Worship leader, songwriter and producer Israel Houghton has been placed on 'indefinite leave' last month from his five-year position as worship leader at Joel Osteen's Texas megachurch. A reprepresentative for Lakewood Church in Houston confirmed that Houghton is no longer with the church after the singer's divorce in February amid adultery rumours.
Last month, Houghton announced on Facebook that he and his wife of more than 20 years Meleasa has been divorced. The 44-year-old stated that he and Meleasa had been separated for a long time before officially ending their marriage, and revealed that his infidelity five years ago was to blame for the split.
Singer and actress Adrienne Bailon began dating Israel after his divorce was made official earlier this year, and the duo were spotted kissing during their romantic Mexican getaway.The pair were friends before they became romantically involved. She also appeared in the 2013 movie I'm In Love with A Church Girl, which Israel produced.
However, fans have been suspecting if Bailon was the cause of Houghton's divorce. In a lengthy Facebook entry, Houghton silences such rumors. "I understand that gossip and salacious untrue speculative stories are far more interesting and entertaining than the truth & facts. But, it's incredibly unfair to allow someone to carry the burden, blame & shame of something they had nothing to do with," he writes in a lengthy post.
The musician goes on to say that he met Adrienne two years ago while working on the film, I'm in Love With a Church Girl. "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," the 44-year-old explains. "I had not even yet met Adrienne during the time my marriage was falling apart."
Houghton has served as worship leader for the Promise Keepers and Champions for Christ events, as well as the Hillsong Conference 2006-10, and Hillsong Conference Europe 2008-10. Israel currently serves as a worship leader (alongside Cindy Cruse-Ratcliff, Steve Crawford and Da'dra Crawford-Greathouse) at Lakewood Church in Houston, pastored by Joel Osteen. Houghton is also the producer of Darlene Zschech's latest worship albumRevealing Jesus.