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. VelveteenLady

    @Brian: Au contraire – The list of erstwhile "men of God" is long: Terry Smith, Jim Bakker, Pat Robertson, Jimmy Swaggart, Bob Larson, Robert Tilton, Billy James Hargis, W.V. Grant, Mike Warnke, etc.: and there's not one black man among them. My point is that chicanery and hiding behind the name of God to embellish one's pockets, while stealing from congregants knows no race.

    December 3, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
  2. George

    If people still attend Eddie Long's church knowing that he is a ho.mo.s.e.x.ual, then they are truly lost. This guy can no more be a man of God than Attila the Hun.

    December 3, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • Bob

      Yeah, seems like Eddie's not Christian god-class at all. He hasn't done any genocides, as far as we know.

      December 3, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So his being gay would be a deal-breaker for you, but he could be guilty of a thousand other sins and it'd be just fine. Is that about right, Porky?

      December 3, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
    • George

      No, that's not right.

      December 4, 2011 at 1:55 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Do tell. It's certainly apparent from your posts that you believe h o mo s ex uality is worse than most other 'sins' and that you believe it's a choice.

      Have you read the research on it? I'll bet you haven't.

      December 4, 2011 at 10:06 am |
  3. James


    December 3, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  4. knobe

    She DID reconsider and decided to still kick the dude to the curb .

    Spin doctors do know how to pic out the parts the work for them tho . . .

    December 3, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
  5. James

    Just quit the act and come out of the closet And you can finally be a Marine.

    December 3, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  6. scott8771

    I can't believe people believe these folks are members of a real church. Get a life and get a real church. There is absolutely nothing Holy about these con artists. God help the stupid and the poor.

    December 3, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • Bob

      Then "his" plan should not have been to make them stupid and poor.

      December 3, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • scott8771

      There is no plan to make anyone stupid and poor; only an opportunity to help them, not make it worse for them which is what "churches" like these do.

      December 3, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • Get Real


      According to the New Birth (Long's) web site, around 25,000 idiots think that "God" led them there. Maybe some have wised up by now, but they'll probably just go follow some other schlock-meister.

      December 3, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • TSIndiana

      When the worship is on the offering plate, it is not on God. Another scheme for NOT WORKING...brainwash and then fleece the sheep.

      My Diciples of Christ Church board worships money and will slander and defame you in the community if you don't go with their politics. Corruption rules my community and they hide their evil in the church.

      December 3, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  7. Greg

    Bishop my A$$! He is nothing more than a rip-off artist "preying"on the weak minded and steal old ladies SS checks! There is a special place for him in h3l!

    December 3, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • TSIndiana

      Hiding evil deeds in church is the new flavor of religion...taking about it is taboo. Jesus threw out the money changers and they are back...as pastors, board members and "officers".

      December 3, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  8. Iceman

    Just look @ the guy...pimped out fake ass preacher. Typical down-low brother living and hiding behind his line of B.S. !

    December 3, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
  9. CatS

    I don't think Long is 6ay and this is why – 6ay people actually have feelings for their partners. I think Long is just one of those sociopaths that really get off on having the power to talk people into whatever they want. It's no longer a challenge just getting people to give him money. He has to talk young men into bending over and taking what is to men the ultimate act of masculine power. Why do people tolerate this type of predator?

    December 3, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
  10. Patricksday

    Hypocrits who deny Gay people the ability to live an open and HONEST life, while these "Men of God" sneak around on the down low pretending they are not Gay themself. Religion appears to be more a cover for Evil rather than Good. Look at the Republicans they claim to follow Jesus, but Horde Riches, deny the poor, sick and elderly while helping benefit the Richest people in the history of the World.

    December 3, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • goc

      You're totally right. There are a couple of great web sites http://www.gayorevangelical.com & http://www.gayorrepublican.com that cover the full range of these hypocrites. Two things I learned were (1) the higher the moral soap box you stand on the lower your own morals and (2) the votes on these two sites make it clear that you really can't tell who is what, so what is the point of trying to judge others for their lifestyle choices.

      December 3, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Mike R

      Well said.

      December 3, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • Dish7

      He's not gay; he's a pedophile.

      December 4, 2011 at 3:26 am |
  11. Thatguy371

    Bishop. Just another po mpous name. Whatever happened to preacher? Isn't that or reverend good enough?

    December 3, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • Bob

      Same con game, different name.

      December 3, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  12. Reality

    For the "newbies":

    Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

    Current problems:

    Adulterous preachers like Long, pedophiliac clerics like Long, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals like Long and atonement theology,

    December 3, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • .........

      For the "oldies" hit report abuse on all reality bull sh it

      December 3, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
  13. CNNN

    lol...bible thumper hates gays but can't keep his "straight" marriage together. Figures. Frigging hypocrites.

    It's not wrong to be Takei!!!

    December 3, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • George

      I don't think he hates gays because it's clear he is one of them. He's part of the moral decay we have right now in America.

      December 3, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Rick

      George: He appears to be a self-loathing gay man. His (supposed) philosophy clashes with his hormones. As far as a moral decline in america, as opposed to when? when people of different colors could not marry? maybe when one person could own another?

      December 3, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • George

      How about 1982? It was surely better then than it is now. And thanks for throwing up red herrings such as slavery and interracial marriage. There are NO parallels. Freeing slaves and allowing interracial marriage did not exult sinful behavior.

      December 3, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • Bob

      George, if you believe being gay is a choice or "sinful behavior," there is no hope for you.

      December 3, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • Rick

      George: Why did you pick 1982?

      December 3, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • Rick

      bob: i agree

      December 3, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • Rick

      george: did you choose your orientation? if so, at what age?

      December 3, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • Rick

      george: were slavery and banning interractial marriages an example of this morality the have supposedly fallen from?

      December 3, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • George

      I didn't pick my orientation, but I sure as heck pick my behavior.

      December 3, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • George

      Rick: I have nothing to say about the red herrings of slavery or interracial marriage.

      December 3, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      George, so you are actually attracted to men but you choose not to engage in any s3xual relationships with them?

      That seems to be the gist of your post. You had a choice, and even though you truly desire those of your own gender, you chose to deny yourself any relationship with them.

      Do I have that right?

      December 3, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
    • George

      No, you have that wrong.

      December 4, 2011 at 2:18 am |
    • George

      But I shouldn't be surprised.The first thing that ho.mo.s.e.x.uals do is accuse those that oppose their lifestyle of being a h.o.mo.s.e.x.ual.

      December 4, 2011 at 2:20 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No, YOU have THAT wrong. I'm straight. And female. You are a stupid git. Explain how you decided not to act on your attraction to men.

      December 4, 2011 at 10:08 am |
  14. m.e. brown

    I think mrs,Long and eddie is crazy as hell.

    December 3, 2011 at 11:40 am |
  15. steve

    is he still around?
    still spreading aids i see

    December 3, 2011 at 11:32 am |
  16. Abinadi

    Maybe it is time to check out mormon.org. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints takes moral sin seriously – usually people who are guilty of adultery are excommunicated. They don't have any paid ministers or clergy. They don't sell the word of God for money.

    December 3, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • Rick

      Maybe it's time to chuck churches and texts altogether and decide for yourself what god

      December 3, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Rick

      what god is or isn't

      December 3, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Frank Cardenas

      being mormon is never an option for an intelligent person

      December 3, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • Wholly Mary

      Is that why they keep showing up at my door trying to get me to join their "Fake Fest"?

      December 3, 2011 at 9:45 pm |
  17. George

    This fake should be rotting in prison or worse. Our society has become way to permissive when it comes to s.e.x.ual matters. All these guys get for their perversion is some embarassment. Then they keep going on fleecing the masses and preying on young men.

    December 3, 2011 at 10:19 am |
    • JF

      Nice wig, dude

      December 3, 2011 at 10:59 am |
  18. hudsongirl

    She should have left him long ago, but better late than never.

    December 3, 2011 at 10:17 am |
    • Peter

      She did not mind as long as she was getting a piece of the pie, facing multiple lawsuits, she wants to tap that pie one more time before it's all lost in settlements! Greed is a terrible thing!

      December 3, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • Brian

      Only a brother could pull this con

      December 3, 2011 at 11:28 am |
  19. Mildred the Mouth

    Yesterday, that church tried to deny the divorce was proceeding. Turns out that was a lie, and she IS divorcing him. Anything for PR, ya know.

    December 3, 2011 at 9:54 am |
    • George

      That right there should clue people in that this is the wrong church to be in.

      December 3, 2011 at 10:55 am |
  20. Jen

    If I were Mrs. Long, I'd have trouble getting past the idea that, inadvertently or not, my husband might have put my life and health in danger. (Possible HIV transmission plus other STDs.) That, to me, would be the ultimate statement of not caring about me regardless of what else he said or did. I'd leave too.

    December 3, 2011 at 9:37 am |
    • George

      I wouldn't even have to think it through that much. If my spouse did that to me, I'd be out the door before sundown.

      December 3, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • PRISM 1234

      You've got that right!

      And so do you, George!

      December 3, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      As if you had a spouse, Georgie.

      December 3, 2011 at 11:34 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.