Jinger Duggar Vuolo and her husband, Jeremy, are ready to set the record straight on their own terms.
In their new book “The Hope We Hold,” released May 4, the couple details the ways in which Jinger, the sixth of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar's 19 children, differs in her religious interpretations and how Jinger and Jeremy, who wed in November 2016, fell in love. In an exclusive interview with TODAY Parents, the stars of TLC's "Counting On" said they felt it was important to tell their story.
"It was actually a really difficult decision," Jinger told TODAY Parents. "Jer and I had talked about writing this for at least two years, but it was a bit of a daunting task. We knew that to write this kind of book is opening windows into our world that hadn’t previously been opened, even by the TV cameras."
Jinger reveals in the book why the Duggar family fled Arkansas in the dead of night in 2015, after an unearthed 2006 police report revealed that her older brother Josh Duggar had been accused of molesting five girls. No charges were filed. In an interview with Fox News, his parents acknowledged that Josh had confessed to them at the time and that four of the victims were his sisters. In the aftermath, the family's TLC reality show "19 Kids and Counting" was cancelled.
At the time, Jinger asked herself how she would move on from that pain.
"It’s definitely a process," she said. "Immediately, it drew me closer in my relationship and love for Jesus and also for my family and close friends. But it’s also a process that takes time."
"Like in Romans 8:28 that (says) he is working all things together for the good of those who love him — and surround yourself with people who love and support you," she told TODAY.
"Jesus even tells us that we will walk through 'the valley of the shadow of death,' so it’s no surprise that this world is full of darkness."
"Nothing can prepare someone to receive news like that," Jeremy told TODAY. "Like everyone else, we are absolutely horrified, and want to see justice carried out. And we just want to say that we are grateful for the authorities who work tirelessly to end child abuse here and around the world. We’re praying for all of the victims in this situation — really, we’re praying for everyone who is involved."
Following Duggar's arrest, the Vuolos were the first to speak out, posting identical statements to social media that read, "We are disturbed to hear of the charges against Josh. While this case must go through the legal system, we want to make it clear that we absolutely condemn any form of child abuse and fully support the authorities and judicial process in their pursuit of justice."
Through it all, the couple has leaned heavily into their faith.
"As a Christian, my hope is based on who Jesus is and what he has promised," Jinger said. "Jesus even tells us that we will walk through 'the valley of the shadow of death,' so it’s no surprise that this world is full of darkness, but it’s the light of Christ and his word that gives us joy, peace, and security."
Jinger, 27, and Jeremy, 33, now residents of Los Angeles, are parents to Felicity, 2, and Evangeline Jo, 5 months — a role they don’t take lightly.
"I love every part of being a mom and can’t imagine my life without my two little girls," Jinger said. "I love seeing Felicity at this stage, how she adores her little sister. It really is the sweetest thing watching their relationship blossom. Every time Baby Jo cries, Felicity wants to do absolutely anything she can to make her little sister happy."
During a May 11 live book signing streamed virtually, the Vuolos revealed that writing the book involved reliving painful aspects of their past and processing it all over again, and their girls were at the forefront of their minds throughout the writing process.
"Because of that, it took some serious thought as to whether or not we wanted to do it," Jinger told TODAY. "In the end, we felt compelled knowing that we have a message of hope to share with the world."