After Josh Duggar publicly confessed to his “past teenage mistakes” in May, wife Anna Duggar said Josh told her and her parents about his history in 2006 — two years before they married. Although a family source said that is true, the insider is doubtful Anna had any idea what Josh was saying at the time.
“It definitely wasn’t portrayed in its entirety,” the source told People. “I don’t think she understood the entirety of what had happened. It was kind of something that was swept under the rug and nobody made a big deal out of it.”
Further complicating matters, the source said Anna was so sheltered by parents Mike and Suzette Keller that she didn’t know anything about “physical relations.” The insider explained, “She knew the words ‘rape’ or ‘abuse,’ but I don’t think she really understood what that even meant.”
Despite Josh’s revelation, Mike and Suzette still encouraged Anna to marry him. (By that time, the Duggars were already very famous in fundamentalist Christian circles for their TLC specials.) Even if Anna had her private doubts about the arrangement, the insider said she didn’t have much of a choice.
“How she was brought up, if your parents gave their blessing then you pretty much marry the guy and that’s what God’s will is for you and what’s best for your life,” the source said. “So much of her belief was based on what her parents told her and not in the actual truth. She looked to her parents and they were okay with it, so she was okay with it.”
Anna Duggar’s parents pictured at her sister’s wedding.
Even after Josh’s affairs came to light last week, the insider said Anna’s parents haven’t encouraged her to make her own decisions. Referencing a conversation that one of Anna’s siblings recently had with their dad about Anna’s situation, the source said, “His response was, ‘Well, King David had an affair.’ I just wish she could be left alone to figure out her own feelings on this matter.”
Although there are no names attached to the People story, Anna’s brother, Daniel Keller, was highly critical of his parents in a Facebook post last week. Several of the other Keller children have reportedly also strayed from their parents’ beliefs — which are said to be “even a little more extreme” than the Duggars’ practices.
“Anna and her siblings were always taught that if you follow these 10 steps or whatever, God would bless you,” the source said. Among other things, personal conversations with siblings were condemned. Instead, each of the eight children got 15-minute one-on-one sessions with Suzette each week. “That was the time to share their feelings, but other than that they had to keep their feelings to themselves.”
Now that Anna is being confronted with some harsh realities, the source said her parents “don’t know what to do.” The insider added, “They always taught their kids that divorce was never an option. They never even thought about cheating. But that’s not how life works.”
Anna has not spoken publicly since Josh’s affairs were revealed. He left for a long-term treatment center earlier this week.