Jana Duggar recently made an appearance on Lawson Bates’ Instagram page, and now some fans are wondering whether the two most famous families with 19 kids are finally about to be joined by marriage.
On Monday, a Redditor shared an image on the Counting On Reddit page that has the online world of fundamentalist family fans all abuzz. It was a screenshot of a photo of Jana Duggar, 28, that Lawson Bates, 25, shared on his Instagram page. In the image, Jana is wearing a tank top and a jean skirt. Jessa Duggar’s oldest son, Spurgeon, is standing beside her, and she’s smiling down at him. There’s a bag of garden soil sitting on the ground nearby, and it appears that the aunt and nephew are on the Duggar family’s property in Tontitown, Arkansas.
The poster noted that Lawson “quickly deleted” the photo, but not before a screengrab was captured and shared on Tumblr. The Tumblr user who originally obtained the image later informed the Keeping Up with Fundies page that Lawson’s Instagram photo was posted without comment.
The photo was a hot topic of discussion among Redditors on the Counting On Reddit page, where it sparked speculation about Lawson’s mysterious social media behavior.
“I wonder if there’s something going on between them!” read one reaction to the image.
Some suggested that Lawson has a private Instagram account that he meant to post the photo on, and the Bringing Up Bates star simply deleted it when he realized that he accidentally shared it on his public account. One Redditor theorized that Lawson didn’t leave it up on his public account because he doesn’t want anyone to think that he and Jana are romantically involved.
“Seems weird to post it and then delete quickly.. unless he didn’t want there to be any gossip about them dating or anything,” the Redditor wrote.
It wouldn’t be the first time that rumors of a romance between the Counting On and Bringing Up Bates stars made the rounds. In 2017, In Touch Weekly reported that the relationship gossip got so out of control that Lawson’s mother, Kelly Jo Bates, felt the need to weight in.
“I think that probably Lawson and Jana would both be shocked by that news, although we have heard that rumor,” she told The Bates Family Blog. “They are very good friends, [but] no courtships that either of our families are aware of.”
It was also suggested that Lawson Bates shared and deleted the photo of Jana on purpose simply to get attention. He’s a country singer, so one Redditor theorized that he did it to advance his music career.
“Wouldn’t surprise me if he posted it and deleted it on purpose to start rumours. Does he have another itunes single coming out?” the commenter wrote.
Another fan joked that the two might already be courting as their gardening date was being chaperoned by young Spurgeon.
The romance talk eventually sparked a debate over whether Jana and Lawson are right for each other. They do have a lot in common: they both come from similar conservative Christian fundamentalist backgrounds; they both appear on reality shows; they both grew up with 18 siblings. The Duggar and Bates families are also good friends, as evidenced by a photo that Lawson recently shared on Instagram. In the snapshot, he and his brothers are hanging out with Jason Duggar.
However, some critics of a possible Jana-Lawson love match think that their personalities are too different; Jana is quiet and reserved, while Lawson is more outgoing. He also seems to love being in the spotlight, while the oldest Duggar daughter seems content to step back and let her siblings be the stars of the show.
“I could be wrong— but I feel like Jana would want someone more outdoorsy/ handyman… and less self absorbed than Lawson,” wrote one Redditor.
However, others pointed out that Jana loves gardening, and Lawson actually used to run his own lawn care business. One Redditor also suggested that their different personalities may be a positive thing for a potential relationship, writing that the pair might “balance each other out.”
Unfortunately for those who support the pairing, one photo is not definitive evidence of a romantic relationship between Jana Duggar and Lawson Bates. Fans of famous fundamentalist families will just have to stay tuned to see if there’s a chance that they’ll eventually get the Counting On and Bringing Up Bates wedding crossover special that they’ve always dreamed of.