Jill Duggar and Jessa Duggar vulnerable and candid in 'Counting On' special: Josh Duggar "devastated" us
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 12/14/2015
Jill Duggar and Jessa Duggar opened up about Josh's "secret life" that rocked their family and lives during Sunday night's Jill & Jessa: Counting On special on TLC.
"You always think in the beginning of the year what the year will hold and it hasn't been what we thought," Jill, 24, said during the broadcast.
The news of Josh's past in which he had molested a handful of girls -- including Jill and Jessa -- surfaced in May, years after the family had already healed.
"We had moved on from there," Jill explained. "To be thrown under the bus was really really hard. [As a victim], you don't want that rubbed in your face all the time, for everyone else to see... That wasn't right whoever released that. It shouldn't have happened."
Jessa, 23, apparently felt the exact same way, as she and everyone involved sought counseling when the incident occurred over a decade ago.
"There's an expectation that this family doesn't have any problems. People go digging up old bones. It was so frustrating," said Jessa, who previously starred on 19 Kids & Counting with her very religious family.
"There was a period of time in our family where Josh was not to be trusted. That relationship was restored between all of us siblings and our parents."
However, Josh confessed in August he had cheated on his wife Anna Duggar, the mother of his four children, and developed an addiction to pornography. Just last month, People reported porn star Danica Dillon filed a lawsuit against Josh because he had "assaulted her to the point of causing her physical and emotional injuries" during alleged sexual encounters.
Jessa and Jill never saw this second scandal coming.
"Knowing now what Joshua was hiding... it wasn't right for him to let us speak our words without having the full knowledge of what he was hiding," Jill admitted, referencing how she and her sister publicly supported Josh after the first scandal.
Added Jessa, "We were devastated. Over the years Josh had worked really hard to repair our trust in him."
Other family members labeled Josh's recent disclosures -- which really only came after he was caught with accounts on the extramarital affairs site Ashley Madison thanks to hackers leaking information -- the "toughest" time of their lives.
"Jess and I can say that we've chosen to forgive Josh," Jill admitted. "That's an important part of our healing. If you don't forgive you can't move on."
But adversity often builds character. Josh's mistakes apparently strengthened Jessa's marriage to Ben Seewald and had absolutely no effect on the joy they felt about their pregnancy. Jessa was still pregnant at the time this special filmed.
"I think that there is hope for our family," a younger sister named Joy Duggar noted during the show. "There's going to be a new normal."
The next episode of Jill & Jessa: Counting On is set to air Sunday, December 20 at 8PM ET/PT on TLC.