In a new documentary series called “The Secrets of Hillsong,” former pastor Carl Lentz, once known for his close relationship with Justin Bieber, opens up about his cheating scandal. The series explores the scandals within the famous megachurch and includes interviews with Carl and his wife Laura since their departure from Hillsong Church in 2020.
Carl played a significant role in establishing Hillsong’s branch in New York City and gained fame through the church’s success. However, he was eventually expelled due to “moral failures” and confessed to being unfaithful in his marriage.
The documentary shows Carl expressing his nervousness about how his actions will be portrayed. He admits to carrying major lies and secrets for years, acknowledging the breach of trust he caused for his wife and thousands of people who looked up to him.
The scandal unfolded when incriminating text messages from Carl to a woman named Ranin Karim were discovered by Hillsong leadership. Karim later revealed herself as his alleged mistress in an interview with Vanity Fair. Carl recalls the difficulty of facing his wife and the devastating impact his infidelity had on her.
During a Zoom call with board members and church founder Brian Houston, Carl’s relationship with the family’s nanny, Leona Kimes, was discussed. Laura, Carl’s wife, was unaware of this aspect of the affair. She had suspected something was happening and eventually found them in a compromising position, leading to anger and a sense of betrayal.
Following the Zoom call, Carl was fired from Hillsong in November 2020. Months later, Kimes came forward with allegations of sexual and emotional abuse by the ousted pastor, which Carl denied.
The documentary also reveals that Carl experienced sexual abuse as a child by a family friend, a traumatic experience he had never spoken about before. He expresses his exhaustion from the damage caused and his commitment to making amends for his actions.
In a statement, the Lentzs’ attorney denies the allegations and claims to have proof that the events described by Kimes did not occur as she stated.
Carl shares that participating in the documentary is part of their healing process. He expresses his dedication to fighting for his wife and children and seeking sobriety and healing. The couple remains together and recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have moved on to a new supportive church, but Carl is no longer preaching.