Coming from very humble beginnings, Israel Houghton managed to use the hurdles of his childhood to become one of the most well-known Contemporary Christian Music artists the genre has ever seen. With heart-pouring songs such as “Friend of God,” “Not Forgotten,” and “Again I Say Rejoice,” along with a host of others, his achievements include six Grammy awards, two Stellar awards, and 11 Dove awards.
With a mic and a guitar, Houghton spent many years as the worship leader for the biggest church in America, Lakewood Church, led by Pastor Joel Osteen and home to over 50,000 weekly attendees.
After an incredibly-successful gospel music and ministry career spanning nearly 20 years, the beginning of 2016 was a very tough year for Houghton. Shockingly, Houghton, 45, announced that his marriage with wife Meleasa is dissolving, and that he has not been faithful.
In February, Houghton announced that the two were no longer going to be together, and the marriage was indeed ending, according to Christian Post.
“It is with a collective heavy heart that we announce that after over 20 years of marriage and a long separation, Meleasa and I are officially divorced. Several years ago I failed and sinned in my marriage,” he revealed. “Though this is new to many, it is not new to us as we have been working through this for over 5 years. Although we tried, the challenges in our relationship have proven too much to overcome.”
He also stated that the two would keep an amicable relationship for the sake of their three children.
“…for the sake of our amazing kids, we are also handling this privately with pastoral oversight and assistance. We choose to remain friendly and kind to each other going forward. I am in the process of restoration and I have repented for my actions.”
His now ex-wife confirms this statement, based on still showing love to him as a father, via Instagram.
It came as a shock to many that Houghton almost immediately commenced a relationship with singer, actress, and star of The Real, Adrienne Bailon. Interestingly, Bailon, 33, was also in a serious relationship for most of 2015, being engaged to Roc Nation music label executive Lenny Santiago from February to September.
Israel stated in a Facebook post that he and Adrienne met a few years ago, and became friends. He also stated that, at the time of the post, they commenced a dating relationship. This was just one month after his divorce.
“I met Adrienne Bailon a bit over 2 years ago, we worked together & became friends… Our circles connected & we remained good friends. From a friendship, as two single adults we have very recently begun to explore a dating relationship.”
Houghton did work with Bailon in 2013, as he was the executive producer in the movie I’m in Love with a Church Girl, starring Bailon and hip hop artist Ja Rule.
Neither Houghton, nor Bailon, have stated that they were romantically involved while in other relationships. However, after just eight months of dating, the two are now married.
According to People Magazine, Bailon stated that it all started from a kiss while both were at a party.
“My friend told me, ‘You have to kiss him. You can just be friends, but you’ll know if it’s meant to be more the moment you kiss him.’ And now we’re getting married, so you can see how that kiss went.”
Houghton described the engagement in a recent episode of The Real, stating that Bailon is a “once in a lifetime woman.”
Now, the world is introduced to Mr. and Mrs. Israel Houghton, as they tied the knot this weekend in Paris, France.
— YBF CHIC (@TheYBF) November 12, 2016
Typically, there would be a great deal of reservations regarding two people, who were both in very serious relationships with other people just a year ago, to make such a lifelong decision. Additionally, with Houghton being married with three children, and experiencing a tough divorce. Seemingly, there would be a time of healing to take place, with Houghton getting some wise counsel from leaders of the ministry he attends.
However, he divorced, dated, got engaged, and remarried all within one year. She also broke off her engagement, dated, got engaged, and married all within about a year.
Perhaps this process was a bit too soon. Hopefully, this small amount of time does not affect their relationship, and they truly live happily ever after.
[Featured Image by Dan Steinberg/Invision for Talent Resources/AP Images]