OK, who slipped the Kool-Aid to Vanessa Long? Hours after releasing a statement to the media that she had filed for divorce from megachurch minister Bishop Eddie L. Long, Vanessa Long emailed a retraction to the media: “Upon prayerful reflection, I have reconsidered and plan to withdraw my petition for divorce from my husband, Bishop Eddie L. Long,” she said in an emailed statement bearing the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church logo. “I love my husband. I believe in him and admire his strength and courage.”
Um, right. Let’s recap, shall we?
This morning, rolling out and several other media outlets, including CNN, reported that Bishop Eddie L. Long’s wife, Vanessa, had filed for divorce.
Here is her original statement to the media: “After a great deal of deliberation and prayer, I have decided to terminate my marriage to Bishop Eddie L. Long. Accordingly, I authorized my attorneys to file for divorce on December 1, 2011,” 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 famiy, 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.”
That the situation was resolved expeditiously is an understatement.
It’s been a tumultuous year for Bishop Long, his family and his church. The proverbial ish hit the fan in the fall of 2010, when four young men accused the senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in suburban Atlanta of sexual coercion. In lawsuits filed by Anthony Flagg, Jamal Parris, Maurice Robinson and Spencer LeGrande, the young men alleged that Long showered them with money, gifts, trips and attention, all in an effort to entice them into sexual relationships. The lawsuits were settled for an undisclosed sum in May of this year.
While the dissolution of any marriage is regretful and sad, this abrupt about-face by Vanessa Long is perhaps more surprising than her original course of action. Still, we do wish her well, whatever her final decision is.
Update: The divorce is back on, according to Vanessa Long’s attorneys. Stay tuned as the story continues to develop.