A New York Muslim designer and actress has claimed to be in a relationship with former Hillsong NYC Pastor Carl Lentz, who was fired from the church last week.
The 34-year-old woman, identified as Ranin, said she had no idea Lentz was a popular Christian minister and decided to speak out because she was greatly hurt after he told his followers about his infidelity. Ranin said that she and Lentz were in a relationship for more than five months before last week's break up.
Hillsong fired Lentz last week for "leadership issues and breaches of trust, plus a recent revelation of moral failures." Lentz took to Instagram acknowledging that he had cheated on his wife.
"There was another person on the other side of his statement that got hurt," said Ranin, saying the Instagram post about Lentz's firing was "offensive" because it implied that they "just had a fling."
"I wasn't there for just sex, we both found comfort and a deep, special connection with each other. I am very hurt because we both feel the same way about each other," said Ranin. "He loves me, and I love him. It was a love relationship that wasn't planned. It wasn't just a fling or just a sexual relationship."
Ranin said that Lentz approached her in May at Domino Park in Brooklyn, New York.
"I have no knowledge of the Christian world; I'm Muslim," Ranin said, claiming she had no idea he was a celebrity pastor when they met. "He told me the most beautiful women come from the Middle East, and we kept talking from there. We walked and talked more for a little bit and exchanged numbers."
Lentz allegedly would not share his last name with Ranin and said "that his job was as a sports agent." Ranin also claims that he waited until later on in their relationship to tell her that he was married.
"He said he had absolutely never strayed outside of his marriage before and was feeling guilty. But he told me that when he met me, God told him to tell me that I need to know my worth and there's something special about me … whatever, whatever," she said.
Lentz wrote about his firing and infidelity in an Instagram post.
"When you lead out of an empty place, you make choices that have real consequences," he wrote. "I was unfaithful in my marriage, the most important relationship in my life and held accountable for that. This failure is on me, and me alone and I take full responsibility for my actions."