Back in January, Jana Duggar turned 30. Especially in today's world, 30-year-olds have their best years in front of them.
For most, 30 is not an age at which one needs to worry about opportunities passed. Much more lies ahead than behind.
In the eyes of the Duggar family, however, the oft-maligned Jana Marie is inching dangerously close to old maid territory.
And there's more to her story than we ever knew.
In an exclusive interview with The Hollywood Gossip, a former Duggar employee reveals how distraught Jana's father is.
Not only is Jim Bob is upset by Jana's refusal to marry and have children, but the circumstances behind her decisions.
Jana feels that as an adult woman, she should make her own decisions about who she loves and whether she has kids.
Her notoriously overbearing father disagrees.
Furthermore, Jim Bob Duggar is reportedly concerned about the nature of Jana's close relationship with a longtime friend.
We were familiar with the name Laura DeMasie, but nothing prepared us for this. It's honestly as sad as it is shocking.
Here's what our insider had to say:
If you're reading this, you're surely aware that women in the Duggar family are taught from a young age that procreation is their primary reason for being, and to waste one's most fertile years as an unattached "spinster" is some sort of affront to God.
Standing Her Ground
Obviously, such a mentality is rightly considered absurd in most parts of the modern world. More and more of the modern world with each passing year even. But it's impossible to overstate the power of the systemic indoctrination that the Duggar kids are subjected to from early childhood on.
The Courage to Be Herself
We say all of this not to belabor the nature of the family's belief system (although that's certainly a debate worth having), but as a testament to Jana Duggar's courage in refusing to succumb to the constant pressure from her parents to marry and have kids.
Jana, as fans know, has been courted by multiple suitors. As the oldest daughter of the Duggar family, it's not like there haven't been opportunities or interested parties - including some very eligible bachelors we'll discuss in a bit. But in her own words, she has yet to find "Mr. Right."
Life Under a Magnifying Glass
There's nothing unusual about being 30 and single for most millennials, of course, but remaining unattached by the time you hit the big 3-0 is the ultimate act of rebellion in the Duggars' world. As such, Jana's love life remains an endless subject of fascination for the family's most devoted fans.
The Hollywood Gossip recently interviewed a former employee of the Duggars, a reliable source whose insight has been invaluable to our understanding of the family over the years. He confirmed to us this week that Jim Bob is deeply upset by his eldest daughter's refusal to marry - and went into detail we've suspected but never known for sure until now.
The insider, whose identity we are not revealing for his/her own protection, began by confirming recent reports that Jim Bob and Michelle spy on their adult children by closely monitoring their cell phone use.
“He tracks their phones. Some of the kids aren’t on Jim Bob’s plan, but he still gets in there," the source tells us.
Master and Commander
Not only is Jim Bob overbearing, but he's willing to do whatever it takes. "I don’t know how he does it, but he’s got some program that allows him to get into their texts and pictures,” our insider added.
Number One Target
Not surprisingly, it seems Jim Bob is by far the most interested in the private life of one of his kids in particular - the only one of his adult daughters who remains single and childless, and the oldest of his nine daughters at that.
“Jana, I feel sorry for her," the insider told us by way of segueing into a bold claim about Jana's single status.
Addressing the Rumor
"She’s gay, and she just doesn’t know how she’s gonna admit that she’s gay, but she’s in love with her best friend," the source said, lamenting the prison Jana reportedly feels trapped in.
More Than Friends?
Rumors about Jana and longtime friend Laura DeMasie have been circulating for years, with many fans jumping to the conclusion that the two of them are involved in an illicit romantic relationship. Well, it turns out this isn't just speculation among users on Internet message boards.
An Important Disclaimer
It’s important for us to note here that our source’s conjecture about Jana’s sexuality is merely that.
Just to Be Clear
There’s no clear evidence that Jana engaged in sexual activity with Laura DeMasie, or anyone else, for that matter.
She's Still a Duggar, After All
In fact, given the stringent nature of the much-discussed Duggar family courtship rules, it seems highly unlikely that there's any physical aspect to Jana and Laura's relationship.
You might think, as we did, that the fact that this is a female friend might ironically allow Jana to be alone with her away from prying eyes. (Sorry, chaperones.) Wishful thinking. THG's source says that Jim Bob remains deeply concerned to this day about the possibility of his daughter being romantically involved with Laura, to the point that he seldom allows the women to be alone together.
"Even when they went to Las Vegas, Jim Bob went. Just the three of them. I guess he was like a chaperone,” our source said.
The source is referring to the trip Jana took to Las Vegas in February of this year. None of the photos from the trip posted to social media show Jana in the presence of either Jim Bob or Laura.
Jana on the Market
Of course, Jim Bob's preferred method for ensuring that Jana sticks to the only sort of relationship he approves of (a heterosexual marriage that produces many, many children) is to pair her up with available suitors.
Refusing to Settle
Despite Jim Bob's best efforts, however, (our source even confirms that the patriarch did indeed attempt to set his daughter up with former NFL quarterback and born-again Christian Tim Tebow), Jana remains unattached.
The Hollywood Gossip's insider says that Jana and Jim Bob have reached a sort of temporary, uneasy truce with regard to her love life - one that he doesn't expect will last much longer.
A Difficult Position
“Eventually what’s gonna have to happen, is that she’s gonna have to bite the bullet and come out, or become celibate,” the informant said.
Rock and a Hard Place
To say Jana's in a difficult spot here, assuming the above assessment is accurate, would be the understatement of all time. It would be a period of intense personal introspection for any young woman, but in the Duggar household? Magnify that by a thousand. “Her family is totally anti-gay, of course, so I really don’t how that’s gonna be," our source lamented.
A Painful Separation
Last year, Laura DeMasie moved from Arkansas to Georgia. She said the relocation was the result of a career change, but fans have long suspected it was orchestrated by Jim Bob.
Our source could neither confirm nor deny those reports, but at this point, there's very little that we would put past Jim Bob. With regard to his brutal campaign to maintain complete control over the lives of his children, is there anything you'd think he'd stop short of?