Justin Bieber and wife Hailey Baldwin are putting distance between themselves and former Hillsong megachurch pastor Carl Lentz. The couple both unfollowed Lentz on social media after Lentz confessed he had been unfaithful to his wife, Laura.
Lentz publicly disclosed his infidelity in an Instagram post after he was fired from Hillsong in early November for “moral failures.” The church has opened an independent investigation into the “inner workings” of the New York City branch, global senior pastor Brian Houston revealed in a tweet. The woman Lentz had an affair with, Ranin Karim, has also since come forward to describe their months-long affair, which began after a chance meeting at a Brooklyn park.
Lentz and the Hillsong church has attracted many celebrities, including singers, models and NBA stars, since Lentz launched the NYC branch in 2010. But Lentz was best known for his relationship with Bieber. The New York Post described Lentz as Bieber’s “spiritual guide” during a turbulent time in the singer’s life. In a 2016 interview, Lentz described to Oprah how he had baptized Bieber in NBA star Tyson Chandler’s bathtub.
Here’s what you need to know:
Carl Lentz Was Photographed Having a Tense Conversation With Wife Laura Outside Justin Bieber’s NYC Apartment the Day After His Termination From Hillsong
Lentz’s alleged mistress, Ranin Karim, told the Post that Lentz’s wife found out about their relationship after reading texts the two had exchanged. Lentz had synched his phone with an iCloud account and the messages showed up on his work computer. Other Hillsong workers may have also seen the messages, along with racy photos, the Sun reported.
Bieber may have initially reached out to Lentz after the pastor’s affair was exposed. The day after Hillsong announced Lentz’s termination, Lentz was photographed having what looked to be a tense conversation with Laura Lentz outside Bieber’s apartment in New York City. The Sun reported Lentz may have been staying at Bieber’s apartment but the singer has not confirmed it.
But if Bieber did offer Lentz any help, it appears that goodwill did not last long. As Vanity Fair pointed out, Baldwin was the first to stop following Lentz on Instagram. Beiber followed his wife’s lead a few days later.
The Biebers Were Close Friends With Laura Lentz But Have Unfollowed Her on Instagram as Well
Bieber and Baldwin also had a close relationship with Laura Lentz. The Sun cited a “source close to the Biebers” who said the couple had been stunned to learn of Lentz’s cheating.
According to the newspaper’s source, the Biebers decided to stay away from Carl Lentz out of loyalty to Laura. “Their heart is with her and their kids right now but they just feel sad about the whole situation.”
However, despite that sympathetic sentiment, Justin and Hailey Bieber appear to be distancing themselves from the entire Lentz family and are not getting involved in whatever happens next. The Daily Mail reported that the Biebers both unfollowed Laura Lentz on Instagram and she followed suit.
Laura Lentz has also been let go from Hillsong since her husband’s infidelity came to light. She met Carl Lentz at Hillsong College in Australia and they tied the knot in 2003. They have three children together.
Bieber & Lentz Had a ‘Falling Out’ in 2018, According to Reports
Bieber has credited Lentz for helping him through a challenging time in his life. Bieber explained to Vogue that by 2014, he was in a dark place in his personal life. He reflected during a 2019 interview, “I found myself doing things that I was so ashamed of, being super-promiscuous and stuff, and I think I used Xanax because I was so ashamed.”
Bieber moved in with Lentz and his family in New Jersey for a few weeks in what Vogue described as an “informal detox.” Bieber credited Lentz with helping him to get back on track and stop using drugs. Vogue reported Bieber also “interned” at Hillsong during this period.
But their friendship hit a rough patch a few years later. TMZ reported in July 2018 that Lentz and Bieber had had a “major falling out” but it was unclear at the time what their argument had been about.
But according to Page Six, Bieber may have felt “used” by Lentz for his fame. The outlet recently cited a source who claimed Bieber had abruptly stopped attending Hillsong services and had not been close with Lentz for more than a year. The source described Hillsong leaders as “opportunistic leaches. Carl ‘Hipster too cool for school’ is a total used car salesman type of guy.”
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