Friday, 6 November 2020

EXCLUSIVE: Hillsong pastor Carl Lentz is spotted in tense talk with wife of 17 years after admitting to cheating - marking the first time Justin Bieber's spiritual leader has been seen since getting fired for 'moral failures'

 Hillsong pastor Carl Lentz was spotted having a tense conversation with his wife of 17 years, shortly before he announced to the world he had cheated on her and revealed his infidelity was the reason for his firing, exclusive DailyMail.com photos show. 

The 41-year-old father-of-three looked dejected on Thursday in New York City as he sat on his $2,000 e-bike and fiddled with his diet coke and snack while his wife Laura Lentz stood above him with her arms crossed.

At one point she seemed to fidget with her left hand, as her wedding ring could not be seen and it was unclear if she was still wearing it. 

Hours later, Lentz would release a statement that confessed to cheating on Laura, writing in an Instagram post: 'I was unfaithful in my marriage, the most important relationship in my life and held accountable for that.' 

The confession came just one day after it was revealed that Lentz, who co-founded the New York City branch of the Australian celebrity-loved mega-church back in 2010, had been fired by the organization's leader Brian Houston, who accused the pastor of 'moral failures' and 'breaches of trust' in a statement. 

Lentz rose to notoriety after baptizing his close friend Justin Bieber in 2014 and serving as a relationship counselor for the popstar and his ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez.   

Hillsong pastor Carl Lentz was spotted having a tense conversation with his wife of 17 years, shortly before he announced to the world he had cheated on her and revealed his infidelity was the reason for his firing, exclusive DailyMail.com photos show

Hillsong pastor Carl Lentz was spotted having a tense conversation with his wife of 17 years, shortly before he announced to the world he had cheated on her and revealed his infidelity was the reason for his firing, exclusive DailyMail.com photos show

The 41-year-old father-of-three looked dejected on Thursday in New York City as he sat on his $2,000 e-bike and fiddled with his diet coke and snack while his wife Laura Lentz, 42, stood above him with her arms crossed

The 41-year-old father-of-three looked dejected on Thursday in New York City as he sat on his $2,000 e-bike and fiddled with his diet coke and snack while his wife Laura Lentz, 42, stood above him with her arms crossed

At one point she seemed to fidget with her left hand, as her wedding ring could not be seen and it was unclear if she was still wearing it

At one point she seemed to fidget with her left hand, as her wedding ring could not be seen and it was unclear if she was still wearing it

Lentz managed a tight smile as he was seen for the first time since being fired from Hillsong for cheating on his wife

Lentz managed a tight smile as he was seen for the first time since being fired from Hillsong for cheating on his wife

Hours later, Lentz would release a statement that confessed to cheating on Laura, writing in an Instagram post: 'I was unfaithful in my marriage, the most important relationship in my life and held accountable for that.'  The couple have three children together: daughters Ava, 16, and Charlie, 14, and a son, Roman

Hours later, Lentz would release a statement that confessed to cheating on Laura, writing in an Instagram post: 'I was unfaithful in my marriage, the most important relationship in my life and held accountable for that.'  The couple have three children together: daughters Ava, 16, and Charlie, 14, and a son, Roman

The sighting comes as popular Instagram account Deux Moi posted an unconfirmed rumor that Lentz had been hooking up with a popular New York City-based podcaster. 

When DailyMail.com contacted the woman referenced in the post asking for a comment on the alleged affair, she refused to comment on the matter. 

The woman has written stories about Lentz, posted how she wanted to meet him and he also took a visit to her well-known company's office in recent years.  They both follow each other on Instagram. The woman also follows Lentz’s wife, but his wife does not follow her back.

On Thursday afternoon, Lentz was dressed in athletic black tights, a plaid jacket, a baseball cap and his signature eyeglasses. 

He sat on his bike, often with his head held down, during the brief tense conversation with Laura, who was dressed in a black hoodie and sweatpants.  

After the short conversation, Lentz headed out on a bike ride. When he returned, he seemed in much better spirits and was grinning. 

Just hours later he would release his statement, saying: 'This failure is on me, and me alone and I take full responsibility for my actions.'

Lentz hinted that he and Laura, whom he married in 2003 after meeting her while studying at the Hillsong International Leadership College in Sydney, Australia, will attempt to work through his infidelity, writing that he is focusing on 'rebuilding trust' with her and their three kids.   

'[I am] taking real time to work on and heal my own life and seek out the help that I need,' he continued.

'...We, the Lentz family, don’t know what this next chapter will look like, but we will walk into it together very hopeful and grateful for the grace of God.' 

On Thursday afternoon, Lentz was dressed in athletic black tights, a plaid jacket, a baseball cap and his signature eyeglasses.

On Thursday afternoon, Lentz was dressed in athletic black tights, a plaid jacket, a baseball cap and his signature eyeglasses.

After the short conversation, Lentz headed out on a bike ride. When he returned, he seemed in much better spirits and was grinning

After the short conversation, Lentz headed out on a bike ride. When he returned, he seemed in much better spirits and was grinning

Carl Lentz became well-known after his relationship to Justin Bieber came to light, famously baptizing him
Lentz was spotted out on Thursday on his bike

Carl Lentz became well-known after his relationship to Justin Bieber came to light, famously baptizing him. He was spotted out on Thursday on his bike

Just hours later he would release his statement, saying: 'This failure is on me, and me alone and I take full responsibility for my actions'
Just hours later he would release his statement, saying: 'This failure is on me, and me alone and I take full responsibility for my actions'

Just hours later he would release his statement, saying: 'This failure is on me, and me alone and I take full responsibility for my actions'

Lentz hinted that he and Laura, whom he married in 2003 after meeting her while studying at the Hillsong International Leadership College in Sydney, Australia, will attempt to work through his infidelity, writing that he is focusing on 'rebuilding trust' with her and their three kids

Lentz hinted that he and Laura, whom he married in 2003 after meeting her while studying at the Hillsong International Leadership College in Sydney, Australia, will attempt to work through his infidelity, writing that he is focusing on 'rebuilding trust' with her and their three kids


The pastor, who was born in Virginia Beach, did not share any further details about his infidelity, only pointing to the fact that his behavior had not 'honored the church... and God'. 

'When you accept the calling of being a pastor, you must live in such a way that it honors the mandate. That it honors the church, and that it honors God,' he wrote. 'When that does not happen, a change needs to be made and has been made in this case to ensure that standard is upheld.' 

 Lentz's wife Laura has not yet commented publicly on the scandal; she last uploaded a post to her Instagram on October 28, sharing an image of a 'rhythms for life' planner and journal, alongside which she commented: '2020 has been quite the year...' 

On Wednesday, Hillsong leader Brian Houston announced the bombshell news that Lentz had been fired.  

'This action has been taken following ongoing discussions in relation to leadership issues and breaches of trust, plus a recent revelation of moral failures,' Houston revealed.

But he claimed it would 'not be appropriate' to share more details of Lentz's alleged offences. 

Houston added that this course of action was 'not taken lightly and was done in the best interests of everyone, including Pastor Carl'.

 In his official statement, Houston paid tribute to Lentz and his wife, noting that they have 'served faithfully and sacrificially'. 

'They have a heart for people and we are confident that after a time of rest and restoration, God will use Carl in another way outside of Hillsong church,' the statement continued. 

'In terminating his tenure, we in no way want to diminish the good work he did here.

'It would not be appropriate for us to go into detail about the events that led to this decision. Our focus at this time is to honor God and pastorally care for our East Coast church community as well as the Lentz family.

Lentz, who is close friends with Justin Bieber (pictured in 2017) and even baptized the popstar in 2014, made his confession one day after he was sensationally sacked by Hillsong's founder

Lentz, who is close friends with Justin Bieber (pictured in 2017) and even baptized the popstar in 2014, made his confession one day after he was sensationally sacked by Hillsong's founder

Lentz is understood to have first met Bieber back in 2008, when the popstar was just 14 years old, and the two formed a close friendship, with Lentz serving as a mentor for the singer

Lentz is understood to have first met Bieber back in 2008, when the popstar was just 14 years old, and the two formed a close friendship, with Lentz serving as a mentor for the singer

The 41-year-old, who married wife Laura in 2003, after meeting her through the mega-church, was accused of 'breaches of trust' and 'moral failures' in a statement issued by Hillsong

The 41-year-old, who married wife Laura in 2003, after meeting her through the mega-church, was accused of 'breaches of trust' and 'moral failures' in a statement issued by Hillsong

'...While I have no doubt that this is the right course of action, I must mention Bobbie's and my personal sadness, as we have known Laura her entire life and Carl for well over 20 years.' 

 In his letter sent to Hillsong East Coast members, which was obtained by Instagram account Deux Moi, Houston admitted that people may still have questions about Lentz's dismissal, and urged them to email the mega-church's leadership team with any queries. 

'But as sudden as this feels to us, we must remember that it's not a shock to God, who birthed Hillsong NYC and already has planned for this time,' he continued, before revealing that the church has not yet found a replacement for the fired pastor.  

Lentz first began working with Hillsong in Australia after relocating there from Los Angeles, where he spent time studying at The King's College and Seminary. 

The father-of-three rose quickly within Hillsong's ranks and formed a close friendship with Houston and his son Joel while training at the church's International Leadership College in Sydney, where he met his wife, Laura. 

In 2010, he moved back to the US in order to co-found the New York City chapter of Hillsong, which soon amassed a major celebrity following, with Lentz preaching to the likes of Bieber, Selena Gomez, Hailey Bieber, and several NBA stars including Carmelo Anthony, David Lee, Kevin Durant, and Jeremy Lin.

However it was Lentz's close relationship with Bieber, now 26, that gained him the most notoriety, particularly after it was revealed that the popstar had been baptized by the pastor in 2014, and even moved in with Lentz and his wife for six weeks in the same year. 

Speaking to the GQ in 2015, Lentz - who first met Bieber in 2008, when the singer was just 14 - recalled the moment Bieber got down on his knees, 'ravaged by loss' and sobbed, telling the pastor: 'I want to know Jesus'.  

Speaking out: Hillsong founder Brian Houston shared the news with church members in a letter sent on Wednesday (pictured). A similar statement was issued publicly later that day

Speaking out: Hillsong founder Brian Houston shared the news with church members in a letter sent on Wednesday (pictured). A similar statement was issued publicly later that day

Bieber formed a very close relationship with the pastor (seen together in Australia), who counselled the star and ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez when they rekindled their romance in 2017

Bieber formed a very close relationship with the pastor (seen together in Australia), who counselled the star and ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez when they rekindled their romance in 2017 

Now a father-of-three, Lentz has previously said that he and Bieber (pictured together with Lil Wayne) are 'regular friends who talk all the time'

Now a father-of-three, Lentz has previously said that he and Bieber (pictured together with Lil Wayne) are 'regular friends who talk all the time'


According to the magazine account, the baptism finished with Bieber 'wet and sobbing against Pastor Carl's chest... born anew'. 

It played a central role in transforming Bieber's image from a partying ladies' man to a clean-cut Christian devotee. 

His wife, Hailey Bieber, is also a believer, and the two are frequently spotted in church together. 

In 2017, it was reported by People that Lentz had been enlisted by Bieber and his ex-girlfriend Gomez to offer spiritual guidance and counselling about their relationship after they briefly rekindled their romance. 

Lentz's celebrity connections and close friendship with Bieber have helped him to become something of a star in his own right, skyrocketing him to prominence on Instagram, where he boasts more than 679,000 followers.   

His sudden firing therefore sparked a flurry of speculation on social media, with many calling for Hillsong to reveal more information about Lentz's alleged offences. 

Lentz revealed in March that he had tested positive for COVID-19, having sparked outrage just days earlier by holding a 200-person Hillsong NYC service, despite churches at the time being discouraged to hold large in-person meetings in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus. 

It is not known how many attendees may have been infected, nor how many people were tested for the virus after the service - which was also broadcast to church members at home - took place. 

Hillsong, which describes itself as a 'contemporary Christian church' was first founded by Houston in Australia in 1983, and it was originally known as the Hills Christian Life Centre.  

The mega-church now boasts locations in 21 countries around the world, including the US, UK, Indonesia, and Israel. It has 28 locations across Australia in places like New South Wales, Queensland, and Tasmania. 

According to Hillsong's website, the church boasts an 'average global attendance' of 150,000 every week - however this number has likely been altered, and perhaps increased, as a result of the church moving its services online amid the coronavirus pandemic.    

Biking Buddies! Justin Bieber rides his bike with pastor Carl
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Lentz documented the moment Bieber got down on his knees, 'ravaged by loss' and sobbed: 'I want to know Jesus'. Pictured with Lentz's son

Lentz documented the moment Bieber got down on his knees, 'ravaged by loss' and sobbed: 'I want to know Jesus'. Pictured with Lentz's son

Bieber's wife, Hailey Baldwin, is also a believer, and are frequently spotted in church together

Bieber's wife, Hailey Baldwin, is also a believer, and are frequently spotted in church together

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