The talented musical family of 12 children known as The Willis Clan (aka The Willis Family) seemed to be a perfect loving and happy family. But behind the happy family facade, the 12 Willis siblings were holding on to a shocking secret of their father’s physical and sexual abuse.
Toby Willis, patriarch of the family, was arrested on September 2016 and pled guilt to four counts of child rape, all four of whom were his own daughters. He was given a 40-year prison sentence.
Unsurprisingly, the siblings decided to take a break from the spotlight to process the situation and begin their healing. After 2 years from the initial arrest of their father, six of the oldest siblings made a bold return to the music industry with their new album, “Speak My Mind.” It was a very personal project for the siblings with a message of courage, healing, and hope.
Jennifer Willis McDowell, Jeanette Willis Piatt, Jasmine Willis, Jeremiah Willis, Jedidah Willis, and Jackson Willis spoke with Megan Kelly on their very first interview after their father’s arrest.
Jennifer told Megyn that the sexual abuse she and her sisters experienced wasn’t discussed openly at home until the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation questioned them on their family’s show set.
“I still don’t even really know how to process it,” Jeremiah Willis told Kelly. “It’s not something that you expect; it’s not something that you want.”
In the midst of pain and confusion that their family is experiencing, the siblings credited their faith for their stability and strength.
“It was definitely tested, but honestly our faith is what brought us through, and we’re so thankful that we had that,” Jasmine Willis told Kelly.
As for their younger siblings, they are doing well though they are not a part of the band anymore. They are at home going through their own healing process and just focusing on being kids.
This article was written by Rhoda of the Facebook page, Christ Daily.