Bishop Eddie Long's wife files for divorce
Bishop Eddie Long has denied allegations that he sexually coerced male congregants.
December 2nd, 2011
09:29 AM ET

Bishop Eddie Long's wife files for divorce

By the CNN Wire Staff

ATLANTA (CNN) -Vanessa Long, the wife of Georgia televangelist Bishop Eddie Long, is not withdrawing the divorce petition filed Thursday, despite a statement issued through her husband's church indicating that she had reconsidered, her lawyer said Friday.

"Consistent with her original statement made this morning, Mrs. Long continues to hope that this matter may be resolved expeditiously, harmoniously and fairly; however, she has determined that dismissal of her divorce petition is not appropriate at this time," said Michael W. Tyler, a partner with the Atlanta-based firm, Kilpatrick Townsend.

"To avoid any undue confusion, Mrs. Long's future statements, if any, will be issued through her attorneys only. At this time, neither she nor we will have any further comment on this matter."

The statement, sent Friday night, was the latest twist in a divorce saga that emerged Thursday, when lawyers for Vanessa Long filed divorce documents in Superior Court in DeKalb County, Georgia.

Vanessa and Eddie Long are "living in a bona fide state of separation," according to the 12-page petition. The documents adds she "is entitled to a divorce upon grounds that the marriage between the parties is irretrievably broken, there being no hope of reconciliation of the parties, and it being in the best interest of all parties concerned that this marriage be terminated by divorce."

On Friday, in a statement released to reporters by her lawyer, Vanessa Long said, "It is my sincere hope that this matter can be resolved expeditiously, harmoniously and fairly. I ask that you respect my privacy and that of my family, as my attorneys and I have agreed that we will not try this case in the media, and I do not intend to make any further statements concerning this matter."

But this appears counter to another statement also attributed to Vanessa Long and issued Friday afternoon by New Birth Missionary Church in Lithonia, 18 miles east of Atlanta.

According to that statement, she says, "Upon prayerful reflection, I have reconsidered and plan to withdraw my petition for divorce from my husband, Bishop Eddie L. Long. I love my husband."

Bishop Long is senior pastor of the church, which has more than 25,000 members, according to its website.

"I believe in him and admire his strength, and courage," Vanessa Long said, according to this statement. "My filing followed years of attacks in the media that frustrated and overwhelmed me.

"I love my family and church family, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. Therefore, my husband and I have mutually agreed to find healing from these attacks. We ask that you respect our privacy during this time."

New Birth's website describes Vanessa Long as "the quiet strength" in the family. "She is an inspiration to many of the women at New Birth as they watch her lovingly and quietly support her husband in every sense of the word."

Long is being sued by former parishioners who accuse him of persuading them to invest in a Ponzi scheme that wiped out at least $1 million in their retirement savings.

And last spring, Bishop Long settled a lawsuit filed by four young men who accused him of pressuring them into sexual relationships while they were teenagers and members of Long's congregation at the same north Georgia church.

That suit alleged that Long "uses monetary funds from the accounts of New Birth and other corporate and non-profit corporate accounts to entice the young men with cars, clothes, jewelry, and electronics."

Long has preached passionately against homosexuality for years.

In an August interview, two of Long's accusers said they were haunted by what happened between them and the powerful pastor and added they are writing a tell-all book about their experiences.

"It's just not enough anymore. I thought I could cover the pain up. I thought I could move, start over and everything will go away. I was terribly wrong," Jamal Parris, one of the accusers, told CNN affiliate WSB.

Parris pointed to a "JL" tattoo on his arm, which he said stands for "Jamal Long." He said Long was with him when he got the tattoo.

He said that he grew up without a father and that Long preyed on that vulnerability. "To have a man love me for just who I was. I just had to be me and love him back," Parris said.

–CNN's Mia Aquino contributed to this story in Atlanta.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Leaders

soundoff (866 Responses)
  1. Loggan44

    Amazing how many "haunted by their experience" people write tell-all books to ease their suffering and increase their cash flow.....

    December 2, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  2. Paid Clergy?

    And by the way, there is "no proof" because when or where has the church ever released any of its financial information to the public. These sacred funds are the Lords, and he does not want his church knowing what the brethren are doing with them. Building a 4B mall....a resort in Hawaii....all to further gods work right?

    December 2, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  3. Bubba

    I will pray that everyone will stop praying. Black people are so funny. Everything revolves around god, especially on Sundau morning, but after that, it's back to business as usual-gang murders, selling drugs, cheating on your wife, molesting boys, etc. Once they're caught, then it's back to praying-as if that's going to solve anything. Might as well pray to David Koresh or Wayne Bent, since they are/were just like ole JC himself-flesh and blood. They all preyed on the weak minded by conjuring up a god story-and look at where they are now.
    Now, if you all send me 19.99, I can help save your soul. But hurry up-this offer only stands until midnight on Sunday-then I gotta rest.

    December 2, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  4. Adrian

    If Black folks read the history of Christianity and their own History, these fake time Pastors or so called Bishops wouldn’t be able to sucker the congregation into giving their money, or as the Pastors call it “Sow a Seed” and you Black women are the very reason these Pastors are able to get away with this nonsense, It is your Dollars that finance their life style; women are emotional creatures and these Ministers play on that. Wake up Black people come from out of these BS Churches. God said “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”.
    The threat of organize religion with-in the Black church, is worse than the oppressor who have enslaved them.

    December 2, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  5. mr. Magoooooooooo

    what what in tha but

    December 2, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  6. openureyes

    How do people actually think that there is a HELL????? a fiery demonic place that is below us....people, people. START THINKING FOR YOURSELVES

    December 2, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  7. Frank!

    Já se vsadit, že Eddie Long je výprask, že je těžké v těchto dnech. Eddie, párek těžké porazit svého bratra!

    December 2, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  8. Frank!

    I pray that Eddie Long burns in h*ll for all eternity and then some.

    December 2, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • HeIsGod

      What you need to do is pray that you don't die without Christ and end up in hell yourself.

      pssst.....you don't have a heaven or a hell to send Eddie Long or any one. Eddie Long can still repent and turn from his wicked ways, just like an Atheist can.

      December 2, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • HA25

      The Bishop and his entire church is exposed as a sham, and yet the wife asks people to Pray for her & the family and other bloggers say that he can be redeemed through prayer. Don't you people ever learn? God has long left this place – otherwise he surely wouldn't be letting his church be represented by the worst of the worst.

      December 2, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  9. Starr

    I would NEVER trust a MAN that lives in ATL. They all seem to play for the other team..

    December 2, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • Par for the course

      Well I don't know about all men in ATL, but....

      It seems to me like all the very outspoken anti-gay pastors are themselves gay and in the closet, and their anti-gay rhetoric is their way of redirecting their self-loathing at other people.

      December 2, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  10. Kabulazimtaera Rafaellanipta Satrigtious Jones

    พระไม่ออกมีทุกคนเป็นในทางที่ผิด บรรดาผู้ที่มีทำมากในการก่อความเสียหายให้กับผู้ที่กำลังนักเทศน์พระเจ้าและชุมชนของตน!

    December 2, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  11. Drew

    Trust in God , but question Religion and in paticular the leaders .

    December 2, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  12. FedUp

    What took her so long!

    December 2, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  13. Eagle One

    Eddie, get with Herman Cain. You two losers and human filth deserve each other! Oh and pick up that human filth from Penn State, Sandusky...you pervs deserve each other obviously you love to drop the soap.

    December 2, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
    • a

      Add Fine to the shower group

      December 2, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  14. Jon

    How many "I will pray for..." posts do we need. Someone needs to wake up, god is not and was not meant to be a kind god. He is a vengeful god...and if he/she really does exist...this man should not be walking this earth after the shame he brought god's name, his family's name and those poor boy's names. Where is the bolt of lightning...whatever. Keep believing, keep buying your latenight TV Holy Magic water, and keep giving your money so these greasy b@$t@rd$ can keep touching them boys. You all share in this man's shame...disgusting. God's Will.

    December 2, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  15. baxter

    What is it with all these black educated women who marry men who are CLEARLY gay... the auhtor of "How Stella Got her Groove Back" also married a obviously gay man and surprise suprise ... she was shocked to find out the truth... AND Oprah??? just sayin.... Long is so gay he should have a tattoo of a $3 Bill tattoed on his chest... btw, I'm an out Gay man... I just wonder why so many women are in denial...

    December 2, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • FedUp

      Because do hide it...hello her husband...do think she would have married him knowing he was gay. I have lots of gay friends and yes some were married with kids before they "came out"...

      December 2, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • winkydink

      So they can share clothes?

      December 2, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • RealTalkExpress

      Women who marry these types of dudes are themselves defective. That may not be the most polite thing to say, but it is true. It goes something along the lines of other observed consistencies, like women trying to marry someone like their father, or in the case of a woman raised without a father figure, an authoritative and sometimes abusive man. I think the women who find themselves married to barely-in-the-closet men are usually of the domineering types, flip-at-the-lip, non-traditional-role-inclined women. They did not want to assume or have expectations of being traditional wives and mothers. Newsflash! Have you looked around the churches lately? You are finding more and more desperate, middle-aged single mothers than you can shake a stick at. Ironic, because we are talking about women who did not want to submit. Go figure.

      December 3, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
  16. LaVerne

    I will pray for her. This situation has to be devastating. After experiencing infidelity by my ex-husband with another woman, the suffering and humiliation I dealt with is nothing compared to what Ms. Long is feeling. I applaud her strength and the decision she made to divorce this evil man. He is clearly not a man of GOD, but a man of Satan. To stay with him would be the biggest mistake of her life. It never ceases to amaze me how the double standard of what men expect women to forgive and live with still exist in this day and age. If the shoe had been on the other foot, he would have kicked her to the curb as soon as the story hit the media. That is why I tell my daughter to ALWAYS be able to take care of herself and NEVER become too materialistic so that she doesn't have to put up with unacceptable behavior. Dependency and greed keep many women in bad relationships. AIDS is nondiscriminating which makes infidelity (especially men with men) the very best reason to end a relationship. Men who practice such don't love anyone but themselves. He may as well push you out into the street in front of a Mack truck. Is that love? Doesn't take a rocket scientist to answer that question.

    December 2, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • mr. Magoooooooooo

      I am sorry your husband did not love you long time.

      December 2, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  17. Christian Taliban

    Who cares

    December 2, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • mr. Magoooooooooo

      If you don't care then don't state that you don't care. I love you long time.

      December 2, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • Par for the course

      Clearly you do

      December 2, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • mr. Magoooooooooo

      I care for Eddie long shlong all day. What in tha but

      December 2, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  18. FOREAL

    You know, some people try to sound real smart and educated stating false facts and opinions of others as liberation to think for themselves. What a bunch of bull. Just because men mess up and will continue to do so, doesn't make truth obsolete. Just the basic teachings of JESUS makes sense by itself. Many of the world's scientist and philosophers believe in some type of Creative beginning. That doesn't make them illiterate or close-minded. If a preacher, teacher or anyone does something wrong. They've done it. Period. It's still wrong. Doesn't change the truth or principles of truth. Think. Because you say JESUS is a wild man, suffering from hallucinations doesn't make it the truth either.

    December 2, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • Par for the course

      Here's a truth for you that seems to be proven time and time again...

      Those pastors like Eddie Long who spew anti-gay rhetoric tend to be closet gays themselves.

      Just sayin'

      December 2, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
    • HA25

      Try as you will to change the meaning of the word TRUTH it has one and only one meaning: Something which can be proven again and again at will. Call your religion and Jesus and his teachings Truth all you want it won't make it so anymore then heiroglyphics of aliens mean ancient aliens built the pyramids. In fact, technically there's more evidence/truth to that second claim.
      Call it what it is – FAITH. Leave the word TRUTH to those who know what it actually means, please.

      December 2, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  19. mr. Magoooooooooo

    Put your hand to the television and pretend were holding hands dude. mmmmmmmmmmmmm. let me show ya why they call me long homie.

    December 2, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  20. GORT01

    hopefully she doesnt test positive for AIDS too...what a POS he is

    December 2, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • Bob

      Pretty much like every other god-fraud sales guy.

      December 2, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • Mike

      Bob, "every" other? So you're going to lump the few dirtbag phonies in with all the good ministers out there? You're going to assume that because the only ones the media decides to report on are hypocritical liars that they all are?
      How sad you are as a person. How utterly hypocritical you are also. I'm sure you deride those who talk about stereotyping others. Why would the ministry be any different? Why should they not get the same courtesy you afford others with respect to stereotyping?

      December 2, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • m.e. brown

      who said long has aids. this is sad. I am sure what ever happen Mrs Long is going though a lot. My heart goes out to her. think before you speak. don't put out information you are not clear of. aids is something not to be made lightly of. keep praying for them both. God will work it out.

      December 2, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • HA25

      Well, Mike it wouldn't hurt if the Pope and the Vatican would stop hiding fugitive molesting priests from justice. The corruption goes to the top and so colors everyone with the same brush. Believers need to force it clean top to bottom before they can expect respect. Otherwise the stereotype will hold and I recommend you, Sir, keep a close eye on your boys.

      December 2, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
    • Bob

      Mike, explain how my prior post was "hypocritical". I doubt that you can, and I doubt that you even understand the word.

      December 2, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.