Reports that Austin Forsyth is abusive toward his wife, Joy-Anna Duggar, have recently made their way across the social media landscape.
It appears that there may be more truth to those rumors than we'd like to believe, The Hollywood Gossip has learned from an exclusive source.
The allegations first surfaced based on what Counting On fans had witnessed both on the show and in web exclusives posted by TLC.
To be clear, Austin is not accused of physically abusing Joy-Anna.
Viewers are still concerned, however, claiming they're able to recognize major red flags after observing they way they conduct themselves.
Specifically, critics cite first-hand experience in suggesting that Austin behaves in ways typical of men who perpetrate emotional and verbal abuse.
A former employee of the Duggars who spoke exclusively with The Hollywood Gossip tells us that based on his upbringing, this is no surprise.
Those familiar with Forsyth family secrets believe that Austin's overly-harsh interactions with his young wife are par for the course.
Our source claims that like Joy, Austin was raised in an extremely strict household - perhaps even more so than the Duggars.
And it seems the harsh lessons he learned from his overbearing father may have irreparably damaged the young man's views on relationships:
"His father governs everything that he does, from cutting cows to doing whatever," the source told THG earlier this week.
He notes that Terry Forsyth offered his son a bizarre ultimatum when Austin requested permission to begin courting Joy:
"He couldn't date Joy-Anna until he flipped five houses," the insider says. "Austin had to flip and sell five houses before he'd be allowed to date."
That's ... different. But he's serious.
"He went to his dad, and he said, 'What do I need to do?' and his dad said, 'You need to flip five houses before you can court.'"
Though Austin was already a grown man at the time, such parental demands are not entirely uncommon in the Duggars' world.
This is a place where there's no such thing as casual dating, and courting is viewed as a tightly-regulated prelude to marriage.
However, like the man himself, Terry's request of his young, love-struck son was viewed as unnecessarily harsh by many.
But even before he set such a difficult challenge before Austin, Terry was something of a controversial figure in certain circles.
Around the Springdale, Ark., community, even those close to the Duggars and their friends have raised serious concerns.
"Terry, he's on his second marriage, and I still haven't figured this one out yet, he's an officer in Paul [Caldwell]'s church."
NOTE: Paul Caldwell is the father of Kendra Caldwell.
"You can't be an officer in the church if you've been divorced," the source says, openly wondering why this is the case.
Whatever the reason, "Austin is a prime candidate for mental abuse, because I'm sure he's been totally mentally browbeat."
The insider elaborates:
"I guarantee [Joy] is at his beck and call. To me, she really has no life with Austin. She's just gonna be a baby factory."
That's a blunt and somewhat brutal assessment, but to many Duggar observers, it may not necessarily come as a shock.
Fortunately, the source says, Joy is so highly-regarded in her hometown, that if Austin ever crosses the line into physical abuse, he'll pay dearly.
"If he does abuse her in any way, there won't be nowhere he can hide," the informant tells The Hollywood Gossip.
As for the time-honored question of whether or not Joy got pregnant before marriage as a result of broken courtship rules?
Our source says those who know the couple best believe there's a distinct possibility those rumors are true...
... because he personally walked in on them.
"She'd been alone with him several times. They got caught several times," says the tipster, describing one such encounter.
"I caught them kissing outside the garage door one night. They were standing in this little area where the cameras weren't."
"She went up and kissed him."
"I yelled out, 'What's going on over there?' I mean to tell you, they ran like scared rabbits," our source says.
Other rabbit-like activities thwarted, how did the young lovebirds react to getting busted? The insider continued:
"About an hour later I was in the garage," he says, "and Austin came up to me and said, 'We're only human, you know.'"
Truth. But what about the rules?! "I said, 'I know you're human. But when you make rules, you need to follow them.'"
On the question of whether or not Joy and Austin broke the rules of courtship in more serious fashion, the insider says:
"[She and Austin] may have had sex before they were married. She ain't no sexpot, don't get me wrong."
"But she was ready to be married."
Asked for a final impression of Austin Forsyth, our source said simply that the young man "doesn't have a backbone."
"He doesn't have a whole lot of common sense."
Well, if that's true, at least there's a silver lining:
Forsyth certainly should have no trouble getting along with some of Jim Bob Duggar's other sons-in-law.