Fired from Joel Osteen’s church? Israel Houghton addresses sacking rumours
Shortly after he broke the news about divorcing his wife and dating a younger woman, Grammy Award-winning worship leader Israel Houghton has refuted claims that he was fired from Joel Osteen’s church.
Through a post on his social media page, the Friend of God singer stated that he had not been sacked from Lakewood Church as some entertainment publications had reported.
Instead, the 44-year-old shared a link to a press release from the Texas-based mega church, stating that he was on “indefinite leave”.
“We can confirm that Israel is on indefinite leave, but it is important to clarify that we still consider Israel to be a part of the Lakewood family and that his employment has not been terminated,” Lakewood Church in a statement.
Houghton, who served as Lakewood Church’s senior worship leader, was quick to affirm that he has no hard feelings towards the church and Pastor Joel Osteen.
“I truly love Joel Osteen and my gracious Lakewood family,” he posted.
She was a friend, not a home-wrecker
In late February, the celebrated minister went public with the details of the fallout between him and his wife of 20 years, Meleasa Houghton.
He revealed that their marriage had been on the rocks for the past five years, and they had tried to patch things up but it could not work out because, “the challenges in our relationship have proven too much to overcome.”
In the announcement, the feted Christian leader said, “”I failed and sinned in my marriage…” – a statement that many interpreted as an admission of infidelity.
Shortly after this bombshell admission, the worship leader was spotted in Mexico holidaying with voluptuous actress Adrienne Bailon, effectively igniting rumours that she was the real cause of the split.
He was, however, quick to refute these claims saying: “My marriage had been over for quite some time before going public with my divorce announcement…from over 5 years prior…It seems to be simple math that I had not even yet met Adrienne during the time my marriage was falling apart.”
According to the embattled minister, reports linking Ms Bailonto his divorce were published because “gossip and salacious untrue speculative stories are far more interesting and entertaining than the truth & facts.”
He went on further to defend her honor saying, “Adrienne is a woman of integrity & character… Most of all she is a true friend, and she should not be blamed for my past indiscretions.”
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