Influential televangelist Marcus Lamb revealed on Tuesday that he had an affair several years ago.
He and his wife, Joni, who are founders of Daystar Television Network, made the announcement during the "Celebration" TV program. The couple decided to tell the public about the affair after three people threatened to take the story to the media if Daystar didn't pay them $7.5 million.
"They're trying to take our pain and turn it to their gain," said Marcus Lamb during the live broadcast, as reported by The Associated Press. "We're not going to take God's money to keep from being humiliated."
The three individuals who tried to extort millions of dollars from the couple were not involved in nor affected by the affair, the couple said.
According to Joni, the relationship between her husband and another woman was an emotional one that then became "improper."
After the Lord convinced her that Marcus was "worth fighting for," the couple began a process of repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation and restoration through pastoral counseling and personal accountability.
Joni told viewers that the affair was not a secret they were hiding but rather a personal matter from which they have been privately healing, at the recommendation of their spiritual counselors.
"Joni and Marcus chose to reveal their story – not to excuse a sin, but rather to celebrate the victory of God’s grace and redemptive purpose in their lives," a statement on Daystar.com reads.
"This has resulted in an expanded ministry vision focusing on marriage restoration among other couples and families, which they have already been facilitating one-on-one among friends."
The Lambs began their career in television ministry in 1985. After gaining recognition, they went on to start Daystar Television Network. Currently, Daystar operates over 70 television stations in major markets across the United States. Its U.S. audience grew from 63 million to 80 million homes last year and it broadcasts to over 200 countries.
Along with co-hosting the daily "Celebration" program, Marcus Lamb travels around the world on a regular basis, preaching.
Marcus and Joni reside in Dallas with their three children, Jonathan, Rachel and Rebecca.