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Lakewood Church says Israel Houghton is on "indefinite leave"

Fri 25 Mar 2016
By Aaron James

Lakewood Church has said its worship leader Israel Houghton is now on "indefinite leave".

America's biggest church in Houston, Texas, which is led by pastor Joel Osteen, released a statement revealing their decision on Thursday after Mr Houghton admitted he had cheated on his wife of 20 years Meleasa earlier this year.

The couple have now divorced, and Israel Houghton is now dating singer and television personality Adrienne Bailon (below). They were seen together recently on a holiday in Mexico.



Mr Houghton had led worship at Lakewood Church for five years and had become internationally famous as a musician, picking up a Grammy for Best Gospel Artist and writing famous church hits such as Friend of God.

The church said: "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.

Israel Houghton said on Twitter that he still has a good relationship with Lakewood Church:


He also posted a longer message on Facebook saying about how his relationship with Adrienne Bailon developed.

The singer-songwriter said: "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.

"It deeply saddens me that an innocent party would be dragged into this situation that I have taken personal responsibility for. Adrienne is a woman of integrity & character...

"Most of all she is a true friend, and she should not be blamed for my past indiscretions."

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