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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. DeeNYC

    Only Buddha can save you all.

    December 2, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • Grumpster

      Yeah...or maybe Rah...or all those Native American gods....I tend to prefer those myself.

      December 2, 2011 at 10:53 am |
  2. Perryboy

    WHAT???? What took you soooo long Mrs Long? I guess you were living-up to your last name. Long!

    December 2, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • Ken

      Bishop Long affords Mrs. Long a very lavish lifestyle. It's amazing what folks will endure for money.

      December 2, 2011 at 11:07 am |
  3. DeeNYC

    Another Man of God who turned out to be gay. At least his isn't raping little boys like catholic and christian priests.

    December 2, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • Grumpster

      Your comment should be followed with "yet" or "as far as we know now."

      December 2, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • FIRM BELIEVER IN THE REAL GOD!!

      You might want to re-read the article before you make your ridiculous comments!

      December 4, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
  4. EJ

    Its about time! I guess she thought she'd stick with him according to biblical scripture... Not! He really needs to find Jesus, as its obvious he hasn't yet.

    December 2, 2011 at 10:44 am |
  5. Grumpster

    Who the he11 is this ugly dude anyway? Just another reason we all know the sky fairy is a bunch of malarky.

    December 2, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • Ever Learning

      If by some chance your "sky fairy" comment is referring to the True and Living God, then your current pain won't compare to the everlasting pain you'll feel.
      One day very soon, you will wish that you could take that sad comment back...

      December 5, 2011 at 11:05 am |
  6. sara

    I'm a transplant to the south. Moved to grow old with sister. Housing market fell flat and I'm stuck...can't wait to leave. I've never seem so many pretentious, mean, ignorant, materialistic, rude church going people in my life. Offended? Good.

    December 2, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • Grumpster

      I feel your pain. I moved south of the Mason-Dixon line by seven miles, and feel dumber for having done so and dumber every day I stay.

      December 2, 2011 at 10:54 am |
    • ComeOnMan9

      I too am a transplant to the south and yes some of the old ignorant ways of doing stuff is still here but I use it to my advantage because I get so much more in return. Now since I am a heathen and don't attend church in the bible belt, I got the city to myself on Sunday mornings. I am first in line for the Mimosas after my weekly grocery shopping in an empty grocery store.

      December 2, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • Chipperkeet

      I have family below the M-D line. Every time I visit them, I can feel IQ points dripping out of my ears. And I share that DNA, which makes me ponder vasectomy on a daily basis...

      December 2, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • P Ness

      I have spent equal time between the North and the South and I promise you there are more ignorant people in the North.(Jersey Shore TV show is accurate)

      With that said, there are way too many Bible thumpers preaching Jesus down South.

      December 2, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  7. Jean

    What took HER so long?

    December 2, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • CCee

      You have to be separated for a certain amount of time in GA before you can file for divorce. They were separated as soon as the story broke out. She was gone!

      December 2, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
  8. Bill

    What a joke CNN continues to be. Subject states clearly that she filed for divorce. Second sentence then says unclear if she has filed for divorce. Same way CNN stands on every issue we can only guess.

    December 2, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • Read Better

      The second sentence states she did not specify WHY she filed for divorce, not that they were unsure whether or not she filed for divorce. The joke is on you.

      December 2, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • Guest

      The second sentence states "...did not specify why she is seeking a divorce...". English comprehension?

      December 2, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • Brando

      What are you talking about? The headlines does state that she has filed for divorce, but the second sentence states that it is unclear as to WHY she has filed. Please provide some clarity for me because I don't understand your complaint.

      December 2, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • Lex

      Can you read? It states "did not specify why she is seeking a divorce".

      December 2, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • LesR.

      Bill,
      You are a poor reader... Go back and read the 2 sentences again, then apologize. The key word is your "if" that changed the whole meaning... Try replacing it with "why" which is what was actually used. Got it?

      December 2, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • Ken

      Perhaps it would help if you could read. The statement that you're referring to says that "Vanessa G. Long's statement did not specify WHY she is seeking a divorce from Long".

      December 2, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • bill cant read when he laughs at his joke

      first sentence: HER ATTORNEY reported SHE filed for divorce.
      second sentence: HER ATTORNEY's statement did not explain WHY she filed for divorce.

      So Bill, maybe your real gripe is CNN does not cover real news, like what Rush and Beck think is important.

      December 2, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • Eric

      @Bill – Clearly you need to develop your reading comprehension skills. The second sentence says that Mrs. Long's statement didn't specify WHY she was seeking a divorce. There is no contradiction in the article.

      December 2, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • Grog Says

      Bill, you be stupid ?

      December 2, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • yepyep6598

      i guess CNN is a Righwing Media Station, Not.

      December 7, 2011 at 1:01 am |
  9. Jerseyknight

    We didn't see this coming?

    December 2, 2011 at 10:38 am |
  10. midwestmatt

    She knew something was up when he walked in and said they needed plumbing work done and she thought he meant the leaky faucet. What he really meant was her plumbing was all wrong.

    Bishop, just come out of the closet and get on with your life. You could be an inspiration to so many gay black men but you've chosen to live a lie and God doesn't look fondly on lying.

    December 2, 2011 at 10:36 am |
    • Truefax

      Guy walks around with a star trek badge, Eddie you're the biggest phag on the planet. You make barney frank a ru pual look straight as an arrow, everyone knows just come out already.

      December 2, 2011 at 10:42 am |
  11. s.positive

    Sad to hear this

    December 2, 2011 at 10:34 am |
  12. Eric of Reseda

    GEE! What do you know! Another Evangelical Christian minister being outed as gay, corrupt, a bad husband, immoral, etc., etc., etc., all while millions of Evangelical Christian Suckers pour millions into his pockets. But of course, as long as he keeps saying, "Praise Jesus!", alll those sucker Christians will keep sending checks.

    December 2, 2011 at 10:34 am |
    • Interesting

      Hmm, how is that different from the Catholic church? Or any religion that won't allow you to think for yourself?

      December 2, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • Mike

      People are mainly sheep, they follow a religious eader or political party no matter what. Everyone has a choice and it is unfortunate that so many people are duped by fake religious leaders.....but that has been going on for hundreds of years. God does not like this and He will bring those to justice.

      December 2, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • denise

      Just because a preacher is a dirt bag doesn't mean that he is not preaching the truth on Sunday mornings. I believe God gives us all spiritual discernment to know when a pastor is not speaking the truth or trying to encourage us to do things that are not necessarily in the bible and most people I believe use that. As far as giving money, if God puts it in your heart to give and you are obedient you will be blessed regardless if the person receiving decides to misuse it. If he does, then he's the one who will have to answer to God. A lot of people use this as an excuse to not give or go to church and it's just that an EXCUSE. As long as the pastor is not telling you to drink laced Koolaid or give beyond what God has put in your heart, you should just be obedient to what GOD says!!

      December 2, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • Ever Learning

      So-called "Bishop" Long's demise is simply a fulfillment of scriptural prophecy. He is a blind leader who is leading blind followers (Matthew Chapter 15, Verse 14). "Bishop" Long is teaching false doctrine (Matthew Chapter 15, Verse 9; Galatians Chapter 1, Verses 6-9) and supporting an organization that is built upon a man's foundation and not the Lord's (Ephesians Chapter 1, Verse 22; Ephesians Chapter 2, Verses 20-21; Hebrews Chapter 3, Verse 4).

      December 5, 2011 at 11:19 am |
  13. Charles

    Seems like a great move. Get out while he still has some money and get on with your life. Bravo!

    December 2, 2011 at 10:31 am |
    • joe

      I wonder if she gets half of the Bentley!

      How the frack, can a church allow him to drive that? That's MESSED UP!

      December 2, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • Ken

      Joe means Bentleys. In addition to his Bentlys, she also has 1 or 2 herself.

      December 2, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • Chipperkeet

      Joe... shame on you... no "c" in "frak"

      December 2, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  14. DiscipleofElijah

    This story shouldn't even be in the Belief Blog. Eddie Long and many other televangelists are about as far from God as you can get.

    December 2, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • mathetes

      Dang skippy.

      December 2, 2011 at 10:36 am |
    • Ever Learning

      The televangelists and other false teachers/preachers are serving their own interests (Phillipians Chapter 3, Verse 19) because they continue to pervert the gospel (Galatians Chapter 1, Verses 6-9).
      God, through his word, NEVER TOLD MEN TO START OR BUILD A CHURCH!
      His son, Jesus, has already done that and has ALL authority in it (Matthew Chapter 16, Verse 18; Ephesians Chapter 1, Verse 22, Colossians Chapter 1, Verse 18; Acts Chapter 2).

      December 5, 2011 at 11:36 am |
  15. Kevin O.

    TNB. DoMA needs to step in and give these two counseling.

    December 2, 2011 at 10:30 am |
  16. ivan

    He and Mcain just founded the CAI – Cheaters of America Inc.

    December 2, 2011 at 10:29 am |
    • Ever Learning

      Are you referring to Herman Cain???

      December 5, 2011 at 11:38 am |
  17. TruthBtold

    They didn't name him "Eddie Long", for nothing.

    December 2, 2011 at 10:27 am |
  18. AlanMichael

    All of his followers deserve what they are getting. He was too rich, and that most certainly will bring corruption. Doesn’t the bible say something about a rich man, a camel and the eye of a needle?

    December 2, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • 'Nother Son O' Ursus

      I believe the bible DOES say something about rich persons & camels, (the needle part being an unexpected kink’, L.O.L.!), but in a superficially 'family_values_medium’ like CNN, I doubt that graphic descriptions, re human-ungulate, -bovine, -cloven-hooved or equine-love-trysts would be allowed past the censors, with or without the needle-related (Meth?) issues L.M.A.O.!

      December 2, 2011 at 10:40 am |
  19. Me NOT love you Long TIme

    Well PRAISE the Lord!

    December 2, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • John Stone

      With Long it was more like "Praise The Glory Hole"

      December 2, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • Grog Says

      Praise the LORD
      and pass the checkbook !

      December 2, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
  20. COGICGIRL

    Another disgusting money hungary Bishop, preacher, Elder whatever in the church! I'm so disgusted. I totally believe in the Lord and the Bible but I will not be attending church. Too many hipocrites and pervs that want to steal your money!

    December 2, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • TruthBtold

      The Churches (including Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons) are full of Hypocrites.

      December 2, 2011 at 10:29 am |
    • Pat in IL

      That's like saying you won't attend "life" because there are too many liars and perverts in our government. We just have to try to make things better...not hide out or just yell negatives.

      December 2, 2011 at 10:33 am |
    • John Stone

      That's it Cogicgirl just stick your head in the sand and all the hypocrites and pervs will go away.........

      December 2, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • FIRM BELIEVER IN THE REAL GOD!!

      Before you make your judgmental comments, not all churches and pastors are like this freak!! You people need to seriously grow up and learn what it really means to be a true Christian, which is ADMITTING that we are ALL sinners who NEED JESUS to forgive us and cleanse us and make us whole. I gave Him my life almost 9 years ago, and yes, I do still judge people (I am human, after all), I make mistakes (again, I'm human), I fall down and He picks me back up, but I TRUST HIM to get me through every day of my life! Bishop Long is nothing but a hypocrite who shouldn't be anywhere near a church or children for that matter, especially young boys. There are some really great pastors out there who have nothing but good intentions, and then there are dirtbags like this jerk who give churches a bad name and fool their followers into believing every word that comes out of their mouths. And then there are people like some of you on here who DON'T HAVE A CLUE WHAT GOD IS REALLY ABOUT!! Pick up a Bible sometime and learn the facts before you start spewing your nonsense! That's what's wrong with the world today...and we wonder why the world is suffering like it is!! GET A CLUE, PEOPLE!! Oh, bring on your comments, because I will just shake my head at you and laugh! I stand firm in my beliefs and WILL NOT BE SHAKEN!! THANK YOU, JESUS!!

      December 4, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
    • Ever Learning

      Please search the scriptures and find the church (not churches) that Jesus built.
      The Bible teaches that there is only one church that He is the founder and builder of.
      ALL of the current churches cannot be found in scripture. NONE of them are listed. Why?
      Matthew Chapter 16 and Verse 18 states that He promised to built it-not them.
      Acts Chapter 2 chronicles the start of the church.
      Romans Chapter 16 and Verse 16 gives the name of the church (Church of Christ). In this scripture, Churches of Christ refers to the same organization in different localities/cities (for example; the Church of Christ in Corinth, the Church of Christ in Galatia, the Church of Christ in Phillippi, etc.).
      Ephesians Chapter 1, Verse 22 and Colossians Chapter 1, Verse 18 show Jesus' authority in HIS church.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • yepyep6598

      baby girl hypocrites have been in the church before Jesus and they are in all religions. dont stop attending church i know it is discouraging, but dont let this false prophet keep you from worshipping God. You might ask the question, who can be saved? the answer is all of us even in these wretched corrupt bodies. Let me give you some advice never ever worship the man in the pulpit because of his human nature he will fail you.

      December 7, 2011 at 1:09 am |
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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.