Star quits Hillsong after pastor’s affair shame
Former Hillsong devotee Selena Gomez has quit the megachurch amid cheating celebrity pastor Carl Lentz's highly public fall from grace.
The Daily Telegraph can reveal the Lose You To Love Me singer has turned her back on Australia's most powerful Pentecostal church after four years espousing her love for the movement and its founders, Brian Houston and his family, to whom she had grown inextricably close.
The American star, 28, is said to have become "bitterly disillusioned" with the church since her break up with singer Justin Bieber, who introduced her to the flock.
But she became more disillusioned recently since once close friend and mentor Carl Lentz was sacked as head of Hillsong's New York congregation over his affair with fashioner designer Ranin Karim.
"At one stage she adored Carl ... she, Brian, his daughter Laura and Justin were a team, really close, she used to hang out with Brian's daughter-in-law Esther, now she doesn't want anything to do with Hillsong anymore," an insider told The Daily Telegraph.
"Selena considers herself a Christian, she says she has a close relationship with God and she believes this is not how God wants us to operate, she's disillusioned.
"She doesn't identify with Hillsong any longer."
Lentz and his Sydney-born wife Laura were sacked by Houston last month after the revelation of his five-month affair with fashion designer Ranin Karim.
They met in a park in New York and embarked on a torrid alcohol-fuelled romance for five months until Lentz's wife Laura discovered texts between them on his icloud at work.
While he has relocated with his family to LA away from temptation to undergo therapy and rebuild his marriage, Gomez is focusing on her career.
In 2015 she was seen on Esther's Snapchat celebrating Laura Lentz's birthday in New York.
A year later she was spotted taking time out from her Revival tour in Sydney to surprise Houston's granddaughter who turned six at a Hillsong church.
Earlier that same year she welcomed fans at the Young & Free Revival concert when she sang an original worship song Nobody for the first time.
Two years ago she was seen at a Hillsong colour conference at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre.
She no longer follows Esther, Brian Houston's daughter Laura Toggs and daughter-in-law Lucille Houston on social media.
Hillsong did not return requests for comment over the rift while Gomez's representative at Universal said they had been asked "Not to comment."
The faith factory relies on worshippers donating 10 per cent of their salary in tithes and A-listers boosting its popularity among the youth.
It has attracted numerous A-listers like Vanessa Hudgens, Hailey Baldwin, and Kendall and Kylie Jenner, earning it a reputation as the celebrity church du jour.
Hillsong is exploding in popularity in Australia raking in $96 million in tax-free revenue from its operations last year.
Originally published as Gomez quits Hillsong after star pastor's affair shame