“I truly hope to the good Lord above that she is happy and thriving and working through whatever she’s experienced, but I have no contact with her,” Amy, 36, revealed in a Vanity Fair interview published on Wednesday, June 28, noting that Jana, 33, still lives on her parents’ property in Arkansas.
“Anyone that lives at home with anyone in the IBLP, you’re under their control, so I don’t know if she’s necessarily allowed to [contact me],” Amy added, referring to the Institute in Basic Life Principles, the fundamentalist Christian movement to which Jim Bob, 57, and Michelle, 56, subscribe.
Jana is the eldest daughter of Jim Bob and Michelle, who rose to fame on the TLC series 19 Kids and Counting. The family’s spinoff show, Counting On, was canceled after the couple’s eldest son, Josh, was arrested on child pornography charges in early 2021. Josh, 35, was found guilty on two counts of receiving and possessing child pornography in December of that year and later sentenced to more than 12 years in prison.
Amy and some of her relatives have since denounced their upbringing, most recently in Prime Video’s Shiny Happy People. Jana did not participate, but Amy and cousin Jill Duggar spoke out against IBLP in the docuseries, while Jinger Duggar opened up about her experience in the January memoir Becoming Free Indeed: My Story of Disentangling Faith From Fear.
“[My upbringing] was built on fear, manipulation, control and superstition, so all those things combined in how hard it is for kids to leave or adults to leave — anyone, really,” Jinger, 29, exclusively told Us Weekly ahead of her book’s release. “Once you hear the teachings, you’re not supposed to depart from those.”
Amy, for her part, said that the family’s treatment of Josh after his arrest was the “last straw” for her. “I can’t imagine protecting a predator,” she told Vanity Fair. “I think that is the lowest of low, [and] there’s no going back.”
After Shiny Happy People‘s release, Jim Bob and Michelle slammed the series, calling it “sad” in a statement shared via their website. “Like other families, ours too has experienced the joys and heartbreaks of life, just in a very public format,” the pair wrote earlier this month. “This ‘documentary’ paints so much and so many in a derogatory and sensationalized way because sadly that’s the direction of entertainment these days.”
They continued: “We have always believed that the best chance to repair damaged relationships, or to reconcile differences, is through love in a private setting. We love every member of our family and will continue to do all we can to have a good relationship with each one.”
Amy, however, was not impressed by their reaction. In a TikTok video shared days later, she slammed Jim Bob for allegedly protecting Josh after he was accused in 2015 of molesting several underage girls while he was a teenager. His sisters Jill and Jessa were later identified as two of the victims.
“If you’re not going to protect those beautiful daughters from a predator that was living inside of your home and you knew about it, and you’re gonna sweep it under the rug and your mentality is kinda just to brush it off and to hide it and to lie, not only do I not respect you anymore, but I also don’t want to give you a right to get to know my child,” Amy said in her upload. “Because I will protect my child at all costs.”
Years after the 2015 scandal, Jim Bob claimed that he couldn’t recall the details of Josh’s alleged admission that he’d touched the victims. “We were shocked this had happened but we were thankful he came on his own and told us,” he said in November 2021 while testifying on behalf of Josh in his child pornography trial.