"Former leader of Hillsong New York, Carl Lentz, has taken to Instagram to celebrate his wife Laura's birthday, thanking her for "upholding their family when he could not."
Lentz was dismissed by Hillsong in 2020, after he admitted to an "inappropriate relationship" with the family nanny, Leona Kimes.
To his 597,000 followers, Lentz wrote: "To watch my wife weather these storms of life the past few years has been inspiring. It would have been so easy and understandable for her to have walked out and ended our marriage. Yet she chose the harder road. She was the heartbeat of our church, was and is above reproach throughout every aspect of her life, a steady and consistent friend for anybody who's ever leaned on her."
"She gave me a kind and firm ultimatum and told me she believes I can change and heal. That kept me going when I couldn't see the light ever coming through the clouds. Those clouds have broken, we are on our feet, and I don't take for granted that I get to celebrate this birthday as her husband. Thank you, Laura, for holding our family together when I could not. I'm grateful for how you have trusted God, and I love you. Happy birthday!"
A year after his departure, in an article on Medium, Kimes alleged that she had been sexually and emotionally abused by the "lead pastors" of Hillsong NYC.
Lentz has "categorically" denied any "notion of abuse" but has admitted to having an "inappropriate relationship" with her.
Speaking in The Secrets of Hillsong documentary, he said: "I am responsible for allowing an inappropriate relationship to develop in my house with someone that worked for us."
"There were mutual adult decisions made by two people who lied profusely, mainly to my wife. It's an issue because I was a boss. This person was an employee. I'm responsible for that power dynamic and the management of it and the wisdom that goes with it, and I failed absolutely miserably," he continued.
Lentz also used the post to defend his wife from allegations that she had been complicit in his misbehavior and leadership failures.
"I've read and heard things over these years about whether my wife was 'complicit' or 'did she know' about the choices I made, some even fabricated lies about her. That answer is No."