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. MotoJB

    Why is all of this not surprising? Hmmm...

    December 2, 2011 at 11:25 am |

    @COGICGIRL and @TruthBtold...what many people tend to forget is that people who go to church are human and are not perfect. Yes, there are many churches that have hypocrites, but that should not stop YOU from going to church to get what YOU need. I'm sure there are hypocrites on your job, but that does not stop you from going to work every day. The same holds true for any other place or situation you place yourselves in on a daily basis. What people also forget is that the church is a place for hurting and sick people, and just because people go to church, that does not mean they will not sin or make mistakes anymore. We cannot be so focused and caught into the web of what people are or are not doing who attend church. As believers, we should be striving to live our lives right on a daily basis, but being a believer does not exempt us from sin. That's where His grace, mercy, and forgiveness comes in...and that is a beautiful and awesome thing! Also, I would be cautious on judging others because you never know when you will need the same grace, mercy, and forgiveness you do not seem to be willing to extend in this situation. My prayers are with everyone affected by these tragic events!

    December 2, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • ryan

      I may work with hypocrits and yes I still go but at work my expectation is to make a living to support my family. I do not have the same expectation when I have a religious leader. Just live my expectation when I go to work is to make a living, when I go to church I expect to fill my spiritual bank. If my boss didnt pay me I would be outraged. if my pastor does fufill my needs I am also disapointed. I believe that alot of sick people go to church in an effort to find there way or lead a better life. when you choose a position of leadership the assumption is that you are holding yourself to a higher standard. If you are struggling in your spiritual walk so severly that it is causing you to do the types of things that he has been accused of you need to step down and rebuild that relationship with God

      December 2, 2011 at 11:39 am |
    • ummm

      my job doesn't claim to make you clean or that one group is better than another.

      church just isn't my bag. It is a land of hypcracy as far as I can tell.

      Just because you sleep in the garage doesn't make you a car.

      December 2, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
  3. Junebug

    On the bright side, he's a frontrunner to be Herman Cain's running mate.

    December 2, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • Ever Learning

      No, no, no JUNEBUG!
      After everything that Herman Cain has been through, his wife wouldn't let him run for Deputy Dogcatcher.
      Beside, if Mr. Cain did run, he'd have to chase-down the so-called "Bishop" first...

      December 5, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
  4. angryAmerican

    Poor lady just got sick of the fact that every time she went down on her man, her breath smelled like crap.

    December 2, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • Dave

      Ow, wow.....ZING!!!!

      December 2, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • Laurie

      Go crawl back under your rock.

      December 2, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • that's funny.

      You win this round evil clown. But I'll be back!!

      December 2, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
  5. ryan

    this is not a religous story! The man is not gay. He is a pedafile. There is a diffrence!!!!!!!!!!! Catholic priests who assulted young biys and this coach at PennState are also not gay. They to are people who choose to prey on the weakest among us. A relationship with a consenting adult may be someone who is living a life built on a feeling of shame but that is very diffrent than violating a child.

    December 2, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • angryAmerican

      everyone you used as an example is gay

      December 2, 2011 at 11:21 am |
  6. John

    Religion is mankind's most destructive invention. I feel for those "believers" caught up in it's grip of lies and fear who are led to follow the "teachings" of false profits and false gods. One day mankind will evolve to move beyond the need for these sorts of crutches.

    December 2, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • angryAmerican

      Most destructive... what about nuclear weapons, and the internal combustion engine which is destroying our earth.

      December 2, 2011 at 11:22 am |
    • John

      @angryAmerican – Many wars have been started in the name of one religion or another. And in these wars they use the tools that science & technology provides to kill any one who doesn't believe. Before technology, religious people would kill peope any number of reasons: to stop a volcano from erupting; to stop an earthquake; to bring the sun back during a solar eclipse. Of course, we now know what those events are so we don't resort to such extremes. And so it will be one day about a great many more things; and we will not need an imaginary deity to comfort us during certain times. And man (and woman) will not be able to use thier religion to justify cruelties against one another.

      December 2, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • JD

      Jesus said that you must be born again to go to heaven. That's not religion it's a fact. Man didn't say this God did. So if your not born again you are going to hell, and you don't want to go there. Stop looking at people who have fallen to determine in your mind, if there is a God or not and find out what the bible says about how you can make it into heaven. You have to make up your mind that your not going let man put you in hell by interpreting that there is no God when Christians fall. You can't stand before God when you die and think your going to talk him into letting you in. He will not by the excuse that you concluded that he didn't exist because christians fell into sin, therefore I didn't believe you existed. This will be the worst day of your life!!! "Seek me and you will find me, knock and the door will be open", He's talking to all of us individually, take your eyes of everyone else for your SOULS sake....

      December 2, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  7. The Smart one


    December 2, 2011 at 11:07 am |
  8. Skegeeace


    December 2, 2011 at 11:03 am |
  9. ComeOnMan9

    Eddie Long boy go and take the rest of the God Charlatans with you. Be authentic dude, if you like men, then you like men. You can't rank sins and your lying will be equal to your porking boys and lying about it.

    December 2, 2011 at 11:01 am |
  10. Yeshua

    I see god screwed up another marraige.

    December 2, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • Ever Learning

      God messed-up "Bishop" Long's marriage????
      So-called "Bishop" Long allowed his own lusts (1 John 2:15-16) to mess-up his marriage.

      December 5, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
  11. kecia

    It's about time Vanessa wake up to his foolishness. Hopefully, other women will walk away from their 'in the closet' husbands!

    December 2, 2011 at 10:59 am |
  12. Bonnie

    "For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself keeps transforming himself into an angel of light. It is therefore nothing great if his ministers also keep transforming themselves into ministers of righteousness. But their END will be according to their works." 2nd Corinithians 11:13-15.

    December 2, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • scott501

      What about the thousands that followed this bling church?

      December 2, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • Bonnie

      In answer to Scott: Jesus is speaking to Almghty God, "This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the ONLY true God, and the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ." We must ilsten to Jesus by his teachings found by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the Holy Bible for the "churches" have all failed God now. It's all about money, power and control- just as in any human government. The church has become the antichrist; anti: against. Teaching against the teachings of Jesus Christ.

      December 2, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • Ever Learning


      You are 1000% on-point with the selected answer in scripture!!!!!!!!!

      December 5, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
  13. Ron Donaghe

    Hubris and mendacity are there own rewards.

    December 2, 2011 at 10:59 am |
  14. MaryM

    Its about time Venessa. Next to file for divorce will be Gloria Cain.

    December 2, 2011 at 10:58 am |
  15. Enlighten

    The devil made him do em ?

    December 2, 2011 at 10:57 am |
  16. VegasRage

    Down low Eddie's final nail

    December 2, 2011 at 10:56 am |
  17. SoFunny

    Under the name of God, too much. She's getting her's before his little empire goes down! Reason for divorce, he like young mens! Of course she's not going to mention why she's getting a divorce that's her bargaining chip, duh!

    December 2, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • VegasRage

      If she gets more than half then they might be trying to shield their assets before they are gone, it's a possibility... but she's probably exiting like a smart women would.

      December 2, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • Church of Suicidal

      "He like young mens"? You're not, by any chance, wearing a tiny hat strapped to your head?

      December 2, 2011 at 11:48 am |
  18. Perryboy

    Yes, get out Mrs Long because before long there won't be any money left for you. All the church's money will be spent on the back-end of little boys instead of your front-end. and thats no joke! Run Girl.

    December 2, 2011 at 10:55 am |
  19. Jo

    Those Black 'money making' Christians in Atlanta need to read the Bible again!!!

    December 2, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • deutsche001

      What does race have to do with this? This happens in churches all over the world.
      When we stop following the words of men and act like they are gods and instead follow the one and only true God these evil doers cannot continue to prosper.

      December 2, 2011 at 11:03 am |
    • Sandy

      Race has nothing to do with this.... fake christianity has everything to do with it.

      December 2, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • John Stone

      deutsche001 these evil doers don't need to continue to prosper they've made their money. What do they care if they've been caught. Make a deal, pay off they soon-to-be Ex-Wife wait awhile and they popup somewhere else to start over again under a new name – of course after having been "saved" again.

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

      The race of the false teachers/preachers is irrevelant.
      Deceit, mendacity and blind leaders are in EVERY color, race, ethnicity or national origin.
      From the government to these so-called "christian" churches, lies are in every organization except one.
      The church that Jesus built is founded on a sure foundation.
      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, except His, 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 12:27 pm |
  20. ronna

    men of god doing devilish things...

    December 2, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • angryAmerican

      All men do devilish things, its human nature.

      December 2, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • John Stone

      It's only "devilish" if you get caught.......

      December 2, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
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About this blog

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.