Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar are reflecting on their family’s time in the reality TV spotlight, following the news earlier this week that TLC will not be producing additional seasons of their reality show, Counting On.
“It is hard to believe that more than 17 years have passed since we were first contacted by a production company wanting to do a one-hour documentary about the logistics of raising 14 children,” the couple shared in a statement on their website. “Our family has grown (and grown up!) before our eyes and on national television, and the journey has been miraculous—following God is an exciting adventure!”
The Duggars married in 1984 and welcomed their first child, son Josh, in March 1988. Their 19th child, daughter Josie, was born in December 2009. As the family continued to grow, they became the topic of several television specials, eventually evolving into their own reality show, which started as 17 Kids and Counting, in September 2008.
“Since we began filming so long ago, we’ve had the amazing honor to share our lives, our faith, and our story with you—including some of the most difficult and painful moments our family has ever faced,” the couple’s statement continued. “We are full of deep gratitude for the love shown to us and the prayers of so many who have sustained us both now and through the years.”
The news of Counting On’s cancellation comes as Josh is in the midst of a legal battle stemming from child pornography charges. The eldest Duggar, 33, was arrested in Arkansas in April, and appeared in court after pleading not guilty to receiving and possessing material depicting the sexual abuse of children. In May, he was released from an Arkansas detention center, however, he was not allowed to return home to his pregnant wife, Anna, and their six children.
According to court docs previously, in May 2019, Duggar allegedly used the internet to download the material, some of which depicts the sexual abuse of children under 12. If convicted, Duggar faces up to 20 years in prison and fines up to $250,000 on each count. A pretrial hearing was set for July 1, with the trial scheduled to begin on July 6. However, in court docs obtained by ET on Tuesday, the court made the decision to move the pre-trial hearing to Nov. 18 and trial to Nov. 30, based on the previous submitted motion to continue.
After Duggar pleaded not guilty, his lawyers released a statement.
“Josh Duggar has been charged in a two-count indictment. He has pled not guilty to both charges and we intend to defend this case aggressively and thoroughly,” the statement read. “In this country, no one can stop prosecutors from charging a crime. But when you’re accused, you can fight back in the courtroom — and that is exactly what Josh intends to do.”
Additionally, Jim Bob and Michelle shared a statement on their website after their son pleaded not guilty.
“We appreciate your continued prayers for our family at this time. The accusations brought against Joshua today are very serious,” the couple wrote. “It is our prayer that the truth, no matter what it is, will come to light, and that this will all be resolved in a timely manner. We love Josh and Anna and continue to pray for their family.”
Counting On began as a spin-off series in December 2015, following 19 Kids and Counting’s cancellation after Josh was investigated by Springdale, Arkansas, police regarding allegations that he inappropriately touched five girls who were minors when he was 14. According to multiple reports, no charges were filed against him because the statute of limitations, which was three years at the time, had expired by the time of the 2006 investigation.
In their statement about Counting On’s cancellation, Jim Bob and Michelle expressed how they are looking forward to “all the new adventures and endeavors that may come our way, and with so many grown children and wonderful grandchildren, we know our love will only continue to multiply!”
“We are forever grateful for our film crew and so many others behind the scenes who have become like family to us over the years,” the couple’s statement concluded. “The wonderful experiences that filming has provided us will be treasured always, and we look forward to discovering what’s next for our family and sharing more with you along the way!”