By Christie D’zurilla, Los Angeles Times (TNS)
Josh Duggar of 19 Kids and Counting fame has pronounced himself “the biggest hypocrite ever” and admitted to cheating on his wife after it was revealed Wednesday that he had paid accounts with Ashley Madison, the affair-facilitating website that was hacked a month ago.
“I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have been unfaithful to my wife,” the father of four said in a statement posted on the Duggar family’s website Thursday.
“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.”
In an earlier version of the statement, which has since been replaced on the family website, Josh Duggar said he’d secretly been viewing Internet porn, had become addicted and subsequently had cheated on his wife, Anna.
Credit card and address information was tracked back to Josh Duggar after the hacked information was leaked on the so-called dark web Tuesday. A second batch of Ashley Madison information—the site’s catchphrase is “Life is short. Have an affair”—was dumped on Thursday.
The reality-TV personality appears to have spend nearly $1,000 on monthly subscriptions for two accounts between February 2013 and May 2015, Gawker reported, with screen grabs showing supporting information.
In July, TLC canceled the long-running 19 Kids after it was reported in May that as a minor Josh Duggar had inappropriate contact with five underage girls, four of whom were his sisters. After the story broke, the 27-year-old, who was never arrested or charged, left his post at the Family Research Council, a conservative lobbying group.
“I have brought hurt and a reproach to my family, close friends and the fans of our show with my actions,” he said in the statement Thursday, going on to seemingly acknowledge the work he had been doing at the FRC. “The last few years, while publicly stating I was fighting against immorality in our country I was hiding my own personal failures.”
The Duggars learned of Josh’s Ashley Madison history late Wednesday evening, parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar said in introducing their eldest son’s statement. A family source told People on Thursday, “We’re all hunkered down over here. It’s just a mess, it’s a whole mess,” adding that it would be a “practically impossible climb” for Josh to rebound from his current situation.
Josh and Anna Duggar issued statements in May regarding the allegations of inappropriate contact, with her explaining that she’d known since before they were married about “his past teenage mistakes.” Her husband was “someone who had gone down a wrong path and had humbled himself before God and those whom he had offended,” she said. He’d gotten the help he needed, she said, and had changed the direction of his life.
“As I am learning the hard way, we have the freedom to choose our actions, but we do not get to choose our consequences,” Josh Duggar said in his statement. “I deeply regret all the hurt I have caused so many by being such a bad example.”
In addition to credit card numbers and email addresses, the hacked data includes “everything from their name, age, interests, whether they smoke or drink, down to very detailed sexual fantasies, what they enjoy having done to them and what they want to do to others,” Adam McNeil, an intelligence analyst at Malwarebytes, told USA Today.
An analysis of the first data dump showed users’ median age to be around 46, with few users younger than 30. Josh Duggar would, of course, be among those outliers.
Information was also hacked from the site EstablishedMen.com, which is owned by the same company that runs AshleyMadison.com. A group calling itself the Impact Team wants Avid Life Media to shut down the sites.
(c)2015 Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.