The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Christian vlogger Sam Rader on his Ashley Madison account: My wife – and God – have forgiven me

Hours after the Daily Mail reported that Sam Rader – one half of the viral Christian vlogging couple Sam and Nia – appeared to have once paid for an account on the infidelity Web site Ashley Madison, the couple released a video confirming that the account was Rader’s and saying that they had put the whole thing behind them.

“She has forgiven me for this mistake that I made in opening the account,” Sam said of his wife, Nia, who sat beside him in the video. “I have sought forgiveness from God, and he has forgiven me, so I have been completely cleansed of this sin,” Rader continues.

Rader said that their newest video will be their only public statement on the matter, “because this is in our past, and this has already been completely resolved within my family and within my church.”

[After a miscarriage, Sam and Nia explain why they don’t regret their viral pregnancy announcement]

Sam, 29, and Nia, 26, went viral earlier this month for a pair of videos on their popular YouTube channel. The first video, “HUSBAND SHOCKS WIFE WITH PREGNANCY ANNOUNCEMENT!” showed Sam testing the urine of his wife, apparently without her knowledge, and surprising her with a positive pregnancy test. Days later, however, the couple released a tearful follow-up: “Our baby had a heartbeat,” where the couple announced that Nia had miscarried.

Some viewers suspected that the couple had staged the pair of videos as a publicity stunt, to which Rader recently responded, “I’m like, you know what? It was staged. It was all orchestrated by God above and nothing else.”

In “Forgiven,” posted late Friday, Rader begins, “As you may have seen, my name has been associated with an Ashley Madison account, a Web site made for spouses who want to have an affair. I’m here to clarify some of this with you guys, ‘cause I owe it to you.” 

“I did make the account. I made the account two years ago,” he continues. “This is an issue that is in our past, this is before I got onto YouTube.”

Sam and Nia posted the first video to their YouTube account eight years ago. However; the couple began prolifically vlogging their family life in April of 2014. According to the Daily Mail, Rader made two payments to the Ashley Madison site in September of 2013, and four more payments over the next couple months. His account appeared to be active until November of the same year, the Mail adds.

Rader was one of many paying Ashley Madison users to have his information released in a massive data dump by a group of hackers who announced that they had obtained the infidelity site’s user data last month.

The hackers, who call themselves the Impact Group, released 10 gigabites worth of that information earlier this week, including names, phone numbers, e-mail addresses and credit card fragments.

[Welcome to the terrifying post-Ashley Madison Internet]

Although the hack has now resurfaced the issue publicly for the couple, Rader says that he was “completely cleansed” of the sin of opening the Ashley Madison account after seeking forgiveness from his wife and from God. He says: 

I brought this to my church at the time, when I first started at the church that I’m at now. This has been brought to my discipleship partner. This was brought to my wife’s attention; she has forgiven me for this mistake that I made and opening the account. I’ve sought forgiveness to God, and He’s forgiven me.

“I need to be clear that I’ve never met with a single person face to face,” through Ashley Madison, Rader says, adding, “I never had an affair with anybody, ever, while I’ve been married with Nia.”

Rader’s late Friday statement comes a day after Josh Duggar, the oldest son of the Christian reality show family famous for TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting,” called himself the “biggest hypocrite ever” after Gawker connected his name to an Ashley Madison account contained in the leak.

[Josh Duggar says he’s ‘the biggest hypocrite ever’ amid Ashley Madison rumors]

In May, Duggar resigned from his job at the Family Research Council, a conservative lobbying firm, after In Touch reported that he had molested several young girls as a teenager. 

The Duggar family spoke about their oldest son’s past in a lengthy Fox News interview earlier this summer; TLC eventually decided to cancel “19 Kids and Counting.”

For his part, Rader says that viewers shouldn’t see his past mistake and his Christian faith as totally irreconcilable with each other: “I guess what some people don’t understand is that we’re all broken—even Christians,” He says, “We come to God as broken people, and He sat upon the cross to save us from those sins.”

At the end of the video, Nia adds, “I have forgiven Sam and I stand behind him, and this is in our past. And it’s unfortunate that its being dug up right now, but you know, our marriage is worth fighting for. And it always will be.”


What's ripple effects of the Ashley Madison hack. (Video: Jorge Ribas/The Washington Post)