Speaking out. Jim Bob Duggar and Michelle Duggar released a statement in response to TLC’s cancellation of the family’s long-running reality show, Counting On, amid Josh Duggar’s child pornography case.
“It is hard to believe that more than 17 years have passed since we were first contacted by a production company wanting to do a one-hour documentary about the logistics of raising 14 children,” the statement, which was published on the family’s website on Saturday, July 3, read. “Our family has grown (and grown up!) before our eyes and on national television, and the journey has been miraculous — following God is an exciting adventure!”
“Over the years, some of our most treasured moments have been those when we met children across the country who are alive today because of our testimony that children are a blessing — a special gift from God — and that the only real hope for individuals and families is a close relationship with Jesus Christ,” the couple continued. “Since we began filming so long ago, we’ve had the amazing honor to share our lives, our faith, and our story with you—including some of the most difficult and painful moments our family has ever faced. We are full of deep gratitude for the love shown to us and the prayers of so many who have sustained us both now and through the years.”
They added, “We look forward to all the new adventures and endeavors that may come our way, and with so many grown children and wonderful grandchildren, we know our love will only continue to multiply! We are forever grateful for our film crew and so many others behind the scenes who have become like family to us over the years. The wonderful experiences that filming has provided us will be treasured always, and we look forward to discovering what’s next for our family and sharing more with you along the way!”
The patriarch and matriarch’s statement comes five days after the network revealed they would no longer continue with production on the series, which was a spinoff of the family’s previous show, 19 Kids and Counting.
“TLC will not be producing additional seasons of Counting On. TLC feels it is important to give the Duggar family the opportunity to address their situation privately,” the network told Us Weekly in a statement on Tuesday, June 29.
Prior to this development, TLC released a statement on April 30, revealing they were “saddened” following the arrest of the eldest Duggar son, 33.
“19 Kids and Counting has not aired since 2015,” the network said in a statement to People. “TLC canceled the show on the heels of prior allegations against Josh Duggar, and he has not appeared on-air since then.”
On April 29, Josh was taken into police custody in Arkansas. In Touch confirmed he was arrested for allegedly receiving and possessing material depicting the sexual abuse of children. The following day, the 19 Kids and Counting alum pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The disgraced reality star allegedly used the internet to download child sexual abuse material, according to a press release from the United States Department of Justice, obtained by In Touch. The former TLC star “allegedly possessed this material, some of which depicts the sexual abuse of children under the age of 12, in May 2019.”
If Josh is found guilty of the charges, he could serve up to 20 years in prison and fines up to $250,000 on each count. It’s possible Duggar’s max sentence could be bumped up to 40 years if he is found guilty on both counts, as the judge will determine if he will serve each count concurrently or not.
Jim Bob, 55, and Michelle, 54, previously released a statement on their family website following their eldest son’s arrest. “We appreciate your continued prayers for our family at this time,” the couple wrote at the time. “The accusations brought against Joshua today are very serious. It is our prayer that the truth, no matter what it is, will come to light, and that this will all be resolved in a timely manner. We love Josh and Anna [Duggar] and continue to pray for their family.”
Josh and his wife, Anna, 33, whom he married in 2013, share six kids — Mackynzie, 11, Michael, 9, Marcus, 7, Meredith, 5, Mason, 3, and Maryella, 17 months. On April 23, the couple announced they are expecting baby No. 7, a girl.
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