When Justin Duggar announced his engagement to his now-wife Claire the day after his 18th birthday last year, social media users found the timing suspicious — and now Claire has confirmed that Justin did, in fact, propose when he was just 17.
On November 5 of this year, the 20-year-old bride said that it had been exactly a year since Justin popped the question — meaning he was ten days shy of being legally allowed to wed when he asked her to be his wife.
Though Claire has limited Instagrammers' ability to comment on her post, Redditors have called it 'insane' that the youngsters were planning their wedding before Justin was even old enough to vote.
Made up his still-developing mind!
Justin's wife Claire, 20, revealed on November 5 that it was the one-year anniversary of Justin, now 18, popping the question
Children in love: That was ten days before his 18th birthday, when he became legally eligible for marriage in Texas and Arkansas
Well THAT's not from a Cracker Jack box!
Teen groom Justin managed to swing a bit of bling for his missus
Fans and critics had previously speculated that the timing was incredibly close, with many guessing that they'd already been engaged for some time when they announced last year
The couple had first announced their engagement on November 16, 2020, a day after Justin — who was born in 2002 — turned 18, the legal age to marry without parental permission.
In Arkansas, children can marry at age 17 with parental consent, while only emancipated minors can marry at 16 or 17 in Texas.
Fans and critics speculated that the timing was incredibly close, with many guessing that they'd already been engaged for some time — but waited to share the news publicly because they knew the optics weren't good.
But now Claire has officially confirmed what so many guessed: Her baby-faced husband was, indeed, still legally a child when he got down on one knee.
'Hard to believe it has been one year since our engagement!
Such a whirlwind day filled with joy!' Claire wrote on Instagram, captioning a slideshow of photos of the the two of them.
Family members — including Justin's sisters Jessa, Jinger, and Joy Anna — liked the post, and supportive comments have poured it.
And they called it puppy love: Claire has officially confirmed what so many guessed, that her baby-faced husband was, indeed, still legally a child when he got down on one knee
Countdown 'til he's legal!
In Arkansas, children can marry at age 17 with parental consent, while only emancipated minors can marry at 16 or 17 in Texas
As long as they're married, it's OK!
The revelation is a particularly eyebrow-raising one given the family's questionable record on protecting minors when it comes to sex
But on Reddit, some critics have voiced shock and concern that Justin and Claire would be encouraged to tie the knot at their ages.
'No 17-year-old should be engaged...
that's not even a legal adult. Insane,' wrote one.
'Aren't most 17-year-old boys thinking about how to ask someone to prom? Gah...' wrote another.
'Man, their families just remind me how grateful I am that my parents were normal and let me date who I wanted at my own pace and didn't creepily involve themselves in my sex life,' wrote one more.
Others called it 'gross' and 'unsettling.'
'This is sad,' said one.
'You've barely experienced life at that age. You hardly understand yourself, never mind a partner.'
Though Justin — who would have been a high school senior at the time of his proposal if he had not been homeschooled — was an adult by the time he officially wed, the revelation about his age at the time of the engagement is a particularly eyebrow-raising one given the family's questionable record on protecting minors when it comes to sex.
Predator: Justin's brother Josh goes on trial this month for child pornography charges, and has documented incidents of sexually abusing minors when he was a teenager
Protecting their kids?
Their parents, Jim Bob and Michelle, have strict rules governing contact between boys and girls - but still allowed Josh to be around his sisters after he molested them
Josh went on to have seven children and was allowed complete access to other children after he sexually abused his sisters
Justin's oldest brother, Josh, is about to go on trial this month for child pornography charges, and has documented incidents of sexually abusing minors when he was a teenager.
In 2016, it was revealed that Josh had molested five girls, including four of his sisters.
After going to a faith-based rehab facility in Little Rock, Arkansas in 2003, he returned home and lived with his minor siblings, and has since gone on to have seven children with his wife, Anna.
In April, he was arrested and charged with federal counts of receiving and possessing child pornography. According to the indictment against Josh, he is alleged to have downloaded child sexual abuse material online in May 2019.
When the raid was carried out and before Josh knew what authorities were investigating, he had allegedly asked agents: 'What is this about?
Has someone been downloading child pornography?'
Josh was asked about having child porn in his possession and he allegedly responded: 'I'd rather not answer that question.'
Some of the material he is accused of possessing shows children under the age of 12, and Homeland Security special agent Gerald Faulkner described some of the content as 'in the top five of the worst of the worst that I've ever had to examine.'
Justin and Claire 'met at a family conference,' but their families have known each other since before they were born
On Reddit, some critics have voiced shock and concern that Justin and Claire would be encouraged to tie the knot at their ages
No time to waste! Though the pair had announced their courtship in September 2020, they had officially met on April 27, 2019
Justin had confirmed his engagement on last November.
'There is nothing comparable to finding the one you are meant to spend your life with.
We know we have found that in each other,' the couple said in a joint statement. 'We cannot wait to be married and are looking forward to a life together of faith in Christ, love for one another, and happiness!'
'So excited to announce that we are engaged!!' Justin wrote on Instagram.
'I will never forget the look on her face when I slid the ring on her finger. We look forward to the day that we get to begin the rest of our lives together!'
Though the pair had announced their courtship two months before, they had actually officially met on April 27, 2019, and had over a year and a half of getting to know each other before getting engaged.
Speaking to Us Weekly at the time, Justin said: 'God brought Claire in my life and I wasn't really expecting it, but he brought her along right when I needed her.
'Ever since then, I just knew that she was the one.
Claire has a lot of good qualities and I can sit here and tell you all of them, but there are so many good things that Is see in her. I'm so blessed to have her in my life.'
Claire added: 'Justin and I's families have known each other for over 20 years so before he or I were even born, and then we got connected last year.
The teen groom and his bride shared a kiss at the altar at their February wedding
Never been kissed!
If they followed Duggar traditions, shared their first kiss ever at the altar
The pair is seen walking back down the aisle after saying 'I do,' with some of Justin's older brothers seen as groomsmen in the background
Full-frontal at last!
The Duggars adhere to strict rules when it comes to dating, limiting their physical contact to brief side-hugs - so as to avoid full-body contact - before marriage
'I'm really looking forward to the memories to come spent with him.
I'm excited to see what the Lord holds for us in the near future.'
Meanwhile, Claire shared another message about their courtship on Instagram, writing: 'Words will never express the depth of my love and admiration for this amazing man! He is the most tenderhearted person, and every moment spent with him is treasured.
'I'm so thankful for the man of God that he is.
Whether we are in person, or long distance, he cherishes and loves me unconditionally. His example to me and all he meets, is unlike any other. I am the most blessed woman on earth to be in a relationship you. I'll love you forever.'
The puppy love pair wasted no time making it down the aisle, and got married in front of at least 100 guests in Texas on February 26, 2021.
Photos and video show Justin a navy suit, a moss green tie, and a white rose boutonniere.
They did it! The couple announced their newlywed status on Friday shortly after they said 'I do'
Canceled: Unlike some of Justin's older siblings, Justin won't see his wedding on TV, as the family reality show as canceled this summer
On camera: However, they did hire a videographer to document the occasion
Claire, meanwhile, wore a tiered A-line lace gown by Allure bridals, which she appears to have had fitted with an additional modesty panel of lace above the neckline.
Her hair was done in a loose braid woven with roses.
A video by videographer Gabriel Johnson captures the pair walking arm-in-arm outside at sunset and posing together with Claire's hand on Justin's chest and Justin's hand on the small of her back — a sexually tempting position they'd have been banned from taking just hours before.
But the real thrill came inside, seconds after a pastor officially wed the couple: Allowed to kiss for the fist time, Justin put his hands on either side of Claire's face and went in for the prize.
Claire, who had her arms around his back, followed up the quick smooch with a hug.
The Duggars, who are fundamentalist Christians, adhere to strict rules when it comes to dating, limiting their physical contact to brief side-hugs — so as to avoid full-body contact — until they are engaged.
Once engaged, many of them graduate to hand holding, but still save any more touching — including full-frontal hugs first kisses — until they are married.
Though Justin and Claire haven't confirmed that they, too, followed those rules, fans assume that they remained equally chaste until their nuptials.
'Today we have started a journey together that God crafted long before we ever knew it was meant to be.
We are so thankful for the love of Christ that has b, they have since gone on to purchase a 737-square-foot two bedroom, one bathroom house estimated to be worth $134,700 in Fort Worth, Texas, a short drive from Claire's parents, the Spiveys.
The home was purchased on September 9, with the deed listing a a general purchase price of just $10.
According to The Sun, sale amounts are not public record in Texas.
However, Realtor.com estimates the home to be worth $134,700, while Zillow puts the number at $133,300. It was last listed in 2015-2016 for $74,500.
The house has what appears to be a one-car garage and a backyard and looks like it needs a bit of work, but Justin seems up for the challenge, having flipped at least one home already.