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. Church of Suicidal

    "Here comes another con hiding behind a collar. His only god is the Almighty Dollar..."

    December 2, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
  2. Terri

    Stand by Your Man

    December 2, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
  3. FisherKing

    I think his lid is embarssing. I would divorce him for that alone. It's 2011 man. Come on. Shave that business.

    December 2, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
    • TravelChristie

      LMAO!....You are soooo wrong for that! But it's funny as heck!

      December 2, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • John Stone

      LOL you're right it looks like a throwrug from the 70's

      December 2, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
  4. Plug1

    WHAT TOOK HER SO LONG......SMH....Keep up those aids test.

    December 2, 2011 at 11:59 am |
  5. Che

    Hey @PeterD, when was the last time you had your brains checked or you're off your mental meds?
    Why is it that pea size brain Republicans and RACIST Tea leaf bag party folks always like to make up lies? Useless toothless punk get a life. Will ya?

    December 2, 2011 at 11:59 am |
  6. Bigdaddy001

    He is such an embarresment to any church. He should resign and go find his gay teen boys and live happily ever after.
    Ps . Leave the churches money at the church before you leave you big phony.

    December 2, 2011 at 11:54 am |
  7. Robert

    For the better,ent of his local congregation and for the larger responsibility he owes to the entire body of churches...the man needs to step down from his self-appointed office of "bishop."

    December 2, 2011 at 11:52 am |
    • Che

      GA police needs to lock him up and throw away the keys into the Pacific Ocean. He's real disgrace to the Christian faith. So much so, it makes me sick.

      December 2, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
  8. SCDad

    A lot of racist pigs on this board seem to have forgotten that all of the dozens of Catholic priests who have been arrested worldwide for molesting kids are WHITE.
    Those child molesters at Penn. State? White.
    Anyone of any race can be a psychopath.

    December 2, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • Russell

      It is unfortunate if someone is associating the types of problems swirling around "Bishop" Eddie Long with his race. You are correct, this happens all over. If someone thinks it's about race, they are sadly mistaken. It's more about letting power corrupt, it's about the fallacy of the "prosperity" gospel, and there are other issues that cause it, I'm sure, but it's not about race.

      December 2, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • SnazzyGirl

      Ha Ha...IHow quick we are to call another racist pig, when we ridicule Islam daily. Goes to show ALL RELIGIONS has those who sin in the name of religion. No one religion is exempt.

      December 2, 2011 at 11:57 am |
  9. maggie

    Soon to be followed by Gloria Cain.

    December 2, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • Che

      Dude, that will be a REAL sight to see. Just can't wait. Sit tight, your wishes may be granted by Lord Almighty. Have hope!

      December 2, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  10. jimbo

    I hope she takes him to the cleaners, and I don't usually wish that upon anyone.

    December 2, 2011 at 11:48 am |
  11. McB

    Eddie Long did em wrong...seriously, he should step down as paster and seek professional help.

    December 2, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • JTM

      Totally agree. I live in Atlanta and this story has become almost comical if it wasn't so tragic for all involved except Eddie Long.

      December 2, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • jtimothy

      Yeah, but this is a case of were ego overrides what is best for the congregation.

      December 2, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • PeekandSeek

      I agree with you. He needs help, and the black community needs to wake up. Come on People!

      December 2, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
  12. PeterD

    @Thomas and james, LOL I meant African American BROTHERS. U Know what I mean?

    December 2, 2011 at 11:40 am |
  13. bill

    Never heard of him.

    December 2, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • akb

      Be glad.

      December 2, 2011 at 11:51 am |
    • Che

      Whew, count your blessings. You're one of the lucky ones.
      I knew this dude was a crook from day one. He wears Black or Red tight T-Shirt's on Sunday’s preaching which was very shameful to watch as a Christian. I thought he was in these Black or Red tight T-Shirts just to attract females to his church. He looked fake from day one as he's now. Not only that and FYI; in the State of GA, there are four (4) Churches at every street intersection or corner of street. There are more churches in the State of GA than Amigo Mexicans and state of GA street lights. What a shame?

      December 2, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  14. Befuddled

    Ed.....hows that bed feeling? You know, the one you made. 😉

    December 2, 2011 at 11:35 am |
  15. Andrew

    She took haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaff of everything I own yo yo yo yo yo yo yo

    December 2, 2011 at 11:34 am |
  16. Andrew Reese

    "My attorney's and I decided we will not be trying this case in the media" What is the first thing they do...make a statement to CNN so that they can begin to try the case in the media. LOL UGH
    As Kanye said "I aint sayin she's a gold digger. But she aint messing with...well you know the rest" LOL

    December 2, 2011 at 11:32 am |
  17. So sad

    Every boy who comes forward saves countless others. Parents need to be wary of any adult their child spends time with alone.

    December 2, 2011 at 11:28 am |
  18. Maximus

    None of this would be happening if Al Sharpton were Prez!

    December 2, 2011 at 11:27 am |
  19. PeterD

    President Obama is a BROTHER of Eddile Long and Received a Millions in Campaign Donations. Talk about Separation of Church & States.

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

      What a crock! If there were ANY truth to your BS, every news outlet (especially Fox) would have been all over it.

      December 2, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • James

      LOL, yeah right. Source?

      December 2, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • Laurie

      Nice try, buddy, but that's patently false.

      December 2, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • Miss

      What is the heck does that have to do with the fact that this trifiling ass preacher took advantage of some young boys...get your stupid ass off the blog if you can't keep to the subject.... Or do you have little boys or girls in your basement?

      December 2, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
  20. Erik in Houston

    Why is he called Bishop? Isn't this just grandstanding?

    December 2, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • Modern Family is weiner smacking goodness!!

      Grandstanding? Not really but is typical of the black community.


      December 2, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • JTM

      Are you a black person? How do you know what's typical in the black community. I would say typical in the white community. ALL BS ADN NO SUBSTANCE.

      December 2, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • Really Jersey

      He can call himself anything he likes because every Baptist church has absolute power over how they worship as long as the leadership of that church agrees with them. That is why Westboro Baptist can continue to call themselves Baptists. It's like these pastors have their own little kingdoms where everyone has to follow how they interpret Christianity or be excommunicated..

      December 2, 2011 at 2:48 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.