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. werthrough

    Kinda funny though. It ain't just the white guys after the little boys like everyone like to think, huh?

    December 2, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  2. IceT

    Maybe CNN should have a Belief blog subcatagory ... the Hypocrisy blog! Now that would be entertaining, informative & there'd be new stories everyday!

    December 2, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • werthrough

      I thought that was the subcatagory we were on?!!!

      December 2, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
  3. Prayerful

    For the record, and from my view of things as an actual former member of his church for several years, Bishop Eddie Long had a passion for ministering to and mentoring young African-American men. He really wanted the best for them and it showed in his ministry even during church services. Bishop Long's heart, as far as I could determine, was to see African-American men excel and he was willing to help in whatever way possible. I would not be surprised if one day we learned that this was all just a plot by the evil one, satan, to attack Bishop Long, his wife, his family and his ministry just like the story of Job which is found in the bible in the book of Job. We must be cautious in our judgments and judgmental statements. Only God and the people involved know the truth. If wrong has occurred, then God is able to judge it. What we need to do is pray for God's truth and God's justice! But one thing is true: whoever is lying in this situation has a terrible price to pay and is already paying it, i suspect. God will avenge the evil-doers, we do not need to worry about it or do God's job for Him. God is more than capable of doing His job of avenging wrongdoing and rewarding righteousness. We each need to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling and stop worrying about somebody else's business.

    December 2, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • ProperVillain

      Nice to see the church PR machine is trying to clean up the mess.

      "Satan" has nothing to do with this. Bishop Long's choices is what brought him down. Nothing more, nothing less. I'm sure the Bishop would love for everyone to believe that it is the "devil". Nothing like blaming someone you can't see so as to escape any sort of personal responsibility.

      December 2, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • it is sad

      And yet his wife see's things a wee bit differnt. She must be the devil!

      December 2, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • Calvin

      Why dont you buy him another Bentley???Amazing....

      December 2, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • IceT

      God isn't taking care of it or God would prevent it to begin with. It is our business when someone's actions affect others, giving it to God will not stop it, we need to do something about it.

      December 2, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • meinellimu

      You seriously need help!

      December 2, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  4. Hebrew

    If Black folks will read 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 3:08 pm |
  5. BDub

    Our Christian faith is constantly being challenged and "bailing out" on each other is not the answer despite our actions. God is still God and practicing Love is always the best answer. Marriage involves more than just two people. You have commitment to family, friends, spiritual family n friends. Even during a time of weakness you have to stand strong not just for your marriage but for the people in your life.

    December 2, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • meinellimu

      The Christian faith is challenged by lack of interest in knowing what the truth really is. There is no religion on this earth with the exception of Jehovah's Witnesses, that is even close to the truth.

      December 2, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  6. ProperVillain

    What a surprise (rolls eyes). Seriously, most of these "mega" church pastors are a disgrace to the name "Christian". Most of them are nothing more than flim flam men that cast themselves as CEO's in an environment where most people are very naive and pliable by strong personalities that are perceived as wise. The time of the mega church needs to come to a quick, and well deserved, end. American churches are nothing more than glorified social clubs run by insecure "leaders" who crave the spotlight and constant attention. It has nothing to do with "ministry" anymore. It is all about the senior pastors overly-inflated sense of worth and delusional meglomania...

    December 2, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
  7. LeeCMH

    Eddie can now join George "carry by bags" Rekers and Larry "wide stance" Craig.

    December 2, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • Chipperkeet

      Now now... George had a bad back... 😉

      December 2, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • Mom

      LMAO wide stance craig

      December 2, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
  8. rudix

    This is what we look today...LIe,Cheat and hide all at wwwTheDimensionMachineDOTcom

    December 2, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
  9. Secular Truther

    What attracts perverted pedaphiles to want to be the heads of churches? I understand con men who see how guillable Christians are to still have belief in Jesus when the bible is just morally screwed up, historically incorrect and tons of false prophecy that can easily be debunked. To the pastor, Imaginary friends like Jesus Christ may forgive but no matter how much you talk about imagination land you live in the real world with human beings that will hurt you for taking advantage of the weakest among us, karma does exist when your in the court of public opinion.

    December 2, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Actually Secular, true Christians who read the Bible know what Paul wrote,

      But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, . . . (2 Timothy 3:1-2)

      After all we are in end of days.


      December 2, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • Bob

      Go away.

      December 2, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
  10. IceT

    "It is my sincere hope that this matter can be resolved expeditiously, harmoniously, and fairly,"
    .. all I hear when I read this is Jackie Chiles (from Seinfeld)

    December 2, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  11. Etchie

    sadly enough i knew this was inevitable. She is probably going to secretly divorce him and take with her loads of the peoples money. This is why your relationship should be with God and not man.

    December 2, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • rudix

      Great comment

      December 2, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • Chipperkeet

      Absolutely. The megachurches are time bombs. They come really damned close to giving the "leader" absolute power, and I think we all know the old saying about absolute power and corruption, yes?

      December 2, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
  12. DeeNYC

    Only Buddha can save you.

    December 2, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • Chipperkeet

      Buddha doesn't believe we NEED to be saved

      December 2, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
  13. werthrough

    Well, I am finally starting to believe in religion – AS TO BE THE ABSOULTE ROOT TO ALL EVIL!

    December 2, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • IceT

      ... can I hear an AMEN brother!!

      December 2, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • werthrough


      December 2, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • LeeCMH

      Thank you Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesus!

      December 2, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
  14. Diana Murphy

    She actually just released a statement stating, "I love my husband. I believe in him and admire his strength and courage. My filing followed years of attacks in the media that frustrated and overwhelmed me," she said. " I love my family and church family, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. Therefore, my husband and I have mutally agreed to find healing from these attacks."

    December 2, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • werthrough

      Translation: I love my MONEY and my MONEY, and My Sugar Daddy, and my MONEY and I forgive him because he gots da MONEY!!

      December 2, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • ProperVillain

      She is just trying to save face at this point. She probably found out he was a sicko kiddie-lover and doesn't want to publicly admit it. In a way I feel sorry for her. Of course I'm sure the millions of dollars she will receive from fleecing the church with her husband in the divorce settlement will help ease the pain...

      December 2, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
  15. Diana Murphy


    December 2, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • werthrough


      December 2, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  16. Regis990

    What is Eddie Long wearing in that picture? He looks like Blofeld in "You Only Live Twice". Is he giving his sermon from a secret volcano hideout?

    December 2, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • Mom


      December 2, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • Chipperkeet

      Don't type $h!t like that when I'm sipping my Dr. Pepper!! Now I gotta find some paper towels to wipe down the screen...

      December 2, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • werthrough

      Still has the geri curl thing goin on too LOL!!!

      December 2, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  17. PInolera

    LOL. She is bailing out before the money runs out. She is going to get everything she can get now. Don't blame her. Get your money and run!

    December 2, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  18. Robert

    I I am not throwing stones but the reality is when Christian leaders fall publicly for whatever reason, it turns more and more people away from considering Christianity as a viable alternative to whatever else they are hoping in. I hope the allegations are not true but if they are for the name of God Almighty please step down in humility and brokenness.

    December 2, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • Eddie Hurley

      you have to have a real before you can have a false there is a true pastor and christian but the life not many people wants because they have to give the world. you will not find a real on TV they tell people what they want to hear it makes people fill good the word of God cuts the hide off you

      December 2, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • mike

      u must be a white guy.......eddie long is gay...he's been hiding it for years....now that the truth has come out (so to speak) the wheels are commin off...plain and simple.

      December 2, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  19. D

    He definitely has something on her, or she's just stupid. You don't file for divorce and then hours later change your mind.

    December 2, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
  20. Yeshua

    When you smell someone elses fart, the farticles actually become part of you.

    December 2, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • VLaw

      Well said bro!-Very Well said!!

      December 2, 2011 at 2:57 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.