“Ladies, back in December of 2011, I was in the middle of a storm and I got off the ship,” Vanessa Long said while fighting back tears as she addressed a women’s fellowship at the Atlanta-based mega church her husband, Bishop Eddie Long pastors.
“As much as I love my husband, my family, my New Birth family. I couldn’t take another minute pretending that I was okay. It was an incredibly difficult decision to make and it was equally hard to come back because I felt like I failed the very people that needed me to be their strength,” revealed Long with reference to the divorce petition twice filed —and subsequently dismissed—by her against her then estranged husband.
“Then I realized that the best thing I could do was to let you see me as a woman, just like you,” she said as the crowd erupted as the congregants rose in a moving standing ovation. “A woman capable of making good decisions and a woman capable of making bad decisions. God causes everything to work together for good. “Instead of condemning myself, I can use what happened as an opportunity to minister myself to someone else going through a storm.”
Words from New Birth Missionary Baptist Church’s First Lady were a long time coming — nearly two years to the month after four male minors filed lawsuits, citing sexual misconduct, against her husband in September 2010. Nine months later, Bishop Long would settle with four of five accusers out of court. Details of the settlement were not released.
The mother of three, who has been married to her husband for 23 years, stated earlier this year that she loved her husband and that they had mutually agreed to heal their marriage.