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. DrDoITT

    More bad things done by G-A-Y person

    December 2, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • N

      who says he isn't.

      December 2, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • tallulah13

      because heterose.xuals NEVER do bad things. Bigot.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
  2. Rob

    Always good to see such strong Christian Family Values on display by folks who proclaim their Christianity the loudest...

    December 2, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
  3. ratickle

    Who is Eddie Long?

    December 2, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • xRedfoxx

      A common criminal that needs to be in jail for perverted behavior!!

      December 2, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • Grog Says

      Second cousin to short round.

      December 2, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • Ever Learning

      Uh, who is so-called "Bishop" Eddie Long???
      Well, he is a rerun in a long line of false prophets/ministers.
      If you need any further references, please see the following list (the list is not comprehensive):

      T.D. Jakes
      Cleophus Miller (?)
      Jesse L. Jackson
      Al Sharpton
      Jessie Duplantis
      Benny Hinn
      Pope Benedict (not sure what number is he now)
      Joyce Meyer
      Juanita Bynum
      Creflo Dollar
      Joel Osteen
      Bernice King

      Why are they false prophets/ministers?
      They promote false doctrines (teachings) and preach another gospel than that the apostles taught (Galatians Chapter 1, Verses 6-9; 1 Timothy Chapter 4, Verses 1-3).

      December 5, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
  4. update


    December 2, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  5. VLaw

    Question now is who was the bigger FOOL the sheperd or the flock?
    Open your eyes people this whole thing is nothing but good ol"pimping.

    December 2, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  6. Nope

    She's now "unfiling". These people are CRAZY.

    December 2, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  7. ART

    anyone who still has jerrycurls is a perv

    December 2, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
  8. bahminj


    December 2, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • WOW!

      What is it with these butt slamming males?? What a sick person. I mean, what dude does that to another dude?

      December 2, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
  9. nick2

    There should be a minimum age for children to be permitted to be exposed to religion – for their own protection.
    Quite apart from the risk of molestation, there is the addition risk of being taught bigotry and subservience, and flat-out fairy tales passed as the truth.

    December 2, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • Colin

      Well siad. Imagine trying to teach an educated 18 year-oldfor the first time that the World began 6,000 years ago with a man, a woman and a talking snake

      December 2, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • Stalin

      I couldn't agree with you more!! Teaching our kids the truth...errr.....fairy tails would cause them to be independant thinkers and not bow down to government. – Stalin

      December 2, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • Jee Whiz

      Amen. I like what your saying nick2. My mother had that same idea in the 70"s. Said in catholic school they just ran them through communion like cattle, that we could not possibly know what we were signing up for. She said it would be more personal, deeply rewarding and fair if we came into it when we were a little older and knowledgeable about the bible etc. She was a catholic till the day she died. Me, well, unitarian universalists are not that bad. I have two daughters that are christian one that is searching and two that are interested in Christ. More common sense is what we need, it's no honor to best a fool, its besting a genius that is the real challenge. Then, your faith is unshakable, unlike our belief in the tooth fairy, santa and bigfoot.

      December 2, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
  10. Mr. Spock

    Sweet Star Trek uniform in the photo. Sounds like he stunned a few young boys with his phaser too.

    December 2, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
  11. justme

    why does anyone refer to this guy as bishop?

    December 2, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
  12. Mildred the Mouth

    What's wrong with this picture ? Every day there is a new "news" story, about a supposedly "straight" man, fooling around with boys. Either this is just a HUGE statistical aberration, or, this sort of thing IS VERY VERY common. WAY more common than anyone ever thought.

    December 2, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • Alex

      good point

      December 2, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  13. Brittany - Proud BLACK Woman

    First, thank you CNN for taking down the comment that was posted at 11:40am.

    To the person who wrote that RACIST comment about the black community...ALL I'll do is pray for you...in the meantime, let me educate you on a few things.

    1) The Black Community is NOT a "Stupid Race"...in fact some of the most prominent, innovative, influential and thought provoking people in world, derive from people that are apart of the Black Community. In case you haven't notice the President of the country you live in is apart of the Black Community. The political party you no doubt vote for, but likely (because of the way you worded your comment) are NOT in the tax bracket to reap the benefits of has only ONE candidate a BLACK candidate that even has a minimal chance of even running against our current president. But I digress....

    When it comes to the kids, whether they are black/white, rich or poor...if they don't have a loving family and/or a support system to teach them the things that are appropriate and inappropriate and they are shown a life they otherwise would NEVER be exposed to or a LOVE that they think they would NEVER have...I would imagine they would do anything to have it/keep it. Bishop Long took advantage of the naivete of these young boys (now men). For that he will ALWAYS have to live with the fact that you can't just do whatever you want because you have the ability to influence the masses. With GREAT talent, comes GREAT responsibility and if you forget that and/or try to abuse it...IT WILL come back to get you!

    I hope that as you read this you find that inner voice...that...common sense factor and WAKE UP! It's 2011 and the loose lipped racist comments just WON'T be tolerated. I just want to add....

    I think it's funny that you cower in front of your computer hoping that no one figures out who you are and you hide behind your beliefs with a ridiculous name...the morning show I listen to in the morning calls it the "WOOSIFICATION of America"...why don't you grow a pair and make comments that actually are about something??

    2) My prayer for you is only that you find it within yourself to love yourself! If you don't love yourself, you can NEVER truly love someone else.

    I hope you have a GREAT holiday season and I wish you NOTHING but the best in the new year! – CHEERS

    December 2, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • buddget

      "Bishop" Long is an adult, you can blame your up bringing for so long.

      December 2, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • Angel, Another Proud BLACK Woman

      This makes me want to smile, laugh, cry, and smirk. Thank you Brittany for being a voice for our race and our gender. It is with great pride that I write this reply and hope that you were able to get through to the person that would make such derogatorycomments about a people they obviously know nothing about. So cheers to you Brittany, Proud BLACK Woman, hope you have a wonderful and magnificent holiday season. Peace on Earth...........

      December 2, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • Mark H

      The term is "a part", not "apart." I usually don't correct, but you are actually saying the complete opposite of your intent.

      December 2, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • kahonas

      Thank you Oprah. My prayer is that Long will be judged harshly as he has ruined people's life under the pretense of Bishophood and religion and God. God cannot be mocked and he will reap what he sows. Wanna talk religion? most people can, but they cannot walk the walk of a righteous man. God will punish those who do evil deeds and not repent. Eddie Long is a wolf in sheep's clothing and it ain't Sherpa.

      December 2, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • Dee

      buddget, I think she was referring to the BOYS (now men) in this story

      December 2, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • GAW

      @ Brittany Sadly people can cay the meanest things using the protection of anonymity. In internet language this is called trolling which is best responded to by ignoring the post. Trolls want you to respond emotionally. It's best to tell them "Show's Canceled" simply by not responding. Keep up your pride and ignore the idiots.

      December 2, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • Thomas the Doubter

      Race has no business in this discussion. The majority of White Americans also go to churches, and donate money, and get scammed. The issue is fraud in the name of something or other that people believe in.
      There are plenty of white, and recently also hispanic or asian, religious scam artists. Robert Tilton, Richard Roberts, Copeland, Osteen, Benny Hinn and many more: They all peddle goods and serives in the name of god, yet the only ones getting rich are they and their cronies.

      The questions raised here are : why do people continue to believe something to be true just because someone labels it "godly" and promotes scams from a pulpit / multimedia stage?

      December 2, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • Slimgoody

      Very well written Brittany!

      December 2, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • White Guy - Rochester New York

      Brittany, you cant get through to these trolls.
      I just hit "report abuse",
      and if enough people do it, they will be blocked from posting.
      Its sad, we have come so far, and yet people like this still haunt our planet.

      Hugs from Upstate New York.

      December 2, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • N

      too bad you don't knot know the difference between apart, and "a part".

      December 2, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  14. yee!

    Shameful. Found out her hubby really does like to "play" with boys. SMH.

    December 2, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
  15. timd

    Q: How do you seperate the men from the boys at new life church?
    A: With a crobar!

    December 2, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
  16. John Lennon

    Nothing to kill or die for...And no religion too
    Imagine all the peole living life in peace

    December 2, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • Penis Buffet

      Lennon was a commie. We are better off without him.

      December 2, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • AmazedinFL

      A commie? Gimme a break...

      December 2, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • arduck

      PB. The world would be a better place if John Lennon were here and you were gone. Not that I really wish you were gone. I just wish Lennon had moe time to make music and I take great exception at you swipe at him. It was uncalled for.

      December 2, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Stalin

      I loved John Lennon. He made America weaker and helped make the citizens unpatriotic!! My plan is further along with his sillines,,,ahhhmm.....brilliant teachings!! – Stalin

      December 2, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Thomas the Doubter

      ... Buffet, you're just a little stump. And dumb on top of it.

      December 2, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      @Buffet: WHAT???? Lennon had it figured out and it's now coming true slowly. The hippies had a point!!
      Sorry but Lennon is one of my favorite musicians and I think the music world endured a great loss when he died.

      December 2, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
  17. buddget

    "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." Oh really, that's OK we will have fun with this without your input.

    December 2, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
  18. ElwoodBlues

    "Can I get a witness!?!?" – Bishop Don Magic Long
    "No, but we have statements from several of them." – Police
    "Oops." – Bishop Long

    December 2, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
  19. Glenn Quagmire

    Eddie Long molested those young boys as sure as the sun rises in the East. Why did he pay them off? He never denied the charges but said he would "fight them". I can hear him now....."Boys, get down on your knees and I don't mean to pray"...

    December 2, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
  20. LBW

    Absolute proof of the scripture "Not everyone who creis Lord, Lord is part of the Kingdom."

    December 2, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • Thomas the Doubter

      not many at all who cry Lordy Lordy have much to say in the first place....

      December 2, 2011 at 1:14 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.