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Celebrity Hillsong pastor Carl Lentz’s alleged lover tells all

Married celebrity pastor Carl Lentz’s life came crashing down around him this month after the star-studded megachurch Hillsong fired the 42-year-old father for what was initially only referred to as “a recent revelation of moral failures”. The day after Hillsong’s founding pastors announced the news to the global Hillsong community, Lentz offered further specification of…

Married celebrity pastor Carl Lentz’s life came crashing down around him this month after the star-studded megachurch Hillsong fired the 42-year-old father for what was initially only referred to as “a recent revelation of moral failures”.

The day after Hillsong’s founding pastors announced the news to the global Hillsong community, Lentz offered further specification of his misdeeds in an Instagram post: He had cheated on the mother of his three children, wife of 17 years and fellow minister, Laura Lentz.

Now, his former girlfriend has spoken to the New York Postabout their fiery, five-month pandemic romance and the hypocrisy of a man who she said was unable to practice what he preached.

“I’m here to tell the truth,” NYC-based fashion designer Ranin, 34, told the Post, “and maybe by doing that, other people will have the courage to speak up too.”

Lentz has not responded to the Post’s request for comment.

The Palestinian beauty, 34, said she met Lentz on a Friday in May, at Williamsburg’s Domino Park. Ranin was with her dog, looking for somewhere to sit when Lentz offered her his circle. They got to talking. They left the park together.

“I was telling him everything,” she said. “I thought he’s single, he’s a good-looking man, why not?”

They parted ways, but he took her number – in the Notes application on his iPhone, not as a saved contact. “That, for me, was a red flag,” she said.

The next day he asked her to save him a circle in the park, she claimed. “When I saw him, he asked me so many questions,” she said. Lentz, who famously baptised and was close friends with Justin Bieber, repeatedly told her that he worked with celebrities. She asked if he was married. He said yes. “I still didn’t know who he was,” she added.

After he left, she paid an app to do a background check based on his phone number. “Everything came out,” she said. “It hit me so hard.

“He was like a drug to me. I was a drug to him.”

She realised she’d once met him, almost a decade prior when, following her divorce, a friend of hers had taken her to the Hillsong Church in Manhattan. “I wasn’t really paying attention but I saw a glimpse of him,” said Ranin, who is Muslim but “very open to whatever,” and would attend church with her ex-husband’s family while they were married.

“I was like damn, this is the guy from the church I saw seven years ago.”

On Sunday that same weekend, he came to her house, she claimed, and they drank tequila and talked for hours. “We were sitting and he asked if he could put his hand on my thigh,” she said. “It was awkward, he didn’t know how to act at first. He was timid, acting like he was a virgin.”

He allegedly told her “the most beautiful women come from the Middle East”.

They began texting and FaceTiming constantly, she claimed, deluging each other with videos and digital communication.

“We started to develop feelings for each other,” she said, claiming they were seeing each other roughly every other week – always at her home, never at his.

They’d drink tequila – so much tequila, she said – talk (although not about Christianity) and argue constantly. “I leave him on read all the time ’cause he p**ses me off,” she said.

He’d allegedly talk about how “amazing” his wife was and the guilt he felt about what he was doing to his family.

“He kept saying that we didn’t plan this, that this is life and we fell into it,” she said.

They repeatedly ended things.

“I kept walking away,” she said, but “he never knew how to say bye.”

She said he called her his “Middle Eastern unicorn woman” and told her she reminded him of his friends, the Kardashians, which bothered her. “I don’t like when people drop names,” she said, noting that she used to work bottle service in Manhattan and has celebrity friends, too.

“He’s a professional narcissist” and “lies too much,” she added.

In September, they began seeing each other more, often twice a week. “We were obsessed with each other,” she said. “He was like a drug to me. I was a drug to him.”

Then, over the course of one weekend, his wife – and then his job – saw their texts. “All his messages are linked from the iCloud,” she said, and somebody from Hillsong saw them on his computer. “He’s not really a good cheater.”

Even after he was fired, they continued speaking – up until a final exchange this past Thursday, following his Instagram post.

“My life is over,’” he said, alleged Ranin. “I usually am the one who is helping couples who are cheating, and now I’m in their shoes.”

In retrospect, Ranin said their relationship was likely a product of the pandemic – “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.”

She also suggested he might be having a midlife crisis and going on a “self-sabotaging journey” by way of getting into a “fiery relationship” after spending so much of his life in a “stagnant relationship” and a “strict place”.

While they both made mistakes, she acknowledged, “people like him shouldn’t preach” or drink so much. “There’s no deepness there,” she said of Hillsong – which reportedly has more than 150,000 members. “It seems like it’s a cult.”

Now that she has come forward with her story, she expects others may follow.

“I’m waiting to see if anyone else will speak up,” she said.

This article originally appeared in the New York Post and was reproduced with permission

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