NEW YORK (AP) — Calling himself “the biggest hypocrite ever,” ex-reality star Josh Duggar has apologized for a “secret addiction” to pornography and for cheating on his wife.
“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,” he said in a statement posted Thursday on the family’s website.
The statement was apparently spurred by Duggar’s name appearing among millions exposed in a data breach of customers of the Ashley Madison website, an online service that caters to men and women looking to cheat on their spouses. Leaked data showed that a Josh Duggar whose address was the same as the reality TV star was a member of the cheating website from December 2012 to October 2014.
In his statement, Duggar did not address whether he had used AshleyMadison.com, nor did he detail the exact nature of his marital infidelity.
The 27-year-old Duggar’s admission comes several weeks after his exposure that as a teen, he molested four of his sisters and a babysitter. Those revelations led to the cancellation of “19 Kids and Counting,” the hit TLC reality on which he appeared with his 18 siblings and his parents. The series ran from 2008 through its 10th-season conclusion
“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,” Duggar said in his statement.
The TLC series had chronicled the apparently wholesome home life of Arkansas couple Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and their now-19 children.
But in May, Josh, their eldest child, apologized for unspecified bad behavior on a Facebook post and resigned from the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group, where he had worked as a lobbyist.
Two weeks later, the Duggar parents were interviewed on Fox News Channel, as were two of their daughters, Jill and Jessa, who said they weren’t aware the fondling had happened until Josh confessed years later and their parents told them about it.
“The last few years, while publicly stating I was fighting against immorality in our country, I was hiding my own personal failings,” stated Duggar, who in his website testiment sought the public’s forgiveness and their prayers “for my precious wife Anna and our family during this time.” The couple’s fourth child, a daughter, was born a month ago.
On the family’s website, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar said, “When we learned of this late last night our hearts were broken.”