As the show continued to gain popularity, Josh came under fire in 2015 after a police report revealed he molested five girls when he was 14 and 15 years old.
Josh addressed the controversy in a statement via Facebook at the time. “Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends,” he wrote. “We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life.”
The legal paperwork revealed that Jim Bob reported the situation to Arkansas State Police, telling officers that Josh “did manual labor and had counseling” through a Christian program. Former Arkansas state trooper Joseph Truman Hutchens subsequently gave Josh a “very stern talk,” but “there was nothing else to do,” Jim Bob revealed in the court docs.
It was later revealed that four out of five of Josh’s victims were his siblings, including Jill Duggar and Jessa Duggar. Several months later, Josh admitted to cheating on Anna after website Ashley Madison was involved in a data leak in August 2015.
“It was one of the hardest times of our lives,” Jinger recalled to Us Weekly in April 2021 about Josh’s scandals. “I will never forget how I felt in that moment. And I think even everything that happens in our lives — because we’re in the public eye — it makes it more challenging because then it’s not just dealing with these things inwardly, but you have to give an answer to the world. That makes it a much tougher thing to walk through.”