ATLANTA (WAOK/AJC)-It’s been an emotional roller coaster of a day for Bishop Eddie and Vanessa Long. Earlier today Mrs. Long released a statement that after “a great deal of deliberation and prayer”, she had decided to file for divorce from the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church preacher. Around noontime and more prayer, a change of heart lead Mrs. Long to issue a second statement sent through New Birth’s public relations firm, that she was withdrawing the divorce petition.
saying that she loved her husband. “I believe in him and admire his strength and courage,” she said in the second release.
Then this evening according to the AJC, the wife of the charismatic New Birth Missionary Baptist pastor had decided against withdrawing her petition for divorce filed late Thursday afternoon.
“Mrs. Long continues to hope that this matter may be resolved expeditiously, harmoniously and fairly; however, she has determined that dismissal of her divorce petition is not appropriate at this time,” Kilpatrick Townsend partner Michael W. Tyler said in a prepared statement.
“To avoid any undue confusion, Mrs. Long’s future statements, if any, will be issued through her attorneys,” he said. A spokesman for Kilpatrick Townsend refused further comment.
In the divorce filing, Vanessa Long, 53, said her marriage to the New Birth pastor was “irretrievably broken” and there was “no hope of reconciliation.” The couple has been in a “state of separation,” according to the petition.
“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.”
Vanessa Long has kept a low profile since the September 2010 lawsuit filed against her husband by former New Birth members Anthony Flagg, Spencer LeGrande, Jamal Parris, Maurice Robinson and Centinio Kemp alleging the bishop used his influence, trips, gifts and jobs to coerce them into sexual relationships.
This would be Bishop Long’s second divorce. His first wife, Dabara S. Houston, alleged she was the victim of “cruel treatment” and claimed she was afraid of her husband’s “violent and vicious temper,” according to Fulton County Superior Court records. She and her son “had to flee [the couple's Fairburn home] in order to ensure their safety,” the documents say.
Vanessa and Eddie Long have been married for 20 years.
More in this report from the AJC