Amid cheating allegations, Adrienne Bailon’s new boyfriend, Israel Houghton, has reportedly been axed as an official member of Joel Osteen’s mega church in Lakewood, Texas.
According to Radar Online, Israel has been a minister at the mega church since 2011 but his profile mysteriously vanished from the church’s website. A representative for the church has stated that Israel is no longer a part of the church after he announced his divorce after 20 years of marriage to wife Meleasa.
Adding to the situation, the quick pairing between Israel and The Real host, Adrienne Bailon, has caused some to believe that she is the other woman that has caused the marital split between Israel and Meleasa.
Fox News reports that only a month after announcing the end of his 20-year marriage, Israel has been spotted getting cozy alongside Adrienne while at the Dreams resort in Tulum, Mexico; although, he was reportedly still wearing his wedding band.
A report stated that Adrienne was “livid” that pictures from their vacation getaway made their way online as she was trying to keep their relationship out of the spotlight for now. But Israel was quick to respond to any rumors that Adrienne was the downfall of his marriage. The gospel star, 44, took to Facebook to defend Adrienne’s name.
“I met Adrienne Bailon a bit over 2 years ago, we worked together & became friends…” referring to the set of the film I’m in Love with a Church Girl. “Our circles connected & we remained good friends. From a friendship, as two single adults we have very recently begun to explore a dating relationship,” he wrote, according to Us Weekly. “As I previously wrote in a statement I released a while back, My marriage had been over for quite some time before going public with my divorce announcement.”
Israel also mentioned that his marriage began to fall apart five years ago and at the time he hadn’t yet met Adrienne. He also expressed his concern about how Adrienne was dragged into the cheating rumors. He calls her a “woman of integrity & character,” adding that, “Most of all she is a true friend, and she should not be blamed for my past indiscretions.”
As for Adrienne, she is also coming off a recent breakup with Lenny Santiago. The longtime couple got engaged in February 2015 but called things off in September.
But while Israel was quick to defend the new woman in his life, the minister left out any comments about where he stands with Joel Osteen and the church. However, despite a church rep saying he isn’t a part of the fold, a rep for Israel says that Israel has taken “a personal sabbatical of his choosing” and is still with the church.
The rep also added, “Lakewood Church is not at liberty to discuss publicly any details regarding Israel’s personal situation, but stands ready to provide Israel with spiritual counseling and guidance should he choose to seek it.”
While the church hasn’t officially made an announcement about their current status with Israel, Radar Online recently spoke with a receptionist at the Lakewood facility. The receptionist was asked if Israel still preached at the church and she replied with, “certainly.”
As Israel has taken to social media to express his marital woes, some have been quick to criticize the minister. “Several years ago, I failed and sinned in my marriage,” he wrote, but afterwards deleted. “Though this is new to many, it is not new to us as we have been working through this for over 5 years.”
Despite his honesty and openness, Israel’s comment section filled with bible verses about sin and adultery. In response to this, Israel wrote, “I have repented for my actions.”
Tell us! Do you think Joel Osteen had the right to suspend Israel Houghton? Let us know in the comments below.
[Image via Lakewood Church]