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. Grog Says

    Did Jesus go to church ?
    You dont need a church, to have GOD.

    December 2, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
  2. james williams

    If we stay focus on the journey and not on the people preacher,pastor or whoever.we would know what to do and how to do it according to the scriptures.The only requriment form God is to worship HIm in spirit and truth.Everything else is garbage.Know the truth and it will make you free.

    December 2, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
  3. teresa, ohio

    Mrs. Long: you are wise. there is ONLY one Biblical reason we are PERMITTED to divorce. That is infidelity. you are covered. You are doing the right thing. paraphrased" "walk with any man while he is right, part when he GOES wrong".
    Best of luck to you, Mrs. Long. Dont turn back. Eddie left you looooonnnggg ago.

    December 2, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  4. Mittens

    I'm a Christian and this guy is a liar and false teacher. He doesn't even remotely come close to Christianity. Wolf in sheeps clothing.

    December 2, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      You may not agree with him but you do not get to judge whether or not he is a true christian...doing so makes you a hypocrite. This is one of the main issues between christians...none of you seem to agree about who is right. At least with Atheism and Secularism, we make it simple...we simply believe no god exists for any one.

      December 2, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
  5. Truth

    It's ok everyone! He is black! He has been discriminated against! He has had to deal with racism his entire life! The white man has continuously held him down! His crimes are forgivable! He had no choice! He was forced to grow up in poverty, surrounded by crime, and it is not his fault! He is beginning to "turn his life around"! Look past his color, he is our "equal"! He is a man of God! (lol) Let us sweep his transgressions under the rug, and give this unlucky black man a fair chance!
    /sarcasm off

    December 2, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
  6. Jerome

    Dirty eggplant eatin mofo.

    December 2, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  7. boyamidumb

    WHO CARES!!!!!!

    Tell me about something that counts, not another sleezeball's life. I don't care!!

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


      December 2, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • boyamidumb


      You are right. I care. Cuz it bring out every idiot who tunes into this crap and I get so much new material from it that I make an extra 300k a year off it. Good stuff you idiots write. Never, never stop or I'll go broke.

      December 2, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  8. wanda


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

      Your caps key is locked.

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

      Wanda, I just dumped a load of rocks on him.

      Who are you to call me a sinner????

      Get a life woman.

      December 2, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • boyamidumb

      And I think it's his wife that will leave him alone, and probably broke too. ROTFL

      December 2, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • Grog Says

      I allways wanted somebody to splaine to me how i was born with sin.
      The first thing i did when i popped out of the womb was take a deep breath.
      I think somebody be lying.

      December 2, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      Leave him alone?? The man has been accused of harming a child and you think he should be left alone...WOW!!! He deserves to lose everything, just as much as anyone who harms a child does. If you disagree with this fact, you seriously need to check your morals!

      December 2, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  9. JK

    Just read somewhere else that she backed out of the divorce...

    December 2, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • teresa, ohio

      jk: lets hope she did NOT back out. She should be worried about Eddie having touched thier children at this point and run like he11.

      December 2, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  10. Huh??????

    Uhhhh... ....I guess this would be news if anyone knew who "Eddie Long" was.

    December 2, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • ficheye

      You need to google it. Then you'll be amazed at your own statement.

      December 2, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • N

      Some people actually do live under a rock.

      December 2, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • Tawana Williams

      If I were you I wouldn't confirm the level of ignorance you just divulged in black in white. SMH!!! Read CNN more often.

      December 2, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • FreeThinker

      Nobody cares about this idiot or the idiots that follows him. They're all shallow morons that wear religion on their sleeves. Next.....

      December 2, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • Grog Says

      RON !

      December 2, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
  11. Reality

    Good for her!!!!

    December 2, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
  12. cony000

    His power is coming to an end.

    December 2, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • Grog Says

      A tight end ?

      December 2, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
  13. Man of GOD


    December 2, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • teresa, ohio

      a voice for the voiceless : ) keep up the great work.

      December 2, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
  14. Biblicus

    I finally understand what these preachers mean when they say that the gays are destroying traditional marriage.

    December 2, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      Really and what would they mean by that? Gays are not destroying anything and to say they are is complete bigotry.

      December 2, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • Truth

      Gays, blacks, muslims, and other minorities are destroying this entire country, and our ways of life, from the inside. If you cannot see this you are either the pure definition of ignorant, or you just need to pull your head out of the sand for once in your life and open your eyes and ears.

      December 2, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      @Truth: Really?? How so?? Those groups of people you just mentioned...they are still human. They have the same rights as you or I do. If anything I believe it is the right wing christian nutjobs destroying the country more so than any blacks or gays or muslims. It's the christians that want to push their beliefs in government and the public at every turn. If it wasn't for christianity holding us back, we'd be so much further advanced. Your ignorance and hypocrisy is sad!

      December 2, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  15. Grog Says

    Bishop told wifey,
    i cant make you rich if you ruin my ministry.
    Deal with the preacher,
    deal with the devil.

    December 2, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
  16. atlantaguy

    Bishop Long has apparently now withdrawn her divorce filing "after much prayer and consideration". WHAT? Sounds like Eddie must have agreed to stop sleeping with boys and buy his wife something really expensive so she would stay married to him and keep up the "charade". "Bishop" Long is so self-serving and fake.

    December 2, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
  17. j prince

    He gives the Chistian faith a bad name

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

      Jesus said to the false teachers of His day,

      For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence.

      Matthew 23:25

      Hypocrites do not have the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is given to "to those who obey Him" (Acts 5:32), not to those who continually disobey Him (Romans 8:5-8).


      December 2, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
  18. Linden

    Just let your SOUL GLO!!!!!

    December 2, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
  19. detada

    Good for her. Eddie Long is a complete self indulgent phoney. When his day comes to stand before God, he will have some serious 'splaining to do.

    December 2, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
  20. bes

    The retro gheri curl says it all .....GAY......

    December 2, 2011 at 1:09 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.