When you think of the Duggar family, affairs of the heart and romantic entanglements are probably not the first things that spring to mind.
While it’s true that the Counting On clan has been involved in just about every type of scandal over the years, their courtships and resulting marriages are usually fairly straightforward, passion-free affairs.
In fact, it’s been widely rumored that Jim Bob Duggar arranges his kids’ marriages like some sort of Arkansan feudal lord.
The kids have no say in who they marry, so there’s no drama, just lots and lots of babies.
At least that’s the idea.
But Jim Bob is not supreme ruler of the universe (yet …), so outside of the Duggar family, people still have agency and free will, which means they can throw a monkey wrench into his best laid plans.
And many fans are now convinced that that’s exactly what Lauren Caldwell did last year.
If you’re a longtime fan of the Duggar clan, then you probably already know that Lauren is the sister of Kendra Caldwell, who’s married to Joseph Duggar.
But if Jim Bob has his way, Lauren will soon be a double-sister-in-law to Joe.
Yes, there are widespread rumors that James Duggar is courting Lauren, but the couple has made no official announcement yet … and there could be a good reason why they’re holding off.
Even as the evidence of a James-Lauren courtship continues to mount, the rumored lovebirds insist on keeping their relationship on the DL.
So what gives?
Well, just three months ago Lauren, announced her engagement to Titus Hall.
The 20-year-old seemed overjoyed by the news, and judging by their Instagram post on the subject, it seems her parents were just as thrilled.
"We couldn’t be happier for Titus and Lauren," the family wrote, adding the hashtags "engaged" and "surprise proposal."
The Caldwells, of course, subscribe to the same evangelical belief system as the Duggars.
It’s a world in which courtships almost always lead to engagements, and engagements ALWAYS end in marriage.
So fans were absolutely floored when Lauren and Titus abruptly broke up.
The couple offered no explanation, and it was widely rumored that Lauren dumped Titus for James.
Normally, this sort of thing would be considered unacceptable in their insular, rules-driven world.
But the Duggars consider themselves to be the top of the food chain, the exception to every rule — and the Caldwells aren’t very far below them in the Arkansas fundie hierarchy.
Paul Caldwell is the pastor at the church attended by the Duggars, and Jim Bob reportedly considers "Pastor Paul" his closest friend.
The two men were said to be overjoyed when Kendra and Joseph got hitched.
In fact, it was widely rumored that Kendra and Joe were forced into an arranged marriage.
Whatever the case, insiders say the patriarchs/BFFs immediately began planning a second union between their many offspring.
James and Lauren — both being close to marrying age at the time — were the first options that sprang to mind.
Then Lauren had to go and mess the whole thing up by falling in love with some peasant.
So was it Lauren’s decision to break up with Titus, or did Paul and Jim Bob force her into it?
And once she kicked him to the curb, was she forced to immediately enter a courtship with James?
We obviously can’t say for certain, but something tells us there’s more to this story …
We’ll continue to provide you with updates as more information becomes available,