In a federal courthouse in Fayetteville, Arkansas on Thursday, Anna Duggar’s life changed forever.
Her husband, Josh Duggar, was convicted of receiving and possessing child pornography.
After the verdict was read, Josh was cuffed and remanded to a nearby county jail, where he will await his April sentencing hearing.
He faces 20 years behind bars and $250,000 in fines.
There’s been a good deal of debate with regard to Anna’s role in this scandal.
Some see her as one of Josh’s victims, stuck in a marriage to a serial predator, her escape prohibited by a community in which divorce is strictly forbidden.
Others have derided her as an accomplice, or at least an enabler.
They believe that she turned a blind eye to her husband’s crimes when she was uniquely capable of putting a stop to them.
And in doing so, these critics argue, Anna became complicit in her husband’s misdeeds.
Anna was in court every day of the trial, and on the day that the verdict was rendered, she arrived hand-in-hand with Josh.
Most of the accounts from onlookers who were present in the courtroom focused on the defendant’s reaction.
They say Josh cried in court (or at least had “tears in his eyes”) and looked longingly at his family as he was handcuffed and led from the room.
As for Anna — well, it seems that her response to the news could not have been much more different from that of her husband.
Witnesses say Anna betrayed little emotion as the verdict was announced.
According to a new report from In Touch, Anna remained “stoic” as her husband was convicted and remanded to federal custody.
The outlet reports that Anna was “comforted” by Josh’s father, Jim Bob.
A source tells In Touch that Josh told Anna he loved her as he bailiffs ushered him from the courtroom.
As with just about everything that she’s done in the past eight months, Anna’s reaction to her husband’s imprisonment is being heavily scrutinized.
Some say it reflected an insensitivity to the seriousness of the situation.
Others believe Anna was just suppressing her shock and horror.
These people speculate that she broke down in sobs of grief and shame as soon as she was removed from the public eye.
Obviously, we’ll never know for sure which theory is the more accurate of the two.
But it’s worth noting that Anna has a long history of reacting stoically when presented with evidence of her husband’s appalling behavior.
After the world learned that Josh molested five young girls while he was in his teens, Anna shocked Duggar fans by appearing on an episode of Counting On.
Duggar critics probably were not in the habit of watching the show, of course.
But if the few who saw Anna’s appearance were probably stunned by Anna’s unemotional remarks about this appalling chapter in her husband’s past.
“I knew that my only hope was to cling to my faith, because I knew that if I went with what I was feeling, then I would turn a mess into a disaster,” she said.
“I was praying to God to help me know how to respond to this,” Anna continued.
“I didn’t know what to do … but I hoped that God would give [us the] help and the wisdom that we needed to take the next step.”
She was tearful, yes — but she wasn’t as horrified as one might expect from a woman whose husband had just been exposed as a sexual predator.
Part of the reason for this is Anna’s denial.
Insiders say she doesn’t believe that her husband is completely innocent, but she does think that he’s the victim of a witch hunt, and that the allegations against him have been largely fabricated or at least exaggerated.
Apparently, Anna has maintained her belief that Josh was framed by the Biden administration and would never have been arrested had Donald Trump been re-elected.
Another reason for Anna’s bizarre lack of a reaction is the ultra-patriarchal society in which she was raised.
Women in American evangelical communities are typically instructed to remain loyal to their husbands no matter what, and to never question the actions of the men they married.
Of course, not all women in the Duggars’ world are quite so brainwashed by these teachings.
Shortly after yesterday’s news was announced, Amy Duggar reacted to the verdict with words of profound gratitude.
Shortly thereafter, Jill Duggar broke her silence on the matter of her brother’s trial.
She was similarly grateful, and made it clear that she believes justice has been served.
Jill also answered a question that’s been on the minds of many Duggar-watchers — will Anna be shunned now that her husband has been so publicly disgraced?
“Our hearts are sensitive to the pains Josh’s wife, Anna, and their seven children have already endured and will continue to process in the future,” Jill wrote on her blog.
“Josh’s family has a long road ahead,” she continued.
“We stand with them, we are praying for them and we will seek to support them however we can during this dark time.”
So it seems that despite reports to the contrary, Anna will not be forced to fend for herself as a mother of seven with no professional experience of any kind.
That’s a good thing, as no matter how you feel about her personally, this woman and her children have a very difficult road ahead of them.
As for Anna’s emotional state, it seems that despite her stoic facade, she unsurprisingly feels as though her world has been torn apart.
“Anna is completely devastated. Her family has been torn apart, but she knows it’s not just her family that’s been hurt,” the insider says.
“She’s trying to think about and pray for the innocent victims.”
And despite what others may think, it seems the Duggars know that Anna is not to blame.
“The family prayed and prayed, but also braced themselves for the worst,” a second source told In Touch.
“[Michelle Duggar] and [Jim Bob Duggar] are trying to stay strong, praying for Josh, Anna and their grandkids. The family is rallying, but some of the kids can’t forgive their brother Josh for what he did. They’re horrified that he didn’t get help sooner.”
We’ll have further updates on this developing story as more information becomes available.