“That’s been one of the hardest things,” the Counting On alum, 29, exclusively told Us Weekly ahead of the Tuesday, January 31, release of her book Becoming Free Indeed. “It is difficult to even discuss it. What I will say is that I am grateful for the justice system. I’m grateful that justice is being served with my brother.”
In December 2021, Josh, 34, was convicted on two counts of receiving and possessing child pornography following his arrest eight months earlier. The former TLC personality was sentenced to 12.5 years in prison in May 2022.
“My heart just breaks for the victims and their families,” Jinger continued, adding that the situation inspired her to “lean harder” on her faith. “People will always let us down and fail us. You can look at something like that and say, ‘How in the world is this possible? How could this have happened?’ It just takes so much time to work through in your mind and process everything.”
After Josh’s conviction, Jinger and her husband, Jeremy Vuolo, condemned the political activist’s actions in a lengthy statement. “We are saddened for the victims of horrific child abuse,” the couple said in December 2021. “We are also saddened for Josh’s family, his wife and precious children. … We are thankful to God for exposing Josh’s actions and to a legal system committed to protecting the innocent and punishing the guilty in this case. We are grateful for justice. We are praying for further justice, vindication, protection and healing for all those who have been wronged.”
Several years before Josh’s arrest, a police report that resurfaced in May 2015 revealed that he molested five girls when he was 14 and 15 years old. News later broke that four of the five alleged victims were his sisters, including Jill Duggar and Jessa Duggar. That same year, Josh confessed to cheating on his wife, Anna Duggar, after an Ashley Madison data leak.
“It was one of the hardest times of our lives,” Jinger told Us in April 2021 about Josh’s scandals, which made headlines in 2015. “I will never forget how I felt in that moment. And I think even everything that happens in our lives — because we’re in the public eye — it makes it more challenging because then it’s not just dealing with these things inwardly, but you have to give an answer to the world. That makes it a much tougher thing to walk through.”
In her book, Jinger revealed that she hasn’t spoken to her older brother in two years. Despite their estrangement, however, the Growing Up Duggar coauthor is hopeful that Josh will eventually understand the consequences of his actions.
“It’s definitely been so tough and so sad,” she explained to Us this month. “I just continue to pray that his heart will be changed. Even writing this book, it also makes me realize, ‘OK, there’s more of a need for this,’ because you can put on an outward front of who you say you are. It’s easy with these principles. … But it has to be genuine from the inside out. It’s not just putting on an outward front.”
The Arkansas native added that opening up about her family’s most difficult moments in her new book was at times a “stressful” process, but she hopes that her words will offer comfort to readers who may be experiencing similar situations in their own lives.
“My heart going into this has been to share stories I haven’t shared before, because I think that a lot of readers will be able to relate to it even if they did not grow up in the exact same setting as I did,” she explained. “Hopefully my vulnerability will be able to help someone.”
Becoming Free Indeed: My Story of Disentangling Faith From Fear is available now.
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi