A lot was odd about Josh Duggar’s confession, posted Thursday on his family’s website a day after news site Gawker revealed that the former family-values advocate/reality TV celeb was among the users of the hacked adultery site Ashley Madison.
The “19 Kids and Counting” star’s mea culpa apparently went through a few revisions, disappearing for a while before reappearing in a leaner form. In the original version, Duggar, a married father of two who worked for the conservative Christian Family Research Council before confessing in June to molesting girls when he was a teenager, copped to something he had yet to be publicly accused of: a “secret addiction” to Internet porn — as well as the cheating.
References to porn were scrubbed from what seems to be the final version, evidently following that sage PR advice to never admit to a sin no one raised. The opening line, though, remained unchanged: “I have been the biggest hypocrite ever,” he began.
(Good call, Josh. That’s a solid way to start. Why, it’s practically the “I did not have sex with that woman” of tawdry scandal reactions. Except the other way around.)
And Duggar changed the initial awkward phrasing of his ultimate confession.
First version: “I became unfaithful to my wife.”
Final version: “I have been unfaithful to my wife.”
(Good edits, Josh. Much more direct.)
In both, there was the requisite invoking of Jesus, who did not return calls seeking comment. “I am so ashamed of the double life that I have been living and am grieved for the hurt, pain and disgrace my sin has caused my wife and family, and most of all Jesus and all those who profess faith in Him,” Duggar continued.
A little more self-flagellation, then he concludes with two classics — the plea for mercy (or did he mean continued reality TV deals?) and for prayers. “I humbly ask for your forgiveness. Please pray for my precious wife Anna and our family during this time,” he finished.
Duggar is the first bold-face scalp in the Ashley Madison scandal. Though with millions more email addresses, user profiles and other information belonging to possible cheaters now exposed for all to see, he probably won’t be the last.
Maybe somebody should be taking notes.
[RELATED: It’s moving day for Josh Duggar and family]