The Christian Broadcasting Network

The 700 Club with Pat Robertson


Authors, The Good, The Bad, and The Grace of God, (2015)

Stars, A&E’s Duck Dynasty

Four children: Lily, Merritt, Priscilla, and River


Guest Bio

Jep and Jessica Robertson and the Grace of God


Jep is the youngest son of Kay and Phil Robertson. He grew up hunting and fishing with his brothers Alan, Willie and Jase. “With the river just a few feet from our front door, we were out almost every day either hunting or fishing the river, the creek, and the beautiful calm bayou, all connected,” shares Jep. At thirteen he became a Christian. His dad baptized him in the river. “I loved God, and I loved learning about Him and His Word, but the further I got into adolescence, the more church became about me and about meeting girls and not about God,” shares Jep. He dreamed of becoming a great basketball player and practiced hard to achieve his goal. The summer before his junior year in high school everything fell apart. Jep was playing in a scrimmage game when his left ankle broke and he tore three ligaments. The doctors warned him that he might not be able to walk right again. His freak accident not only destroyed his ankle, but he felt it also destroyed his identity and everything he lived for. Jep remembers that’s when everything started to go bad.


Jep began drinking, going to parties and experimenting with drugs. He knew what alcohol had done to his parents' marriage before his dad gave his life to Jesus. His older brother, Alan, had struggled with alcohol too. Yet Jep’s shattered basketball dreams left him empty and angry. His girlfriend eventually broke up with him as she began to see his behavior spin out of control. Meanwhile, Jep was still going to church every Sunday and working part-time at Duck Commander. One Halloween, Jep completely blacked out after excessive drinking and drugs. He woke up on the side of a gravel road. “I became a master at hiding my secret life and pretending everything was fine,” shares Jep. Then one night after drinking he found a note on his windshield, it said, “I know what you’ve been up to. We need to talk.” The note was from his brother, Willie. The next morning Jep went to his dad’s house. His brothers’ trucks were parked in front of the house. They knew about Jep’s secret life. His dad told him he had two choices: he could keep doing what he was doing but his family did not want anything to do with him, or he could give up the friends, drugs and come home. Jep chose to come home. He said that is one of the few times he has seen his dad cry. “It was the best day of my life,” shares Jep. For three months he lived with his parents and spent his time fishing, hunting, and reading the Bible with his dad. For the first time, he started to find his own faith. It did not happen overnight, but eventually he began chasing a Godly life instead of the ultimate high.


Jessica was a tomboy who was strong, competitive and athletic. “I was a church girl to the core, raised in a Christian environment with lots of rules and expectations. But somehow I missed learning about the love of Christ and, even though I loved Sundays and going to church with my mamaw and my mom and aunts, it was hard to be perfect,” shares Jessica. In high school Jessica did well, she enjoyed cheerleading and playing sports. As a freshman she began dating a football player who ended up cheating on her. She was devastated and it sent her into a downward spiral of self-hating thoughts and emotions. “If only I was prettier, skinnier, and smarter, he’d still love me,” remembers Jessica. For the next couple of years Jessica began to isolate herself. Her senior year, she quit cheerleading, softball, and even stopped hanging out with her friends. She began worrying about her looks and obsessing about her weight. That’s when her eating disorder started. “I thought the girls around me were prettier, and I started drastically cutting back on calories and working out harder and harder. I used a calculator to track the calories I ate and sometimes made a meal out of just a few marshmallows or a bowl of low calorie cereal,” shares Jessica. In the back of her mind, the constant thought: I’m not good enough seemed to haunt her.

During this time, she became more involved with her youth group. The youth minister paid her a lot of attention. He was in his mid-twenties and she was seventeen. About a month after her graduation he asked Jessica to marry him. She said yes although deep down she questioned whether she really loved him. She was married one year before she left. Looking back Jessica says she should not have allowed herself to be pressured into the relationship, engagement, or marriage. At twenty, she felt like the biggest failure in the world. She started drinking, going to bars, and hanging out with the wrong people. “Those three months after I left my marriage were the darkest of my life,” shares Jessica. She began to do things she had never done. She put herself in bad situations and let herself be taken advantage of in just about every way. Then she met Jep.


Jep and Jessica first met at a hair salon in town. Jep knew deep down this would be the girl he would marry one day. Jessica came to his house for a Bible study. She was still in a very fragile state after her marriage ended. Over the next few weeks, Jessica became serious about attending church. She began to realize that being a Christian was more than going to church every Sunday, it was also about her relationship with Jesus. One night Jessica announced in the middle of the Bible study that she wanted to get baptized so Jep and his friend drove her to a nearby lake where he baptized her. “It felt surreal to no longer have my past held against me. I was forgiven, and I felt new. It was the best day of my life,” shares Jessica. They continued to enjoy each other’s company and began dating. Soon Jep proposed and two weeks later they were married. Jep’s mom, Miss Kay, made all the arrangements. They did not have money for a fancy wedding or honeymoon so they splurged on a big dinner at the Olive Garden in town. They moved into a three bedroom trailer and his brother and sister-in-law agreed to put it in their backyard. Jep and Jessica were committed to the marriage and agreed divorce was not going to be an option. Money was tight the first few months of their marriage. Jep was working at Duck Commander making a little more than minimum wage while Jessica was working as a nanny. “We didn’t have money to do things we wanted to do,” shares Jep. He also struggled with insecurities about whether Jessica would be faithful which caused him to get mad, quiet, and stop talking to Jessica. Although Jessica had told Jep everything from her past Jep held on to some of his secrets.


Six months after they got married, Jessica learned she was pregnant. Lily was born on December 26, 2002. Despite a rough pregnancy she was perfect. Just eighteen months later their second daughter Merritt was born. Two years later, Priscilla was born and two years later their son, River was born. Although they did not fight all the time things would get hard for Jessica and Jep every six or seven months. “We absolutely loved each other and were committed to our marriage, but we really struggled with forgiveness and with moving on and not bringing up the past when we fought,” reveals Jessica. In 2008, Jessica came home and found Jep at the computer viewing pornography. “I stood there for a moment, frozen, because I literally could not believe what I was seeing,” reveals Jessica. She always blamed herself and thought it was her past and her wrong choices that were a continuing source of conflict in their marriage. It almost seemed as if Jep had put himself on a pedestal. He had struggled their whole marriage with an addition to pornography. “In a way I was relieved that my secret struggle was out in the open. I didn’t have to pretend anymore. But I was also afraid this was really the end of our marriage and my relationship with Jessica,” shares Jep.  So he told Jessica how he was molested on the school bus when he was six years old and how the sexual abuse continued for a couple of years. It was hard for Jessica, but she chose to make a conscious decision to forgive Jep. She started praying for God to bring their relationship back to life. They finally put God at the center of their marriage and He not only restored their love for each other, but He made that love deeper and stronger than ever.


Jep and Jessica love Duck Dynasty because they get to work together and share their faith with others. Jep says he takes providing for his family very seriously. “Knowing that I can feed and clothe them, put a roof over their heads, and put some money in the bank for their education is what keeps me going…the show has been a blessing, and I’m grateful for it,” shares Jep. They both say the show is an extension of their lives. They pretty much do what they have always done except now there are cameras, lights, sound equipment and millions of people watching.

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