Though the former pastor admitted to being “unfaithful” to his wife, Laura, in an extensive Instagram post, his mistress, Ranin Karim, is now sharing her side of things.
In a piece for Vanity Fair, Karim spoke about their five-month affair, saying the two were “obsessed” with each other. Karim acknowledged that Lentz told her he was married soon after they met, but offered very little about his job.
She recalled him telling her “you don’t have to google me,” during a conversation. Karim eventually did a reverse-phone-number search to find his last name.
“I know what I got myself into, but at the same time I wanted to do the right thing and walk, walk away,” Karim told Vanity Fair. “I am not a monster.” Karim goes on to say that she wishes she “never met him,” even though she admits she was in love with Lentz. “I told him that many times.”
Karim says that Lentz reached out to her after being fired from Hillsong, saying, “I have stepped down/been fired from the Church I gave my whole life to and it’s agonizing but I have to own that… I have and will only have nothing but love for you.”
Shortly after the church cut ties with Lentz, the holy roller set the record straight on his own social media account. “I am deeply sorry for breaking the trust of many people who we have loved serving and understand that this news can be very hard and confusing for people to hear and process,” he shared. “I would have liked to say this with my voice, to you, in person because you are owed that. But that opportunity I will not have. So to those people, I pray you can forgive me and that over time I can live a life where trust is earned again.”
Meanwhile, former Hillsong member Janice Lagata also voiced her feelings on Lentz, whom she described as a “narcissist” who is "annoying." She also said he was part of the larger problem within the organization.
“He was so spoiled," she told Vanity Fair. "So coddled, like the man couldn’t even drive himself anywhere. He wasn’t like this criminal mastermind. If this was ongoing behavior, somebody knew about it.”
Lentz was 20-years-old when he met Joel Houston, Hillsong founder Brian Houston's son. That is when he had the idea of opening a Hillsong campus in New York City. As the church grew in popularity, Lagata says that Lentz gained a reputation for “putting butts in seats.”
The former athlete attracted high-profile celebrities such as Kendall and Kylie Jenner to the organization. Most notably, Lentz was pals with singer Justin Bieber, whom he personally baptized in 2014.
Lentz notoriety made him a rising star alongside Hillsong, but Lagata says he eventually became “too big to be controlled.”