Justin Bieber's former pastor Carl Lentz addresses affairs in 'Secrets of Hillsong' doc

 From preacher to pariah.

Carl Lentz, who as the minister of Hillsong NYC once had the ear of celebrities like Justin and Hailey Bieber and Selena Gomez, resurfaces in FX’s new four-part docuseries "The Secrets of Hillsong," his first interview since his 2020 ouster for extramarital affairs. The series (first two episodes stream on Hulu Saturday, the final two air May 26 (10 EDT/PDT) and stream the next day) covers the Lentz scandal and allegations of sexual misconduct by Hillsong co-founder Brian Houston and his late father, pastor Frank Houston. (Brian is on trial in Sydney, accused of concealing his father’s abuse. A verdict is expected in June.)

Lentz first appears in the final minutes of the “Secrets” premiere. Here are the biggest revelations about the former pastor from the docuseries’ first two episodes, his thoughts on the doc and where he and his wife, Laura, – who says she was forced to resign as co-pastor by the church – stand today.

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Carl Lentz addresses affairs: ‘I developed a pattern of secrecy’

Lentz and Laura wed on May 5, 2003, when they were in their 20s. “You kind of think at that stage, getting married is going to fix a lot of the issues in your heart, like your desire to have sex, your desire for other people," he says in the documentary.

Lentz, 44, says that after a family friend sexually abused him when he was young and discouraged him from telling anyone, he “developed a pattern of secrecy” that shaped his views of relationships and sex.

In October 2020, Hillsong's leaders learned of inappropriate text messages Lentz sent to a woman named Ranin Karim. Lentz also confessed on a Zoom call with the church that he had an affair with Leona Kimes, a former pastor of Hillsong Boston and nanny to Lentz's three children.

Kimes accused Lentz of sexual abuse and abuse of power in an essay published by Medium in 2021. While Lentz admits in the docuseries that he “failed absolutely miserably” as Kimes’ boss, he denies their relationship was non-consensual. “I am responsible for allowing an inappropriate relationship to develop in my house with someone that worked for us,” he says. “Any notion of abuse is categorically false. There were mutual adult decisions made by two people who lied profusely, mainly to my wife.”

Carl Lentz,former Hillsong pastor who baptized Justin Bieber, accused of sexual abuse

Laura Lentz in "The Secrets of Hillsong."

Laura Lentz reacts to Carl’s cheating: ‘My whole world, it crashed’

Moments before learning of her husband’s infidelity, Laura says she knew something was wrong. “As soon as he shut the door and I saw his face … my heart just dropped,” she says. “I didn’t know what he was gonna say, but when he did, my whole world, it crashed.”

Laura says she suspected something was going on between Lentz and Kimes. Laura says Kimes was "always" at the Lentz home, leading Kimes to neglect her own family.

“One night I found them in a compromising position,” Laura says. “I know I’m seeing something that is not right. I ran into the room, and I shoved Carl and hit him, and then I jumped on top of her and I punched her. I may have broken my pinkie finger. Something came over me, and I was angry, and I definitely freaked out.”

Kimes denied the affair and remained a staple in the Lentz home, Laura says. “I was pretty much gaslit by both of them for quite a while,” Laura says. Carl confirmed the affair on the Zoom call with Hillsong.

What Carl Lentz says about 'The Secrets of Hillsong': ‘We focus on my mistakes’

Lentz addressed his family’s decision to participate in the docuseries in an Instagram post on May 9.

“Part of the healing from that heartache led us to the decision to be a part of a documentary that we do not control, that we don’t have any say in and that we haven’t even seen yet,” he wrote in a statement. “We’ll see it when the world does. We were not interested in blame shifting or responsibility deflection; we focus on my mistakes and the context for what transpired.”

Carl Lentz, former pastor of Hillsong's church in New York City

Carl and Laura’s relationship is now ‘in a beautiful, happy and deliberately honest place’

The couple celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary this month, and earlier this year they moved from Florida to Oklahoma, where Lentz has recently taken a job as a strategist at Transformation Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

In his Instagram post, Lentz said he has spent the last three years “fighting for my wife and my kids, my family has been my only priority. In order to do that, seeking sobriety and healing had to run parallel with those goals… All I wanted was to prove to my wife and kids that I could show up for them like I had never done before. Although we have a long way to go, with a lot of work, a lot of honesty and a lot of prayer, we have found ourselves in a beautiful, happy and deliberately honest place.

In her own Instagram post in September, Laura acknowledged “there are many that don’t or would never do what I chose to do, and that’s ok, it’s not for everyone!! … But I am so proud of my husband & for the responsibility he’s taken! Mostly I’m grateful for a man who humbled himself & didn’t try to defend himself, he has kept quiet (publicly) and he has remained focused on the one thing that matters most ― our family!”

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