Michelle Duggar's secret goes against all her beliefs

Dec 31, 2014 at 8:10 p.m. ET
Image: TLC

Michelle Duggar and her brood don't exactly keep their views a secret.

More: Will TLC cancel 19 Kids and Counting due to LGBT "fear-mongering"?

One thing the 19 Kids and Counting matriarch does want to keep secret? Her sister, who, according to Radar Online, identifies as a lesbian.

The famous Duggar family has been historically staunchly anti-gay. An online petition asking for the cancellation of their TLC reality show garnered hundreds of thousands of signatures when it was revealed that Michelle was supporting discriminatory legislation in Southern states via a recorded phone message to voters. In November, Radar Online reports, the family removed photos of same-sex couples from their official Facebook page. Even the younger Duggars promote their conservative parents' beliefs — 26-year-old Josh Duggar, Michelle's oldest son, recently led a rally in Arkansas protesting gay marriage.

And Josh is one of few members of the infamous Duggar clan who has spoken publicly about his mom's older sister, 63-year-old Evelyn Ruark, who has lived with her partner of more than 30 years, Sharon Callahan, in Ohio.

"I have an aunt who has chosen to live that life and I love my aunt. I think she is an amazing person," he said during an appearance on a political radio show last year. He was quick to assure listeners, though, that his lesbian aunt is, in fact, opposed to gay marriage. "She believes that marriage is between one man and one woman."

More: The Duggars want more children, visit fertility clinic

Michelle's relationship with her sister, about whom she has never spoken publicly, appears to be much frostier. Ruark appeared on an episode of 17 Kids and Counting back in 2008, attending a family reunion. Radar Online reports that Ruark briefly appeared onscreen, but that Michelle did not interact with her at all during the episode, and Ruark never again appeared on the show.

In an interview with the National Enquirer in 2010, Ruark's longtime partner said she and Ruark worry about the Duggar family's involvement with QuiverFull, a religious movement that prohibits all forms of birth control.

"We are worried about them," Callahan said. "We have often thought that QuiverFull is a cult. It appears to be brainwashing to me."

More: 5 Reasons the Duggar family really needs to #FreeJinger

Are you surprised to hear about Michelle Duggar's secret family member? Tell us what you think in the comments.