The untold truth of John David Duggar

When the shocking news broke in 2015 that 19 Kids & Counting alum Josh Duggar had molested his siblings and cheated on his wife, the entire Duggar family underwent a major shift in its dynamic. Josh, who'd been touted as a role model and unofficial spokesman for his 18 younger siblings, lost his family's respect when his misdeeds were made public. Fortunately, younger brother John David Duggar, stepped up to the plate for his loved ones. 

John David has done a lot for his family through the years, from building the Duggar kids a tree house to assisting his siblings with their careers. Since rising in prominence within parents Michelle and Jim Bob's brood, fans have expressed an increased interest in his life — a phenomenon that reached a fever pitch in June 2018, when John-David announced his courtship with a woman named Abbie Burnett. Considering John David waited 28 years to find a girlfriend, it's understandable Counting On diehards have a lot of questions about this particular Duggar dude. 

So, what's the deal with John David? Is the reality star as responsible as he seems, or is there more to him than meets the eye? Here's the untold truth of John David Duggar.

Behind-the-scenes beef

All of the Duggars seem to get along swimmingly on TV, but behind-the-scenes, rumors abound about bitter feuds and sketchy circumstances. One of the supposed beefs involves John David and his father, Jim Bob. Apparently, John David isn't a big fan of his dad's spending and real estate decisions. "There's things that Jim Bob does that John doesn't think are right," a source claimed to The Hollywood Gossip in April 2014. "Some of his real estate transactions, some of the equipment that he buys — a lot of this stuff, Jim Bob doesn't really need, but he thinks he does."

John David's rumored frustration with Jim Bob makes sense, considering it's no secret the family's income from reality television won't last forever. Unfortunately, it seems like Jim Bob didn't get this memo. "He'll go to an auction and he'll come home with a bucket truck that he got for $4,000, then he'll realize that it needs $8,000 worth of stuff to fix it," the insider said. "And John, he gets kind of tired of that."

As for Jim Bob's feelings about John David? He reportedly isn't happy about his son's independence. "[John David] is old enough now that he can pick and choose what he wants to do, and that just kills Jim Bob," the insider alleged. "Because he doesn't have that ultimate control."

A 'Jack' David of all trades

If want to know who the jack of all trades is in the Duggar family, look no further than John David. Not only is the Counting On star a licensed pilot, but he also dabbles in real estate and car-flipping. Oh, and he volunteers with the local police department and fire station in his hometown of Tontitown, Ark. Phew, we're tired just thinking about all that.

He may be working so much to prepare for the day when the well of TLC money dries up. There have been rumors Counting On won't stick around for much longer, so it's smart for John David to keep his options open. 

Although one might find all of these gigs overwhelming, John David seems to manage just fine. In fact, he's rather entrepreneurial when it comes to putting his skills to good use. He's practically the family's private pilot at this point. How convenient.  

A sneaky courtship

John David is definitely a private guy who doesn't like his personal business in the spotlight. Case in point: He secretly courted a woman from Oklahoma for months before the two announced their courtship in June 2018. Sneaky, huh? 

How did he and lady friend Abbie Burnett became a couple in the first place, particularly considering Michelle and Jim Bob's strict dating rules? As it turns out, John David knew Burnett's family for years before their romance blossomed, but they didn't hit it off romantically until a religious shindig brought them together. "John flew in for a church event here in Oklahoma where I'm from," Burnett said (via the Duggar's family website). "We really got connected then." The rest, as they say, is history.

He's a stickler for the Duggar rules

It's no secret Michelle and Jim Bob enforce a lot of rules at chateau Duggar. From restricting the kids' television access to their strict dating guidelines, these parents don't let much slide when it comes to their brood of 19. While many people might find these rules restrictive, John David seemingly takes pleasure in following them. 

Case in point: On the same day John David started courting Abbie Burnett, he signed up for Instagram. Some fans might already know that the Duggars' kids can't have a social media account until they enter a relationship, engagement, or marriage. The only exception to this rule is rebel Josiah Duggar, who joined Instagram three years before he started courting his now-wife, Lauren Swanson.

Needless to say, it's interesting John David waited 28 years to join the 'gram in an effort to please his parents. Talk about willpower.

He has the weight of the world on his shoulders

When Josh Duggar admitted to cheating on his wife, Anna, it completely reordered the family structure. As Josh temporarily left the family to attend a rehabilitation center of sorts, John David took on his older brother's responsibilities. "It's a big load. It's a big weight upon me now," John David confessed during a December 2015 TV special about the scandal. "I've got a whole bunch of younger siblings looking up to me and I've got to be an example to them. Because whatever I am, that's what they want to be."

John David seemingly stepped into his new role without a hitch. In episodes of Counting On, he's often seen assisting his younger brothers with their careers (He helped Josiah obtain his commercial driver's license) or remodeling a married sibling's house. The TLC celebrity also does his best to keep things positive. "We're moving on with our lives, and we're really looking forward to the future," he told ABC News in March 2016. 

Will he ever fly the coop?

When it comes to living situations, the Duggar kids are especially unique. Every Duggar above the age of 18 who isn't in a relationship still lives at home with parents Michelle and Jim Bob, and it's expected that John David — who was 28 when he started courting Abbie Burnett — won't leave home until he gets hitched. Kind of odd, right?

Making matters even more curious is that John David has owned his own home for years. Michelle divulged this interesting detail in a September 2013 blog post for TLC: "Our son John David has got a job and a home. He's leasing that home out as rental income and putting the money aside ... So he's definitely at that place in life where he's ready to be a husband and a provider and he would be open to courting a young lady if he felt she would be the one for him." 

'Bachelor 'til the rapture'

When John David announced his courtship to Abbie Burnett in June 2018, many fans were shocked, particularly considering his prior commitment to bachelorhood. In fact, John David joked about his single ways on more than one occasion. 

"I'm just holding out. Bachelor 'til the rapture, I guess," he once quipped (via The Inquisitr). For those who aren't familiar with evangelical Christian lingo, the rapture refers to a time when some Christians believe they'll be spontaneously transported from Earth to heaven. Considering Christians have no idea when the rapture will supposedly happen, that joke is pretty funny. 

John David also wasn't shy about poking fun at his bachelor status before he met Burnett. At Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard's June 2014 wedding, John David told the crowd he was taking applications for a future wife. "It was a joke. But I hear that we started receiving applications like crazy," John David told People. "I don't know how many have come in and I haven't looked at any, but I hear there are a lot." 

He lost a role model

Josh Duggar's infidelities and double life shocked the Duggars, to say the least. The family had reportedly never even heard of AshleyMadison.com, the cheating website Josh used to orchestrate an affair. Before the scandal broke, Josh was a member of the conservative Family Research Council and had often preached about faithfulness. Perhaps no one was more upset than John David, who had looked up to Josh his entire life.

In a December 2015 episode of Counting On (via People), John David addressed Josh's previous molestation scandal and subsequent cheating scandal. "After everything started to settle down from the first release of stuff in the news about Josh, we got word of a second thing that we had no clue about. That was a little more of a shock probably than the first stuff coming out."

John David tearfully told TLC cameras: "I always wanted to be like him. But, one of the toughest things I ever had to tell my older brother was, 'I don't want to be like you anymore.'" Ouch.

His girlfriend's family shares the Duggars' beliefs

When news broke that John David had found love with Abbie Burnett, fans wanted to know more about her background. As it turns out, the Burnett family seems to be quite similar to the Duggar clan. Both families subscribe to the teachings of the Advanced Training Institute (ATI), a "Biblically-based home education program." 

Rumor has it that Burnett's dad, John Burnett, appeared on a TLC special featuring the Duggars called "Raising 16 Children." If John did appear on the special, it's clear the Duggars and Burnetts have known each other for more than a decade. 

The only difference between the two clans is their size. John and his wife, Cheryl Burnett, only have eight kids in total, compared to the Duggars' 19. 

He blames the devil for his family's woes

Any fan of the Duggar family knows the clan has had its fair share of ups and downs. From Josh's numerous scandals to social media controversies, it seems like this big brood can't catch a break. Although many people would agree that members of the Duggar family are to blame for their misfortunes, John David says the devil is at fault. 

"The devil took his best shot. And he tried to take our whole family down, but God has really used this ... instead of tearing us apart as a family, he's using it to draw us together...," John David told ABC News. "We've forgiven, and we're moving on, and we're looking to the future."

We're going to assume John David isn't implying that the devil signed up Josh for the cheating site Ashley Madison, but if this perspective helps the family endure, heal, and overcome, so be it.