Gospel artist Israel Houghton hopped onto social media and denied claims that he was fired from Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church because he was allegedly cheating on his wife with The Real co-host Adrienne Bailon, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Reports from earlier this week said that Houghton had been given the pink slip by the megachurch because of his alleged infidelity. But Houghton said that his marriage had been over for some time before he and his wife publicly revealed their plans to divorce, and before he started to date Bailon.
"[I]t's incredibly unfair to allow someone to carry the burden, blame & shame of something they had nothing to do with … 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 wrote on Facebook.
"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," he continued.
Houghton also tweeted a link to a report from KHOU that quotes Lakewood's official statement, issued Thursday, indicating that Houghton has not been fired but is on "indefinite leave":
We can confirm that Israel is on indefinite leave, but it is important to clarify that we still consider Israel to be a part of the Lakewood family and that his employment has not been terminated.
Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele is a staff writer at The Root and the founder and executive producer of Lectures to Beats, a Web series that features video interviews with scarily insightful people. Follow Lectures to Beats on Facebook and Twitter.