Just two weeks after celebrity pastor Carl Lentz was fired from Hillsong Church, a woman has come forward claiming she had an affair with the disgraced figure.
Ranin Karim, a 34-year-old jewelry designer, told Vanity Fair in an interview posted on Tuesday, Nov. 17 that she met Lentz in May and after seeing his statement confessing to being unfaithful in his marriage, she felt she needed to speak up.
"I know what I got myself into, but at the same time I wanted to do the right thing and walk, walk away," she told the magazine. "I am not a monster."
Karim told Vanity Fair that Lentz initially told her he "managed celebrities" for his job and when he suggested they meet again, he recommended she not Google him. (Nonetheless, she did.) Soon, they began a romance with Karim—a divorcee—telling Vanity Fair that he once called her a "unicorn alien woman, whom I'm forever glad I met!"
Come September, however, she tried to end her courtship with Lentz and that in October, he told her his wife had discovered their relationship. As she told the publication, she recalled him saying, "My life is over. I don't know what's going to happen. If my wife is going to forgive me." She said Lentz told her he intended to resign from Hillsong admitting through text, "I have and will only have nothing but love for you," she quoted him to the outlet.
Today, she regrets her actions. "I really wish I never met him," she confessed. "I told him that many times because it was just, just like, what's the point?" E! News has reached out to Lentz and Hillsong for comment but has yet to hear back.
On Nov. 4, Hillsong Church Global Senior Pastor Brian Houston confirmed Lentz was fired from the celebrity-beloved megachurch. "This action has been taken following ongoing discussions in relation to leadership issues and breaches of trust," he wrote in a statement at the time, "plus a recent revelation of moral failures."
The following day, Lentz broke his silence, sharing a picture on Instagram. "I was unfaithful in my marriage, the most important relationship in my life and held accountable for that," he wrote. "This failure is on me, and me alone and I take full responsibility for my actions." He added that he now begins "a journey of rebuilding trust" with his wife, Laura, and their three children, Charlie, Ava and Roman.
"I am deeply sorry for breaking the trust of many people who we have loved serving and understand that this news can be very hard and confusing for people to hear and process," Lentz continued. "I would have liked to say this with my voice, to you, in person because you are owed that. But that opportunity I will not have," he said. "So to those people, I pray you can forgive me and that over time I can live a life where trust is earned again."
Despite the scandal, Lentz and his wife, who have been married for 17 years, are putting up a united front. The two were photographed walking with their children in Los Angeles on Sunday, Nov. 15.