Hillsong Founder Claims Carl Lentz Had Multiple Affairs in Leaked Audio Recording

Hillsong church founder Brian Houston claimed that fired celebrity pastor Carl Lentz actually had "more than one" extramarital affair, according to an audio recording obtained by Page Six.

By Lindsay Weinberg Dec 04, 2020 11:04 PMTags
Watch: Pastor Carl Lentz Admits to Infidelity After Hillsong Church Firing

The founder of Hillsong church is claiming that disgraced pastor Carl Lentz had "more than one" affair, according to an alleged audio recording obtained by Page Six

The leaked audio allegedly recorded a conversation between Hillsong Church Global Senior Pastor Brian Houston, church leaders and donors around Nov. 19. Houston told the execs that Lentz, the New York-based celebrity pastor, had multiple affairs, according to Page Six, which also reports that he is in talks to receive a severance package.

"A staff member found a very compromising chain of text messages on Carl's laptop... [We] drove right across town to talk to Carl and confront him and that was the beginning of the process we are at now," Houston allegedly said. "When we talk about an affair, these issues were more than one affair. They were significant. And at least some bad moral behavior had gone back historically, but not necessarily those affairs."

A History of Holiday Scandals

Both Page Six and The Daily Mail published the audio file, but have not explained how they received it. E! News has reached out to reps for Lentz and Hillsong for comment and have not heard back. 

Last month, Lentz was fired from the Australian church due to "moral failures," after he previously worked with stars including Justin Bieber.

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Lentz broke his silence on Nov. 5 to admit that he had cheated on his wife, Laura Lentz

"When you lead out of an empty place, you make choices that have real and painful consequences. I was unfaithful in my marriage, the most important relationship in my life and held accountable for that," the 41-year-old stated on Instagram. "This failure is on me, and me alone and I take full responsibility for my actions."

On Nov. 17, fashion designer Ranin Karim publicly shared her experience with Lentz, claiming she had an affair with the married religious leader after she met him in May.

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The New Yorker claimed that by October Lentz's wife had found out about his infidelity, and he told Karim, "My life is over. I don't know what's going to happen. If my wife is going to forgive me," according to her interview with Vanity Fair.

"I know what I got myself into, but at the same time I wanted to do the right thing and walk, walk away," Karim told the outlet. She added that she regrets the relationship and wishes she "never met him." 

But according to the new audio clip, Houston saw other problems with Lentz's behavior. "He was a difficult man to have any kind of direct conversation with because it was always defensive, it would always be put back on the other person, as though the other ones were the problem," he said.

Despite Lentz's admitted infidelity, Hillsong church has reportedly offered a payoff to the ex pastor. 

"We're working on a severance package which we're negotiating with them on," said Hillsong director George Aghajanian in the recording, per Page Six. "They haven't accepted that at this point in time."

Lentz has said that he plans to start a "journey of rebuilding trust" with his wife and three kids: CharlieAva and Roman.

Founded in 1983, Hillsong now has churches in 28 countries and 2.7 million followers on Instagram