LOS ANGELES (LALATE) – Vanessa Long (photo above) has found a new birth in her marriage to Bishop Eddie Long. Vanessa Long for the most part remained silent during the turmoil at New Birth last year. Long would defend her husband against accusations and a lawsuit. Bishop Eddie Long’s settlement eventually cost an alleged $15 million. And while Bishop Eddie swiftly settled his case in less than one year, today Vanessa Long settled her divorce dispute in less than twenty-four hours.
A year ago a billboard was appearing across highways near Vanessa Long’s home. It featured the message “LOVE, LIVE, LEAD LIKE HIM” next to a flexing Eddie Long appearing without his hairpiece but in a form-fitting shirt. That message has caused confusion and controversy for local residents. But today, Vanessa Long told news that the criticism from the news media over the years has been a strain on her marriage.
On Thursday, Vanessa Long chose no longer to live with Eddie. She divorced him on December 1. Today, Vanessa Long told news she had a change of heart. Vanessa would not detail why she so changed her mind so quickly.
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The billboard prompted backlash last fall. “I wouldn’t do the way he is doing like he is doing like….” said one resident when interviewed by WTVM. The resident thought the use of a billboard campaign during a scandal was highly inappropriate. “Love Live Lead Like Him? I can’t see it.”
Vanessa Long said that the critical glare of the news media has been hard. Bishop Eddie Long also refused to comment on the case. However, his representatives were constantly given news statements denying the accusations.
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Eddie Long had said “I am not going to try this case in the media, it will be tried in the court of justice and decided in the court of justice.”
And while Vanessa Long is critical of news coverage of her husband, his ministry has been the recipient of federal funds. In 2004, Long’s ministry received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Administration of Children & Families under the Bush Administration. What was the money for? Bill Pierce, a spokesperson for the Health & Human Services office, said at the time that Eddie Long’s organization received the money as a faith-based, “individual development account” grant.
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Long was eventually sued in 2010 not just for alleged acts against multiple young males, but also for alleged handling of funds. The complaint said “Defendant Long uses monetary funds from the accounts of Defendant New Birth and Defendant Longfellows … to entice the chosen Spiritual Sons with cars, clothes, jewelry and electronics.” It added that “Defendant Long’s Spiritual Songs are taken on public and private jets to U.S. and international destinations house in luxury hotels and given access to numerous celebrities including entertainment stars and politicians.”
Vanessa Long says she has withdrawn her divorce petition and is back with her husband. She does not confirm if she will appear at services this weekend as well.