Members of "19 Kids and Counting" were stunned to find one of their own the target of an extortion plot. Now the man at the center of the controversy is speaking out.
Earlier this month it was revealed that Amy Duggar, cousin of the famed Duggar family was being extorted. Teresa Hunt was arrested on Feb. 1 after threatening to release photos of Duggar in an "intimate situation." She demanded that TLC's parent company, Discover Communications, Inc., pay her $10,000 or cancel the Duggar's show.
The photos were of Amy Duggar, 25, and James Garrett, 56, who often perform together. Garrett recently came forward to give his side of the story and reveals his great surprise at Hunt's actions. "On January 6, I got an urgent message from Amy Duggar, so I called her back and she explained that someone was trying to extort the Duggar family and the Discovery Channel for $10,000," he told Radar Online.
"She went on to say that it involved racy photos of the two of us. We actually enjoyed a good laugh because we obviously knew they didn't exist! But it was still unsettling to us, though. It never occurred to me that it would not only be someone I knew but someone I had worked with closely for two years," Garrett explained.
He insists that his relationship with Duggar is purely platonic and based on their shared love of singing and performing. "Amy has been singing in my show for four years and this isn't the first time someone has been jealous of our friendship. However, this obviously takes it to a new level."
Amy Duggar has also spoken out about the ordeal. "Jesus said: 'If we do not forgive others, He will not forgive us.' It is so important not to hold bitterness against those who offend us. Its (sic) right for justice to be served. I pray for the woman who tried to extort money from the network. Hope she gets her life straightened out," she tweeted.
The Duggar family, featured on TLC has also issued a statement about the situation. "The pictures were of no substance at all. I think she had some mental issues…so we pray that she can get her life straightened out," patriarch Jim Bob told NBC.
The new season of "19 Kids and Counting" premiered on Tuesday and airs Tuesday nights on TLC.