Jim Bob & Michelle Duggar admit Counting On involved filming ‘difficult & painful moments’ after show's cancellation

COUNTING On patriarchs Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have broken their silence after their reality show was cancelled.

The Sun broke the news last week the controversial family were being dropped by the network after almost six years – in the wake of Josh Duggar's arrest on child porn charges.

Jim Bob and Michelle opened up for the first time since then about filming "the most difficult and painful moments our family has ever faced."

The statement began: "It is hard to believe that more than 17 years have passed since we were first contacted by a production company wanting to do a one-hour documentary about the logistics of raising 14 children.

"Our family has grown (and grown up!) before our eyes and on national television, and the journey has been miraculous—following God is an exciting adventure!"

The parents of 19 children said some of their "most treasured moments have been those when we met children across the country who are alive today because of our testimony that children are a blessing."

"Since we began filming so long ago, we’ve had the amazing honor to share our lives, our faith, and our story with you—including some of the most difficult and painful moments our family has ever faced," the couple wrote.

"We are full of deep gratitude for the love shown to us and the prayers of so many who have sustained us both now and through the years."

Jim Bob and Michelle added: "We look forward to all the new adventures and endeavors that may come our way, and with so many grown children and wonderful grandchildren, we know our love will only continue to multiply!"

The finished the statement by saying they were "forever grateful" to the film crew who filmed them and became "like family to us over the years".

"The wonderful experiences that filming has provided us will be treasured always, and we look forward to discovering what’s next for our family and sharing more with you along the way," the statement ended.

Counting On's cancellation came as a shock to Jim Bob and his wife who were told via phone after the official decision was made.

Counting On first aired in 2015 as a spin-off to 19 Kids & Counting, which was also axed after Josh, 33, was accused of molesting five minor females.

Its last series ended in September 2020, and fans have been left wondering if there will be a Season 12 this year – as more than 28,000 people signed the petition on Change.org.

An insider told The Sun exclusively: "The decision was made by TLC earlier this week to cancel the show.

"The family was told over the phone shortly after and it's still very hush hush. 

"The petition from those who boycotted Counting On was hard to ignore, and sponsors were very concerned following Josh's arrest. 

"There have been a lot of discussions in recent weeks as the network had already spent money on production after months of filming. 

"But the bottom line is, the network really wants to be on the right side of this scandal ahead of Josh's trial. It was important for bosses to be seen to have taken action.

"The case has put the show in such a bad light, and although it's a shame for those who worked hard on it, and the money spent, there really is no way forward."

The Sun reached out to TLC for comment before breaking the news, but did not receive a reply.

A rep then provided a brief statement to other media outlets, saying: "TLC will not be producing additional seasons of Counting On.

"TLC feels it is important to give the Duggar family the opportunity to address their situation privately."

Josh never appeared on the spin-off show, after earlier admitting to molesting his sisters as a teen, but many members of the family have stood by him since his recent arrest, including pregnant wife Anna.

He pleaded not guilty after being charged with two counts of receiving and possessing child porn. 

The father-of-six was taken into custody on federal charges on April 29 following a 2019 Homeland Security raid on his now-shuttered used car dealership, The Sun first reported.

His father Jim Bob is believed to be paying his lawyers, as Josh has been out of work for months. He also arranged for a third party custodian to take him in when he was let out on bail.

Josh has been slammed for begging an Arkansas judge to "delay" his trial for child porn charges so his team can "investigate his computers."

The Sun exclusively revealed on Tuesday that his jury trial has been postponed until November.

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