of a song about loyalty.

When Josh and Anna’s wedding special originally aired, plenty of viewers had to deal with secondary embarrassment as he belted out his tune. Several years down the road, Josh was outed as a serial cheater who had a penchant for exotic dancers. The cringe level on that loyalty song was ratcheted up by about one million.

Anna Duggar defended Josh’s cheating, sort of

Shortly after news of Josh’s cheating scandal broke, Anna appeared on Counting On. Misty-eyed and clearly devastated, the soon-to-be mother of six was forced to hash out the entire situation on television. While Anna had some negative words to say, her take on the whole situation was alarmingly neutral. She didn’t exactly defend Josh in the interview, but she didn’t condemn him either. The couple has remained married and continue to have children, so apparently, they worked it out.

Having poor Anna appear on the show, in general, was pretty cringe-worthy. Fans, however, note that she was likely forced to do so by the Duggar family. The entire idea of Anna being forced to sit in front of a camera after being so publicly embarrassed is uncomfortable, to say the least.