Home Christian News ‘I’m Changing’—Carl Lentz Discusses Affair, Addictions, Childhood Sex Abuse Following Return to...

‘I’m Changing’—Carl Lentz Discusses Affair, Addictions, Childhood Sex Abuse Following Return to Spotlight

Carl Lentz Nightline
Screengrab via YouTube / @ABC News

Former Hillsong New York Pastor Carl Lentz is back in the spotlight, promoting his new “Lights On” podcast in more than one recent interview. 

The first three episodes of the podcast are available now. In each episode, Lentz appears alongside his wife, Laura, to discuss the scandal that rocked their family and impacted the lives of many. The third episode also features Lentz’s children, who offer their perspective on all that has transpired. 

Prior to his roughly four-year hiatus from public life, Lentz was one of the most popular pastors in the country, regularly rubbing shoulders with celebrities and professional athletes. But in 2020, he was dismissed from Hillsong after admitting to an extramarital affair. 

Later, allegations of spiritual and sexual abuse were levied against Lentz. He has denied that these allegations are true. No legal action against Lentz has resulted from the allegations. 

Now, Lentz is telling his story through his podcast on the B-Side network, which was founded by rapper Lecrae, singer Michelle Williams, and Pastor Tim Ross. Lentz has made recent appearances on ABC News’ “Nightline” and the “Breakfast Club radio program to promote the podcast. 

In an interview released on June 5 with ABC News anchor Byron Pitts, Lentz described himself as “a broken guy that had some serious flaws that I could function with for a long time.” 

“Until [I] couldn’t,” he added. 

Pitts asked Lentz, “Why couldn’t you keep it in your pants and keep it in control?”

“Well, that wasn’t the primary thing that got me in trouble,” Lentz responded. “It wasn’t a sexual thing. It’s not like I was out looking to have sex or looking to commit adultery.”

He continued, “I had deep brokenness that manifested itself in a lot of different ways.”

“Sex addiction is never about sex,” he said later in the interview. “It’s about trauma, and it’s about what trauma produces. And sometimes it manifests itself in a sexual situation.”

Lentz revealed that he was molested as a young child, an experience he said “altered my brain chemistry, altered my habits, altered my view of sex.”

“And from that age till as long as I can remember, I had habits of secrecy and hiding and high risk-taking that I could never explain,” Lentz said. 

“Do you want to change?” Pitts asked, to which Lentz replied, “I’m changing.”

When pressed about how many extramarital affairs he had, Lentz declined to give a number. 

“I’m definitely not going to get into numbers,” he said. “It was more than one and more than I, you know, got caught for. But Laura’s been through too much. My kids have been through too much. And I don’t feel like it helps anything. But it definitely was not an isolated incident.”

Lentz recounted the day he was confronted by two of his staff members and was forced to tell Laura that he had been “unfaithful.”

RELATED: ‘I Don’t Identify as the Disgraced Former Pastor’—Carl Lentz Reflects on Scandals in New Podcast

“The sounds, the tears in that moment were the most painful thing in my memory,” he said. “Nobody deserves that, you know? So I’m forever sad about that.”