Former reality TV star Josh Duggar issued a statement Thursday admitting he was unfaithful to his wife after Gawker reported that he was among the millions of users of an adultery website whose data were hacked.
While he didn’t specifically address the report alleging he paid for an Ashley Madison account, the eldest son of the ultra-conservative, Christian family once featured on TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting” apologized for the pain his infidelity caused his wife and family.
“I have been the biggest hypocrite ever,” he wrote in a statement posted on the family’s website that underwent a subsequent revision. “While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife.”
The reference to pornography was later removed in the revision.
TLC canceled the long-running “19 Kids and Counting” this summer after the Duggar family revealed that Josh had molested five underage girls, including four of his younger sisters, when he was a teenager. The revelations came after tabloid magazine InTouch Weekly surfaced a nearly decade-old police report showing that Duggar was investigated for the molestation allegations.
Duggar was also forced to resign his position at the head of the anti-gay Family Research Council’s lobbying arm after the tabloid report was published.
Read the full statement below:
I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife.
I am so ashamed of the double life that I have been living and am grieved for the hurt, pain and disgrace my sin has caused my wife and family, and most of all Jesus and all those who profess faith in Him.
I brought hurt and a reproach to my family, close friends and the fans of our show with my actions that happened when I was 14-15 years old, and now I have re-broken their trust.
The last few years, while publicly stating I was fighting against immorality in our country, I was hiding my own personal failings.
As I am learning the hard way, we have the freedom to choose to our actions, but we do not get to choose our consequences. I deeply regret all hurt I have caused so many by being such a bad example.
I humbly ask for your forgiveness. Please pray for my precious wife Anna and our family during this time.
This post has been updated.
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.