It’s now been revealed that Justin Bieber’s Hillsong pastor Carl Lentz was fired for cheating on his wife. The pastor, who was a close friend and spiritual advisor to Bieber and other A-listers, took to Instagram to confirm that he was terminated from his position at Hillsong NYC, the East Coast branch of the celeb-favorite mega-church, after being “unfaithful” to his wife of 17 years.
“Our time at HillsongNYC has come to an end,” Lentz began in the caption of a photo of himself, wife Laura, and their three children. The pastor went on to write a lengthy message addressing the reason for his firing, after an October 5 statement by Hillsong Church’s founder Brian Houston claimed the pastor had displayed “breaches of trust” and “moral failures” leading to his termination, via PEOPLE. Now, we know exactly what those “moral failures” were.
After years of running the NYC chapter of the megachurch, Lentz claims he “did not do an adequate job of protecting [his] own spirit, refilling [his] own soul and reaching out for the readily available help that is available.” This left him to “lead out of an empty place,” which caused the pastor to make “choices that have real and painful consequences.” Choices like infidelity, that is.
“I was unfaithful in my marriage, the most important relationship in my life and held accountable for that,” Lentz finally revealed. “This failure is on me, and me alone and I take full responsibility for my actions. I now begin a journey of rebuilding trust with my wife, Laura and my children and taking real time to work on and heal my own life and seek out the help that I need.”
The pastor went on to apologize for breaking his followers’ trust and promised he’d pray for their forgiveness. He also thanked Hillsong’s leadership for his time with the church. “To our pastors Brian and Bobbie,” he wrote, “thank you for allowing us to lead, allowing us to thrive and giving us room to have a voice that you have never stifled or tried to silence. Thank you for your grace and kindness especially in this season, as you have done so much to protect and love us through this.”
Throughout Lentz’s career, the pastor was known for being beloved by celebrities—and among them was Justin Bieber. Lentz and Bieber had an especially close relationship when, at one point in 2014, the signer literally moved in with Lentz and his family. “This boy is 21. He’s in a horribly toxic world,” Lentz told GQ in a profile of the pop star at the time. “He is trying to do his best to figure this out. He has never been anybody but who he has professed to be, which is a work in progress.”
Bieber has yet to comment on Lentz’s termination at the time of writing.