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. buddget

    money and power run amuck

    December 2, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
  2. paul

    Repent and trust in Jesus Christ.

    December 2, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
  3. Hebrew

    Everyone Adrian post make since.

    December 2, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
  4. chrissy333

    What is it with men of the cloth and young boys? I don't get it!

    December 2, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • Joe Forte

      You don't get it? How much clearer does it need to be?

      December 2, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • abinadi

      Men who are inclined that way are often attracted to positions where they will have access. A red flag is any man who likes teenagers. Teenagers are really obnoxious and that isn't natural.

      December 2, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
  5. ElwoodBlues

    Perhaps now would be a good time to check the availability of Reverend Cleophus from the Triple Rock.

    December 2, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • Che

      Add so-called Rev. T-Jakes to the list.

      December 2, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
  6. Binky42

    Folks, if you want to live a Christian lifestyle then stop attending churches where the pastor lives in a mansion and drives a BMW. They are fake, and your own common sense should tell you that. A life of poverty is the only life for a man of God. The rest are just trying to take your hard earned money.

    December 2, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

      Revelation 20:10


      December 2, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Jass

      Binky it a difference from wanting to be rich and being poor. Poor is not being able to feed and clothe yourself. One should focus on the Lord and all things will be added to them.

      December 2, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • greg

      dude,are you ever wrong and biased on this one,poverty is for no-one,why set an example of poverty for others to follow,the point is if he used church money that was destined for other projects,which it was,then do the judging, my pastor is a self made millionaire and he doesn't hide it,the difference between him and long is he is transparent with church funds,no,poverty should be for no-one.

      December 2, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • chrissy333

      Well said.

      December 2, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • True

      Poor or not. All of it is fake.

      December 2, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • Trina D

      A life of poverty is not the reason you should follow a pastor or attend their church. My pastor is an average middle-class guy. Has a nice home and a paid off car that is over 10 years old. I attend church where I do because it's a Bible based church. We don't attend to learn how to make money, because our choir is good or to get an inspirational message – we go to hear the Word and to fellowship with other people who are striving to be better Christians. That's all a church should do, be and provide.

      December 2, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • Thomas the Doubter

      for Greg "my pastor is a self made millionaire"..... WhoooHahahaha, just what I thought Jesus wants his pastors to strive for.

      December 2, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
  7. Pray 4 Them

    As most of us know, everyone who claims to be a Christian, is not a Christian.

    Matthew 7:16

    December 2, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • Binky42

      That passage contradicts the fact that only God should be able to judge.

      December 2, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • Che

      @Pray 4 Them, tell that to those Republican masses who call themselves Christians.

      December 2, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      My rule of thumb for that is if they tell you they are Christians, they aren't. If you happen to find it out in passing, they are.

      December 2, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
  8. abinadi

    Sometimes it seems the world doesn't even take this kind of behavior seriously. In Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints we excommunicate people for this kind of behavior. We take fidelity seriously, and we do not have paid ministers or clergy. We do not sell the word of God for money. If you would like to know more, go to mormon.org.

    December 2, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • Paid Clergy?

      Abinadi, Sorry Bro, it is only the men on the ground that dont get paid....Bishops and Stake Presidents, you are correct, they do not get paid, not for all their driving, their time, their hard work, working 2 jobs....they do that for Free. But I guarantee that the 12 are getting rewarded very nicely for running a multi-billion, multi-national corporation. So how is the fine wood work in the story of King Noah any different than the Joseph Smith Building or the new 4B down town mall? Just wondering since you named your self after a BoM prophet.

      December 2, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • abinadi

      Paid, in our entire 150 year history, there is absolutely no proof for what you just said. The 12 are often self made men before they were called and need no compensation. If any of them need help, he receives a reasonable stipend. The president usually lives in a modest apartment in the Hotel Utah which is across the street from the temple and church office buildings. When you make such allegations, you need to provide proof!

      December 2, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • Paid Clergy?

      Well Abinadi, I am not the only one making allegations, you are stating that the mormon faith does not have paid clergy. I dare you to prove me wrong. I am willing to say that members of the 1st and 2nd quorum of the seventies are making at minimum $50K per year for their "stipend". The company I work for pays me a stipend too, I call it my salary. It is easier to the church to call it a living stipend because then it does not sound like they are paid. Call it what you will, I call it paid.....prove me wrong that the GA's are making $50K + and members of the 12 are making 100K + per year. Which hey, I am okay with, because it is their full time job and they are running a very profitable enterprise. Good luck in your unchallenged belief system!

      December 2, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  9. Bible Clown

    Aw, I guess she just didn't have faith. Unconditional belief is a virtue much admired by many preachers. "I know this sounds odd, but God wants you to take this K-Y jelly and put it . . ."

    December 2, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • Laura

      That was hi-frickin-larious!

      December 2, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
  10. Adrian

    If Black folks read about the history of Christianity and their own History, these fake time Pastors or so called Bishops wouldn’t be able to sucker the congregation into giving their money, or as the Pastors call it “Sow a Seed” and you Black women are the very reason these Pastors are able to get away with this nonsense, It is your Dollars that finance their life style; women are emotional creatures and these Ministers play on that. Wake up Black people come from out of these BS Churches. God said “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”.
    The threat of organize religion with-in the Black church, is worse than the oppressor who have enslaved them.

    December 2, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • you're not the boss of me

      @Adrian- AMEN!

      December 2, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
  11. Amused1944

    Trash and Evil come in all-shapes, sizes and races. So does goodness.

    December 2, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
  12. exalus

    took her long enought

    December 2, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
  13. sman

    Beware of false prophets!

    December 2, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
  14. yannaes

    Bring it out in the open, let's get to the bottom line!

    December 2, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
  15. cpeasy

    This man shouldn't be on anybody's pulpit being gay is a sin if god made u a man ur a man if god made a woman then ur a woman there's no in between

    December 2, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      He shouldn't be ducking and hiding and playing 'hide the salami' with young men. If he's gay. come out and say so. If God made you, then it should be ok with God.

      December 2, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
  16. JF

    That's nice . . . but who the h-ll is Eddie Long????

    December 2, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
  17. Rajiv Shaw

    This guy is as funny as Cain with his shenanigans.

    December 2, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • Che

      It's a typical Southern US mentality.
      Head to the North or Northeast you will feel better and FREE from all these shenanigans and Southern deranged Clowns.

      December 2, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
  18. ummm

    I don't agree that she has a right to privacy. You can't steal money from donors, based on your image, and then say your image is not to be discussed. And she did it too. It wasn't just him. If you trade on it, then it becomes public. And it will be... public that is.

    December 2, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
  19. Megachurch = Megascams

    Crystal Cathedral SOLD, Eddie Long About to be broke. White, Black, Yellow, Red: if you can only tell its a Christian by the way they keep screaming it at you at the top of their lungs, they're lying. God doesn't want you to be rich fools, he wants you to do good works and show love for all people. Charity not Lust, get it right!

    December 2, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
    • Ben Ken

      You are right on the money.

      December 2, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • m

      Actually gawd doesn't want any of it because it doesn't exist. Religion in & of itself is the wolds biggest and oldest Ponzi scheme. All of the millions that have been wasted in the name of religious vanity could have solved the worlds problems. That doesn't even include all the wars that have gone on because a country or group of people weren't the right kind of religion for another group to like.

      Hopefully in my lifetime the eddie longs, jerry falwell's etc of the world will be a distant memory and that mankind will rid itself of the delusion of a supreme being. That idea has destroyed mankind and held back progress more than any idea since the beginning of time.

      December 2, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • Ever Learning

      God wants obedience and not lip-service (Matthew Chapter 7, Verse 21; Hebrews Chapter 5, Verses 8-9).
      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 12:44 pm |
  20. PeekandSeek

    I am so happy my sister is divocing him. He is putting her at risk of contacting Aids and STDs. He is so selfish. Stand-up, you can't have your cake and eat it too.

    December 2, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • SmartOne

      By cheating on her MAN OR WOMAN. She realized she too was allowing a false prophet to pay for her lifestyle.

      December 2, 2011 at 12:28 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.