The infamous now-disgraced ex-pastor at the head of uber-popular celeb church Hillsong is speaking out. And his wife is, too.
Perezcious readers will no doubt recall the sordid story of Carl Lentz. The 44-year-old true believer helped get Hillsong’s New York City branch running waaaay back in 2010. Then, he rose to quick and lasting fame as one of the megachurch’s most visible pastors worldwide in the years after. He hung out with Justin Bieber, he was the ultimate cool youth pastor.
But it all came crashing down after he admitted to “moral failures” and being “unfaithful” in his marriage to wife Laura Lentz amid a jaw-dropping 2020 scandal. Now, everyone involved is addressing where it went wrong in a new documentary.
Set to debut on Friday, FX is releasing their much-anticipated docuseries The Secrets Of Hillsong. In the first two episodes of the series, Laura takes center stage. As you may recall from our reporting last April, she was at the center of a very specific moment in the controversy where she allegedly punched the family’s nanny, identified as Leona Kimes, after catching the woman and Carl together in the Lentz family home.
While being interviewed for the FX series’ second episode, Laura first recalled her experiences with learning about Carl’s repeated infidelity with Kimes. The mother and wife recoiled at the shock of being told she was being cheated on back in 2020:
“It was October 25, I remember that day. Carl was like, ‘hey, can I talk to you for a second?’ As soon as he shut the door, my heart just dropped. He basically said, ‘I’ve been unfaithful to you.’”
Carl also recalled that moment in this new interview, adding:
“There are some things that you can recover from. There’s other things that I’ll never recover from. Just the sound of her voice, the kind of cry that she had was like no other cry I’ve ever heard. Nobody should go through that, especially a wife that is flawless in character. I told her the best I could at that time and at that time I wasn’t even fully honest. She wasn’t mad, she was just so broken. People who have walked through infidelity know what I’m talking about right now.”
Laura also recalled how Hillsong’s founder Brian Houston (who was also ousted due to sexual misconduct complaints), and the church’s other board members, questioned Carl about his relationship with Leona during a Zoom call in the fall of 2020. Laura explained:
“They asked Carl about Leona. He hadn’t told me this part yet.”
Carl’s wife went on to say how Leona was “always” at the family home, busy helping around the house and taking care of the couple’s children. She was even there with them for Christmas day!
Still, before having the infidelity confirmed, Laura already couldn’t shake the feeling that something was going on. That is, until one night, when she found Carl and Leona in “a compromising position” together:
“I’d sometimes get these little feelings. And then one night I found them in a compromising position.”
Wow. She actually walked in on them having sex?! She then confirmed one of the wildest things we’d heard about the cheating scandal — that the woman scorned turned around and assaulted the nanny whom she’d just found under her husband!
“I ran into the room and I shoved Carl and hit him and then I jumped on top of her and I punched her.”
Laura continued on in the FX sitdown, confirming the emotional upheaval as well as the physical altercation:
“Something came over me. I was angry and I definitely freaked out.”
At the time, she claimed, Leona “denied there was something going on” between her and Carl. And to make things even more awkward, Laura explained how they “never talked about it again.” Wait, she SAW them, and gurl still denied? Whoa.
Still, the damage was done. In the forthcoming new doc, Laura reveals:
“We were her pastors. We were her leaders. She was on staff. It got really messy. Instead of talking about it again, I would just stuff it down. I was in a really tormented place mentally. I don’t know what’s happening in my house anymore. I was pretty much gaslit by both of them for quite a while.”
Months after Carl was canned from Hillsong, Kimes came forward to assert she was sexually and emotionally abused by the pastor. Also new in the second episode of the FX series? Carl denies those allegations.
He did cop to the affair, though, finally! He says on camera:
“[I am responsible] for allowing an inappropriate relationship to develop in my house with someone that worked for us … but any notion of abuse is categorically false.”
And the disgraced former pastor continues:
“There were mutual adult decisions made by two people who lied profusely, mainly to my wife. It’s an issue because I was a boss, this person was an employee. I’m responsible for that power dynamic and the management of it and the wisdom that goes with it and I failed absolutely miserably.”
Yeah, no kidding… The question becomes now… is this man still hiding things? Just like he kept lying to his wife about the affair, is he just admitting to what he can’t hide and trying to cover up the worst of it?? Hmm…
Elsewhere in the documentary, Carl added more about his anxiety regarding being interviewed at all:
“I’m so nervous about how this is going to be portrayed, but I can’t control that. I had some major lies and secrets I was carrying for years. If you are led by somebody, you have to trust them. One of the biggest [mistakes] of my life was that breach of trust for thousands of people, especially my wife, my children.”
As the docuseries notes, Carl and Laura stayed together in the aftermath of the affair fallout. Shockingly. They recently celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary together!
You can see more in the Secrets Of Hillsong trailer released earlier this month (below):
Like we noted up top, the series debuts to the public this coming Friday, May 19. Will U be tuning in, Perezcious readers??
[Image via FX Networks/YouTube]