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. Truth

    Nothing in the world worse than a f@&&0t ni&&er child-molester.......I seriously cannot think of a worse person than this. Three strikes and you're out ni66a!

    December 2, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
    • johnfrichardson

      Eddie is a total creep, but there have been bazoodles of people who have been worse creeps.

      December 3, 2011 at 5:30 am |
  2. AC Summers

    Prey for Predator in the Pulpit......

    The man was a sick rapist who used the chruch member's savings to payoff his prey.
    He deserves jail.

    December 2, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
  3. Plug1

    One source says Centino Kemp, who was raised in the Bahamas, met Bishop Eddie Long years ago during a visit to New Birth while he was a teenage student in a Florida college. The relationship meant enough for him to tattoo Eddie Long’s name on his wrist, followed by the words, “Never a Mistake, Always a Lesson.”
    " CHURCH "....

    December 2, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
  4. Wayne - Glendora

    Another Herman Cain. But this guy ran after teenage boys... This dude deserves nothing but OLD TESTAMENT punishment... What a dishonor to God to have started yet another church by this satanic man after the scandal..

    December 2, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
    • myfault

      And another Bill Clinton.
      Come on. Unnecessary.

      December 2, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
  5. rod

    I would like to be his assistant--i need a few bucks and he seems to throw it around..............

    December 2, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
  6. george bush

    id hit "it"

    December 2, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
  7. Drand

    I think God has suffered this to happen as another lesson to believers, or those who say they are believers, to be real with Him, before Him, and stop being found hypocrites! The Lord is merciful, and would have us to be also. Yet, in His mercy and His longsuffering, He allows time for all to repent and get things right with Him, before we become a naked shame before the world. It's amazing though to think or realize it's really not those in the world who really tried to "hide" who they are, but those who say they know God. Are not believers living epistles before all?

    December 2, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • johnfrichardson

      If the "lord" is truly omniscient, then he knows that Eddie is a total jerk.

      December 2, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
    • rod

      English as a second language...........go back to your room and try again.

      December 2, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
    • Choad

      You give good bible.

      December 2, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
    • fred

      Epistles are weapons sold over the internet without ID’s. Does that help?

      December 2, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
    • johnfrichardson

      Good one, fred!

      December 3, 2011 at 5:32 am |
  8. Missy

    The only reason she went back to him is becasue he would have to come out of the pulpit if he is going through a divorce and there would be no more money for Miz Vanessa. She does want him. She wants the money. New Birth had her on the payroll. They are paying her 1 million a year. Something transpired money wise at the church that made her change her mind. Trust me on that one!!! Why is the statement that she is not divorcing him now coming from the Church and not directly from her.

    December 2, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  9. dipstick

    Just another boy who is h o m ose xual and can't keep his pants zipped up going down the toilet...LOL!

    December 2, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  10. I wonder

    I wonder if Obama knows that man has his portuguese water dog on his head.

    December 2, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
    • JF

      Nice wig

      December 2, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  11. booboo

    I lived in Atlanta for 5 years. EVERYONE knew that Eddie Long liked young men. He was often seen being driven around in his Maybach with one of his spiritual "sons". People need to wake up and stop acting surprised.

    December 2, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • cervitup22

      Eddie LongDong didn't mean nothin' by it. Sho' nuff! Those flappy butt teen boys just be makin; trubbel.

      December 2, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • a

      Fine Long Sandusky

      December 2, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
  12. HA25

    Push the eyeglasses back up to the top of your nose, dude. You're no better than anyone else and now you've out and out proven it, haven't you?
    People stop being suckers or get what you deserve. Just cause your old relative believed it doesn't make it right or good. My grandmother, RIP, believed in God and also believed blacks were all lower class. I discarded both and am better for it.

    And for Chrissakes stop putting your kids through these churches at 4,5,6,7,8 years old. It's brainwashing and exposing them to people like this!!!

    December 2, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  13. Jean Sartre, Milwauke, WI

    I don't know what the shock is all about?

    Just one more perverted Christian outed... 30,000,000 to go!

    December 2, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  14. Mr Chihuahua

    Only two kinds of people wear a shirt like that, an alien or a gay black rapist preacher, and I don't see no spaceship lol!

    December 2, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • skinnymulligan


      December 2, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  15. George

    This guy is a phoney and a h.o.m.o.s.e.x.ual. He's led many people astray. He deserves to burn in hell.

    December 2, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • Grace

      May The Lord have Mercy on him if he is willing to repent and make it right with the Lord. This is a great fall.
      I think every christian stumbles, and has an area of weakness. When those weaknesses have been identified, the believer needs to be delivered and mentored.
      Many people from different walks of life give their life to Christ. Those people are not free from their past addictions the day they become christians. For this reason I suggest that serious christian churches continually mentor new believers; That was the Lord's command: FEED MY SHEEPS...That's a serious call, and feeding the sheeps is a little bit more than a 30minutes sunday teaching. By developing strong and committed christians we will hear less of this type of scandals.

      The case of Bishop Long is of a slighlty different nature. But the underlying truth is that he has never been delivered from this bondage. We need a sense of accountability in the church as well.Some Churches start out of nowhere, some pastors have no proven records of integrity...Let's go back to the source...how pastors were appointed, deacons, elders chosen, and let us stop placing immature people in the pulpit.

      December 2, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • nina

      Man, Grace you are about as brainwashed as they come.

      Bishop Long is just flat out gay and has been lying to himself. Period. He needs to just be honest with himself and his wife and go live the lifestyle he wants with other consenting adults.

      Cut out this prayer cr@p. You can't pray away someone's se xual orientation.

      December 2, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
    • Bubba

      Grace, me thinks he was "feeding his peeps" instead of "feeding his sheeps"

      December 2, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
    • Bible Belt

      My Oprah says "Be true to yourself..." Homeboy has not been longing for the Almighty but for male genitalia, instead.

      December 2, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • Pay me

      Maybe if we all send him a couple of thousand that will help him find pray away his gay. Hey, that rhymed...I am a poet now.

      December 2, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
    • johnfrichardson

      No one deserves to burn in hell.

      December 2, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
    • Aaron

      After a 6 pack of beer, I doubt you'd have a problem with him being a h.o.m.o.s.e.x.u.al. Same old redneck story....bash 'em when you're sober, love 'em when you're drunk.

      December 2, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
  16. Kristal

    all the boys r having him none left 4 her

    December 2, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  17. nina

    Can't understand why it took her so long. The thought of one's husband sticking his thing in another man's behind and then coming home to you is in and of itself the grossest thing. I'd never let him touch me again, let alone stay married to him.

    If you're gay, just be open and honest about it and go be with a man.

    December 2, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • Bible Belt

      Hey, some like it k i n k y...

      December 2, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
  18. T-ro

    LMFAO!!!!!!! These people kill me,,,,, there is nothing worse or evil then a pos hiding behind The Word of God!!!! There will be a special place waiting for these creatures!!!!

    December 2, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
    • HA25

      Oh i can think of a few worse things like molesting kids. Hiding behind / taking advantage of 2000 year old dogma? Well, on that one – shame on the suckers for not figuring out the Ponzi scheme yet. That whole thing is selling, literally, air to people. But hey – it makes 'em feel better right?
      So for me, it's the Actual crimes against kids that's the rub. To heck with Hell. I want to see Justice done here and now.

      December 2, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  19. Bill

    Two many garbage preachers in the history of this country.It is no only corruption of the faith, but they try their best to direct their followers into the political arena with the sole purpose of their own gain. I wish them all the worst welcome when they meet their maker.

    December 2, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  20. Newsraider

    We did pray for you, but our prayers went unanswered.

    December 2, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • Wholly Mary

      No, they WERE answered! Disgrace, loss of income, wrecked career etc.

      December 2, 2011 at 6:31 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.