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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. Mike in Montana

    I'm sorry.. Bishop Eddie Long is a con artist and has been one for years. His mega-church is bringing in millions of tax free dollars and a major portion of those funds go directly to Bishop Eddie Long. People should wake-up and understand, that Bishop Eddie Long is no more than a 'con artist' and with your money. It's time to wake-up, about Bishop Eddie Long and his lucrative, money making church business. It's his pockets that are lined, not yours.. Mike in Montana

    December 5, 2011 at 7:25 am |
  2. inga

    why does he wear a star trek uniform?

    December 5, 2011 at 2:09 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Because in addition to believing The Babble is real, he also thinks Star Trek is real and hopes to be a starship captain? Or maybe he has already given himself that title, much like being appointed the bishop of a house of stupidity? Or maybe he is planning to hook up with the Hale Bop crowd?

      December 5, 2011 at 2:20 am |
    • tallulah13

      Or possibly his ego has reached Shatneresque heights, thus he needs the costume.

      December 5, 2011 at 2:22 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Please leave Canada's best ever actor out of this!

      December 5, 2011 at 2:42 am |
    • rick

      Doesn't Benny Hinn have a similar get up?

      December 5, 2011 at 8:33 am |
  3. Y.Brown MD

    For those of us who love the Lord and serve the chuch,I do think there is some sadness to all of this. I am reminded of the truth that I SHOULD NOT DEPEND ON MY STRENGTH BUT ON GOD's. Let's pray for him and his congregation that they might be healed.Jesus is still Lord of all.

    December 5, 2011 at 2:00 am |
    • rick

      I bet those finding humor in this far outnumber those seeing this as sad

      December 5, 2011 at 8:36 am |
  4. total nonsense

    a chistian or cathlolic abuse kids, (mostly boy) and Muslims kill and destroy everthing that moves. that is relligion for you.

    BAN RELIGION = PROBLEM PERMANANTLY SOLVED.

    December 5, 2011 at 1:47 am |
    • CJP

      I agree. Religion has a lot of bad apples. However, the Christianity of the bible is awesome. The world needs Christianity but not religion.

      December 5, 2011 at 8:02 am |
    • rick

      Christianity is a religion

      December 5, 2011 at 8:37 am |
  5. Worried for the Children

    This is why.....we have more predators. Praying wont help this preacher/pastor, we need to dig a deep hole and just push him in it and all the people that support a predator!!!

    December 5, 2011 at 12:45 am |
  6. alaskaman

    THERE IS NO GOD...ONLY EVIL........

    December 4, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
    • Ce

      There is a God.

      December 5, 2011 at 1:02 am |
    • CJP

      The presence of evil does not nullify God. Remember that atheists commit evil all the time. Does that discredit atheism?

      December 5, 2011 at 8:03 am |
    • TKH

      God does not believe in atheists, therefore atheists do not exist... 🙂

      December 5, 2011 at 8:24 am |
  7. PAM

    IT IS VERY SAID THAT PEOPLE ARE STILL JUDGING HIM. INSTEAD OF JUDGING HIM PRAY THAT GOD DELIVERS HIM AND STRENGTHEN HIS MARRIAGE. I AGREE WITH HIM TAKING THE TIME OFF. THAT'S WHAT HE NEEDS TO DO. REV3:2

    December 4, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
    • Ce

      Amen sis.

      December 5, 2011 at 1:03 am |
    • Pat

      We should judge him. Only God can judge him to heaven or hell, but we are suppose to judge him here also. Or is justice not something that is discussed in the bible? I pray for him...to get struck by lightning.

      December 5, 2011 at 7:47 am |
    • rick

      Judging him? I am hoping that the Missus is going to cut off little Eddie Long while the Bishop is sleeping

      December 5, 2011 at 8:40 am |
  8. MJ

    Eddie LongSTROKE Falls Again...Maybe He'll Get Remarried To That Clay Aiken Kid.

    December 4, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
  9. so sad

    it is so sad that this talking the talk..but not walking the walk continues to go on...does he not know that his actions turns non church goers against any kind of organized religion??? the continual infidelity, molestation, thieving, hypocrisy, greediness of the so called followers of god really hurts the chance that someone like myself would ever step foot in a local church..yes i know u are supposed to believe in god and follow jesus christ but seriously..there is sooooo much hypocrisy coming from the so called preachers and their congregations that it just closes my heart to the thought of an organized religion..and this is jmo as far as i go..

    December 4, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
    • Andy Anderson

      Don't worry about Eddie Long's personal problems. The Bible contains PLENTY of evil bronze-age nonsense to turn off any thinking person. If YHWH as depicted in the Bible is the one true god, then we're all in a great deal of trouble, because it's a sadistic monster.

      Evilbible dot com

      December 5, 2011 at 12:56 am |
  10. jersey3038

    A priest molesting young boys???? And in other news a bright firey yellow ball rose ithe the east again this morning.

    December 4, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
  11. SacreCouer

    Long dong silver.

    December 4, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
  12. Carolyn

    It is so sad that people continue to send in the hateful messages regarding my Pastor Bishop Eddie L. Long, you have no clue and or idea the Man that he is, you only want to regard the wick and evil reports. I wonder if your lives were open for public view what would we find. I'm so honored that God loves us in a way that a lot of you don't even have a clue of and or understand. My prayer is that you understand this, God alone is the one who called my pastor, (God) alone and his family are the only ones that he has to answer to. Thank You Bishop Eddie and Vancessa Long for loving each other and us your church family. We love and support you both and the family, and trust that God will be glorify in all of this, Amen Amen Amen. Not print that.

    December 4, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "The wick"? Hmm. I think he might have been dipping his "wick" far too often where he shouldn't have been.

      December 4, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
    • jersey3038

      Where was god when he was wicking these boys in their butts????

      December 4, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
    • PAM

      I SO AGREE WITH YOUR COMMENT.

      December 4, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
    • Ce

      @ Carolyn
      I had a dream about Bishop Long: In it, he was laughing and playing like a little child. He was having so much fun. It looked like he was playing with God. I stood off in the distance watching. As the dream ended, God approached me and asked me: "Will you talk about him too?" three times. I responded No, no, no. He then replied, "This is my son, and I love him." Then I woke up. I have never known anything about him...but I know one thing, He is a child of God. No matter what any human being says.

      December 5, 2011 at 1:09 am |
    • TLS

      Bishop Long is still a champion for God. No matter what the media or anyone else says. He still remains much loved and respected in the Faith Community. He's done a lot of good. Tell Bishop his son in Las Vegas continues to pray and support him. I guarantee when this storm passes over he and Vanessa will be okay....In Jesus Name.

      December 5, 2011 at 1:17 am |
    • Tee

      Then go marry him. Oh that's right he's interested in little boys.

      December 5, 2011 at 8:27 am |
    • Tee

      "He is a child of God. No matter what any human being says."_______________________________________ So was Hitler.

      December 5, 2011 at 8:28 am |
  13. Scottsdale Divorce Lawyer

    It was just a matter of time...

    December 4, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  14. joey

    all the children of abraham, playing with little boys, hating and killing each, brilliant

    December 4, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
    • Pat

      LoL. Shhhhhh! No one is suppose to know that Islam, Christianity, and Judaism are all related.

      December 5, 2011 at 7:50 am |
  15. Lee Cherry

    Unless the Lord build the church it shall not stand, including its leader

    December 4, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
  16. Mike

    I bet Mark Driscoll will be just as hung out to dry and washed out as Eddie Long. I give it 15 years.

    December 4, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  17. jorge washinsen

    Was he running for President?

    December 4, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  18. Bob

    Wow! What an evil person. I know Jesus has a stronger presence in group worship but I think Jesus never made it to this church

    December 4, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • Andy Anderson

      The second part of your sentence contradicts the first part, and that does not appear to bother you any. Why is that?

      Cognitive dissonance is a frightening thing.

      December 5, 2011 at 1:07 am |
  19. Dr. E. McAllister

    Here we go again – an irrational cacophony from the slimy underbelly of civilization about the "evils" of religion and knee-jerk mass generalization about Christianity! These people will relish every opportunity to slam, slander and badmouth religion at every turn. I am not surprised because people attack anything that they do not believe in, anyway! Remember, Christians consist of those who profess the faith but are not true believers. Look around you – there are bad apples everywhere, just the same as other segments of society! Save your whining for another day!

    December 4, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • joey

      did you need a phd to come up with that ? funny

      December 4, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
    • jersey3038

      Believe in what??? Sky fairys'???? I love when people talk about faith and then pump fossil fuel in their cars.

      December 4, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
    • Steve the Goat

      Every apple in modern day religions is a bad apple. In this case, it isn't ruining their church as a bunch, the bunch is humanity. Religion is poisoning and ruining humanity.

      December 4, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
    • Andy Anderson

      Your Bible contains plenty of reasons to conclude that religious belief is nonsense. Do you honestly think that by putting "Dr." in your name it makes you more credible?

      December 5, 2011 at 1:06 am |
    • Phoebe

      I think the point is that religion and churches lose credibility when it's leaders are regularly exposed for the sins that they so loudly, publically and judgementally condemn. One can argue that these sins occur in all facets of life, which I would agree with. However, when the very people who are yelling from the mountaintops about how evil this or that is are then found to be just as guilty as those they preach against, i think all people start becoming jaded. I wish we would stop giving folks who label themselves as "a good christian" a free pass from the crtical thinking and investigative process that should occur whenever serious allegations are made.

      December 5, 2011 at 1:26 am |
    • rick

      "the slimy underbelly of civilization"

      wow, did you take your pompous pills this morning?

      December 5, 2011 at 9:01 am |
  20. gimarie

    Maybe now the congregation will be freed from his mind control and see him for what he really is, a greedy wolf in sheeps clothing.

    December 4, 2011 at 2:10 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.