There’s a new televangelist soap opera.
The 57-year-old Hinn, who began his preaching career at a church hall near Yonge and Bloor Streets in the 1970s, is best known for his faith-healing “Miracle Crusades” and his half-hour television show, This is Your Day.
White, 44, is the star of television’s Paula White Today, whose ministries reputedly pulled in $40 million in donations and sales of various goods in 2006.
In February, Hinn’s wife Suzanne filed for divorce, citing “irreconcilable differences.” The two were at that point living apart.
But in a broadcast shortly after Suzanne filed for divorce, Hinn said it had come as a “total shock.”
“The children and I never expected this to happen,” he said. “Divorce was the last thing on my mind and theirs.
“There was absolutely no immorality involved in my life or in Suzanne’s life, ever,” Hinn continued. “We were totally committed to each other for 30 years of marriage.”
They have four children.
Suzanne Hinn, nee Hathern, is also an evangelical preacher in her own right, whose Florida-based ministry goes by the name of Purifying Fire International. She once famously told her followers that if they couldn’t work up enough religious fervour, they needed a “Holy Ghost enema.”
According to reports, Hinn and White have been friends for decades.
White was a self-proclaimed “messed-up Mississippi girl” growing up in Tupelo. Her father committed suicide when she was 5, and White’s website says she suffered “sexual and physical abuse” up until she was 13. White says her life changed when at 18 she received a “divine visitation.”
By 1991, she and then-husband Randy White were founding their own mega-church in Tampa.
The couple announced their divorce in 2007, after the church came under fire to failing to repay $170,000 borrowed from an elderly widow. The money, originally borrowed in 1995, was used as down payment on a house.
Randy stayed on with the ministry, now called Without Walls International Church.
Last year, however, Paula returned to that church’s pulpit, replacing Randy, who resigned citing ill health. At her first sermon, White told the congregants: “Mama is back.”