Carl Lentz, a friend of Justin Bieber and a celebrity pastor at Hillsong Church in Manhattan, has been fired for cheating on his wife of 17 years.
Lentz’s five-month-long affair was discovered by his wife and his co-workers within the same weekend. Carl’s wife Laura saw all of his messages to his mistress on his phone, and his co-workers saw the same messages on his work computer at the church office because it was linked to his phone. In the words of his mistress, Ranin, 34, “He’s not really a good cheater.”
Lentz was fired from Hillsong Church on Wednesday, November 4. He had been instrumental in opening the Manhattan branch of the Australian megachurch in 2010.
Lentz posted on Instagram the following day: “Over the years I did not do an adequate job of protecting my own spirit, refilling my own soul and reaching out for the readily available help that is available. When you lead out of an empty place, you make choices that have real and painful consequences. I was unfaithful in my marriage, the most important relationship in my life and held accountable for that. This failure is on me, and me alone and I take full responsibility for my actions.”
Lentz claims he is trying to repair his marriage, saying, “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.”
He also apologized to the Hillsong congregation: “I am deeply sorry for breaking the trust of many people who we have loved serving and understand that this news can be very hard and confusing for people to hear and process. I would have liked to say this with my voice, to you, in person because you are owed that. But that opportunity I will not have. So to those people, I pray you can forgive me and that over time I can live a life where trust is earned again.”
Lentz has since lost Hailey Bieber as a follower on Instagram, even though he has been a friend to Justin for years, baptized Justin in 2015, officiated at their September 2019 wedding, and is reportedly staying at Bieber’s NYC apartment. Justin himself has not commented on the situation.
Lentz’s mistress, an NYC designer of Palestinian descent who identified herself as Ranin, has spoken with multiple news outlets about their affair. According to Ranin, she met Lentz on a Friday in May, at Domino Park in Williamsburg.
Ranin claims Lentz complimented her, saying, “He told me the most beautiful women come from the Middle East and we kept talking from there. We walked and talked more for a little bit and exchanged numbers.”
“He told me his name was Carl but that’s it, he wouldn’t tell me his last name. And he told me that his job was as a sports agent,” Ranin claimed.
“He didn’t tell me that he was married at first, he doesn’t wear a ring. A few dates in, I had a feeling something was up so I asked him if he was married. And he admitted that yes, he had been for 17 years and has three kids.”
Even though Ranin knew he was married, the two allegedly continued their affair, seeing each other multiple times a week.
“We were obsessed with each other,” Ranin said. “He was like a drug to me. I was a drug to him.”
Ranin claims she tried to end it with Lentz multiple times, as she hadn’t wanted to start an affair. She claims she told Lentz, "‘I wish I never met you at the park.’ I would tell him I want nothing to do with him, but he would keep coming back despite me telling him to leave me alone. Every time I said I’m done, he would come back and pursue me. He was always the one who pursued me.”
Ranin also commented that their affair was likely influenced by the pandemic and the lockdowns. “He hadn’t been doing anything for so many months, he hadn’t been onstage, what else was going on in his life? He needed to do something that would excite him.”
While both Ranin and Lentz made poor choices, Ranin stated, “People like him shouldn’t preach.”