Duggar Vuolo, now 27, is reflecting on how her life became a “bad dream” as their family’s scandal made national headlines.
She and husband Jeremy Vuolo are telling all in their new book “The Hope We Hold: Finding Peace in the Promises of God,” which was published on Tuesday. Just days prior, Josh Duggar pleaded not guilty in federal court after being charged with child pornography crimes that allegedly occurred in 2019.
While not naming Josh directly, the former “19 Kids and Counting” star wrote in her new book, “One of my siblings had made some sinful choices, but it had all been years ago. It had been awful, but we had dealt with it as a family.”
In 2015, an unearthed police report from 2006 revealed that Josh allegedly molested five girls, but he was never charged with any crimes. During an interview with Fox’s Megyn Kelly, his parents said four of the girls were his sisters. Jessa and Jill Duggar came forward as two of the victims.
Josh said in a statement at the time, “I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry.”
In “The Hope We Hold,” Duggar Vuolo gave an inside look at what happened after the allegations against her brother came to light in 2015.
“Earlier that day, Dad had gathered my siblings and me to tell us that the worst trial in our family history, a trial we had long since dealt with and made our peace with, was now public knowledge,” she wrote. “Intimate details about our lives were splashed across a magazine page and all over the Internet for anyone and everyone to read. I felt shell-shocked, as if a bomb had exploded.”
Duggar Vuolo, who has since relocated from Arkansas to Los Angeles, said she was “living in a nightmare that I wished with all my heart wasn’t real.”
She said they all “took the necessary steps to move toward healing, and offered up our forgiveness. Now that it was out in public, the old wound was open again, raw, painful.”
Duggar Vuolo recalled how her famous family decided to leave home, because paparazzi were camped outside.
“We were trapped in our own house,” she explained. “Mom and Dad told all of us to pack a few changes of clothes and load up the family bus. We were getting away for a few days until this all died down, they said, to a place with plenty of land to run around outside without anyone seeing us. It would be the perfect place to escape the cameras without being cooped up inside for the foreseeable future.”
She said her father, Jim Bob Duggar, drove the bus up to their house, with the vehicle’s door facing the building so that the paparazzi couldn’t see them loading up to leave.
“By the time we left, the photographers were asleep, and nobody noticed when the bus pulled out of the driveway and headed down the road in the dark of night,” she said of their escape.
“I leaned my head back into the seat and closed my eyes. The bus engine rumbled and my brothers and sisters chattered noisily, but I barely noticed. My mind raced with questions I couldn’t answer. ‘How do we go forward?’ I thought.”
She then explained why she didn’t want the claims against Josh to be made public.
“People outside my close circle now knew details about my life that I had never chosen to share. Details that I had never wanted to share. And there would be fallout. That goes without saying when you lead a public life,” she said.
“I just didn’t know how far it would go. What would happen to us? How in the world would we get through this?”
Duggar Vuolo didn’t self-identify as one of Josh’s victims during the Fox News special in 2015, but she was a part of a lawsuit two years later along with sisters Jill, Jessa and Joy Duggar. In 2017, the four siblings sued the city of Springdale, Arkansas, over the leaked police documents that led to the public scandal, per TMZ.
Speaking with Kelly in 2015, Jim Bob said Josh admitted he had “improperly touched some of our daughters.”
“He was just curious about girls and he had gone in and touched them over their clothes while they were sleeping,” the patriarch of the family said.
In the past week, Josh, now 33, was arrested and charged for his alleged child pornography possession. The former TLC star’s legal reps requested for him to be released on bail on Tuesday so that he could “return home to his immediate family during the pendency of this case.” His wife, Anna Duggar, is pregnant with their seventh child.
At a hearing on Wednesday, a judge granted Josh bail under the condition that he stays with family friends who agreed to be his third-party custodians. Additionally, he will be monitored with a GPS anklet, he’s unable to access the internet and he can only visit with his children if his wife is present.
Josh pleaded not guilty to one count of receipt of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography on Friday.
“We intend to defend this case aggressively and thoroughly,” Josh’s lawyer told E! News in a statement last week. “In this country, no one can stop prosecutors from charging a crime. But when you’re accused, you can fight back in the courtroom–and that is exactly what Josh intends to do.”
Click here to see what his siblings have said since his arrest.