HOUSTON – Lakewood Church says senior worship leader Israel Houghton is still “part of the Lakewood family” and he has not been fired.
Tabloid reports claimed Houghton was fired after allegedly cheating on his wife of 20 years with former Cheetah Girls member Adrienne Bailon.
“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,” Lakewood Church said Thursday in a statement.
The six-time Grammy winner denied the rumors about Bailon in a Facebook post Tuesday.
He said he met Bailon two years ago while working together and they became friends.
"From a Friendship, as two single adults we have very recently begun to explore a dating relationship,” Houghton posted on Facebook.
Houghton just announced in February that his marriage to ex-wife Meleasa had failed. But he said the marriage actually ended five years ago.
"It seems to be simple math that I had not even yet met Adrienne during the time my marriage was falling apart,” Houghton posted.
The singer and songwriter said it’s unfair to allow Bailon to “carry the burden, blame & shame” of something she had nothing to do with.
"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,” Houghton said.
Houghton, who admits he “failed and sinned” during his 20-year-marriage, won a 2016 Grammy for Best Gospel Album. He’s won several other Grammys and Dove Awards with his band “Israel and the New Breed.
(© 2016 KHOU)