Carl Lentz, senior pastor Hillsong Church
Carl Lentz, the senior pastor of Hillsong Church in New York City visits iHeart Now at Z100 Studio to talk with Elvis Duran on November 20, 2017 in New York City. Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images


  • Carl Lentz and his wife Laura opened up about his infidelity in "The Secrets of Hillsong"
  • In the FX documentary, Carl admitted that he had major lies and secrets for years
  • Carl admitted to an inappropriate relationship in his household but denied any notion of abuse

Carl Lentz got candid about his controversy in a new documentary.

Carl and his wife Laura opened up about his cheating scandal in FX's new documentary "The Secrets of Hillsong." In the first episode of the four-part series, which premieres Friday, footage from one sermon was featured where he called his wife the "love of his life."

At one point, he began crying as he talked about his infidelity.

"I had some major lies and secrets I was carrying for years," he admitted while acknowledging the power dynamics at play in his transgressions, People reported. "If you are led by somebody, you have to trust them. One of the biggest [mistakes] of my life was that breach of trust for thousands of people, especially my wife, my children."

In the second episode, he admitted to cheating on his wife by allowing an "inappropriate relationship" to develop in his household. He was romantically linked to his family nanny, Leona Kimes, who was also a church member.

"I am responsible for allowing an inappropriate relationship to develop in my house with someone that worked for us," he noted but denied that "any notion of abuse is categorically false."

He added, "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."

Carl was fired from Hillsong in November 2020. Six months later, Kimes penned an essay published on Medium detailing her side of the story. She didn't name Carl, but she spoke about being "subjected to manipulation, control, bullying, abuse of power, and sexual abuse."

According to her, the abuse of power started small by increasing her hours of service. She started working from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. The sexual abuse also allegedly started small, with the pastor giving her compliments for looking good, which made her uncomfortable until he allegedly started touching her.

"He would frequently say things like, 'you trust me, right?' or 'I'll always have your back,' or 'I'll never let you down.' I felt like he was testing my loyalty, and it made it even more difficult for me to reconcile all that was happening. If I would bring up a small concern, I was made to feel ungrateful or, worse, disloyal," she wrote.

In a previous statement to People, Laura and Carl vehemently denied the allegations and said they have "irrefutable proof the events did not happen as Leona Kimes has described."

In the documentary, Carl admitted that he "thought about vacating the planet." He also alleged being sexually abused as a child by a family friend, which he had never spoken about before.

"I'm tired of this damage, I'm tired of this wreckage, I'm tired of putting people I love through pain," he said. "I did those things, those are on me, I take responsibility for those. The rest of my life, I'll be making amends where I can. And it's also my job to go figure out how the hell that happened."

"The Secrets of Hillsong" episodes 1-2 premiere on FX on Friday and will be available to stream on Hulu the following day. Episodes 3-4 will premiere on May 26.

Hillsong pastor Carl Lentz
Carl Lentz, the senior pastor of Hillsong Church in New York City visits iHeart Now at Z100 Studio on November 20, 2017 in New York City. Getty Images/Slaven Vlasic