Growing up with seven siblings, Anna Duggar has always been part of a big family, even when she was still a Keller. But once she married in to the Duggar family, those numbers grew exponentially bigger. Instead of being one of eight kids, she now had 18 brothers- and sisters-in-law — not to mention the Duggar kids' spouses and her own siblings' husbands and wives.
Like the Duggars, the Keller family also grew up with incredibly conservative rules — and they might've been even harder to follow than Jim Bob and Michelle's. "[The Kellers] are even a little more extreme," a source told People back in 2015. Which is why pretty much no one was really surprised when she decided to stay with her husband Josh Duggar after he was revealed to have had an affair, molested his younger sisters as kids, and become addicted to pornography.
But then an anonymous family friend revealed in a Reddit AMA that Anna actually had been planning to leave Josh. "When [the scandal] all first came out, Michelle and Jim Bob seemed under the impression (from what Michelle told my mom) that Anna was leaving," they revealed. "The very next time my mom spoke to her the tune had changed and Anna was going to help navigate Josh back to the Lord and the family would come out better than ever. So I don't know exactly what changed, but something did."
So what was it that changed? Why hadn't Anna freed herself from that Duggar nightmare? Was it that she simply didn't have the resources to leave, what with no real job experience or formal education beyond ATI homeschooling? Well, probably not. As it turns out, her older brother, Daniel Keller, thought she should ditch her husband — and he was willing to support her and her kids, too. He revealed all this publicly on a Facebook status Jessa Duggar posted about confessing sins.
"There's a difference between confessing and getting caught," he responded to his sister's sister-in-law, before continuing to hash it out with fans of the families. "I have told her I would pay for her to move out here [with] me and pay for her kidz [sic]. I don't think josh will see that this is a big deal and be truly broken [until] that happens," Daniel said. "But my parents are preaching stay [with] him… [They're] more interested in how [their] daughter getting a divorce will make then look [than] they are in trying to truly get Josh some help and getting Anna and the kids out of there [until] he has gotten that help."
Coincidentally, Anna's sister Rebekah was also separating from her husband around that same time. The news broke earlier this year that Rebekah McDonald filed for divorce in May 2015, around the time as the molestation scandal, and finalized the proceedings a few months later in August, when the Ashley Madison news broke. When it comes to following fundamental families' rules, the Keller kids aren't all that pure. Daniel's also divorced, and Anna's youngest sister, Susanna, had a daughter out of wedlock in 2013.
The unwed mom wasn't completely frozen out of the family, though. Sister and brother-in-law Priscilla and David Waller visited her and Rebeka in August of 2014, and she and her daughter Noelle were in pictures from the Keller family's Thanksgiving that same year. But reports say that things did get pretty icy, and that even now that Susanna is engaged, her family might not attend her wedding. Daniel and Rebekah have also reportedly gotten the cold-shoulder at times since their former spouses' didn't buy into the families' super religious views. And yet, we can't imagine the Keller parents, Mike and Suzette, were especially thrilled when those marriages ended.
"They always taught their kids that divorce was never an option," a source told People in 2015. "They never even thought about cheating. But that’s not how life works." So with so many of Anna's siblings rebelling against the family's strict rules, why didn't Anna? Well, it may be exactly because so many of her siblings had rebelled. Mike and Suzette were clearly struggling with their kids' decisions — and Anna may not have wanted to add to their stress. Plus, if she'd seen Rebekah, Susanna, or Daniel shunned in the past — even if they were accepted back into the fold later — she may have not wanted to risk losing the family support she had. After all, discovering your husband is a predator, a cheater, and a porn addict is probably hard to go through alone, especially when you've got four kids and one of them is a two month old.
Ditching Josh wouldn't just have meant losing her parents' help, either. It could've also meant leaving the rest of the Duggars behind — meaning no more Jana Duggar to help take care of the kids, no more Jessa and Jill to bring over their little ones for cousin playdates, and no more Jim Bob and Michelle pitching in if times got tough. Sure, her siblings might've been there for her — especially Daniel. But would that have cut it? We'll never really know what made Anna change her mind and decide to stay married to Josh (let alone have a fifth kid with him this past September). But it's not hard to imagine that her siblings' lives played a huge role.