Vanessa Long is divorcing her husband, Bishop Eddie Long. The first lady of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church says her marriage is “irretrievably broken” with “no hope for reconciliation.”
But the charismatic bishop who took the reigns of New Birth with its 300 members in 1987—and built it into a megachurch with more than 8,000 members by 1992 and 25,000 members today—isn’t giving up on his marriage.
"Vanessa is, and has always been, a loving, dedicated and committed wife and mother," Bishop Long said in a statement Friday night. "My love for her is deep and unwavering. It remains our sincere desire to continue working together in seeking God’s will in these circumstances."
Long’s divorce announcement was the first major public revelation from the wife of the bishop, who was accused by four young men of sexual improprieties earlier this year. Long appeared to be standing with her husband despite rumors of separation in June. The Longs were married in 1990. They have three children together and one from Long's previous marriage.
Long appears ready to fight for his marriage. This would be his second divorce. He married Dabara S. Houston in 1981 only to separate within a couple of years. He filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Long's first wife alleged she was the victim of “cruel treatment” and claimed she feared Bishop Long’s “violent and vicious temper” after he filed for divorce. The Journal-Constitution cited Fulton County Superior Court records, which also said Houston and her son “had to flee [the couple’s Fairburn home] in order to ensure their safety.”
New Birth was not immediately available for comment.
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