We finally know who Carl Lentz cheated on his wife with. Ranin Karim, a 34-year-old fashion and jewelry designer, stepped forward on Tuesday, November 17, as the disgraced pastor’s mistress, just two weeks after he was fired from his role at Hillsong Church.
ICYMI, Justin Bieber’s pastor confessed to being unfaithful to his wife of 17 years in an Instagram post on November 5. His admission came hours after he was fired from Hillsong Church’s NYC branch. The founder of the celeb-favorite megachurch, Brian Houston, claimed in a statement to PEOPLE that Pastor Lentz, 36, had displayed “breaches of trust” and “moral failures” leading to his termination. While Lentz confirmed those “moral failures” to be a case of infidelity, followers are still learning more about the details of his affair—especially now that the woman who Carl Lentz cheated on his wife with, Ranin Karim, has spoken up.
In an interview with Vanity Fair on Tuesday, November 17, the divorcée claimed that her affair with the pastor lasted six months, from May to November 2020. She reportedly met Lentz at Domino Park in Brooklyn, which grew especially popular during New York City’s lockdown as the only park to plaster socially-distanced white chalk circles on its astroturf every six feet. One afternoon in May, Karim was looking for an empty space to sit when the “hypepriest” gestured for her to join him. Karim says he vaguely told her he “managed celebrities” for work, and after settling on a date, he recommended that she not try to Google him. “That, for me, was a red flag,” Karim told The New York Post in a separate interview. She did, anyway, finding out that Lentz was a celebrity-beloved pastor.
“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 VF. “I am not a monster.” The designer claims to have attempted to end the relationship multiple times, but Lentz kept coming back.
Karim explained to the Post, “We were obsessed with each other. He was like a drug to me. I was a drug to him.” Their relationship continued until November 5, the day Lentz formally revealed his infidelity to the world. But Karim says his wife found out about their affair earlier in October, as per VF. “My life is over. I don’t know what’s going to happen. If my wife is going to forgive me,” she recalled Lentz saying to her. He later texted, “I have and will only have nothing but love for you.”
Karim went so far as to reveal to The Sun that it wasn’t just Lentz who was in love. “He loves me and I love him. It was a love relationship that wasn’t planned,” she said. “It wasn’t just a fling or just a sexual relationship.”