Adrienne Bailon Defends Relationship With Israel Houghton: 'God Defines Who I Am'

Adrienne Bailon, one of the members of the pop music group "The Cheetah Girls", poses as she arrives for the world premiere of the animated film "Wall-E"in Los Angeles, California, June 21, 2008. | (Photo: Reuters/Fred Prouser)

Recording artist and TV host Adrienne Bailon is defending her relationship with recently divorced Grammy Award-winning gospel singer Israel Houghton, saying she doesn't owe anyone an explanation.

"It doesn't need an explanation. I know the truth and I think when you have friends and loved ones that know the truth, and you know that, God defines who I am, you know what I mean?" Bailon said on a recent episode of "The Real," where she is one of the hosts. "I think God knows my heart. God knows the situation and I think that I can rest in that."

She also addressed why the new couple did not announce their relationship sooner. Bailon maintained that since they are only dating, they are still just figuring things out.

Last month, Bailon, 32, was photographed in a bikini on the beach in Mexico with Lakewood Church worship leader (currently on indefinite leave) Israel Houghton, 44. Rumors stemming from the photos that Bailon and Houghton were dating came just a month after Houghton publicly announced that his marriage of some 20 years was legally over. Bailon initially stayed mum as the photos circulated and Houghton was the first to addressed the rumors.

"I met Adrienne Bailon a bit over 2 years ago, we worked together & became friends... Our circles connected & we remained good friends. From a friendship, as two single adults we have very recently begun to explore a dating relationship," he confessed in a Facebook post.

The former "Cheetah Girl" followed suit soon after on her daytime talk show and confirmed the relationship.

"Yes I am dating, his name is Israel Houghton as some of you guys may know. I think I'm more than anything grateful that I have a platform like this, where I can be with my girls. The show is called 'The Real,' it is a place where we can speak about the truth," the TV personality said. "With that being said, the man pictured here is not married. Praise God."

The new romance sparked controversy because Houghton publicly repented and addressed his divorce in an open letter posted on Facebook earlier this year. "It is with a collective heavy heart that we announce that after over 20 years of marriage and a long separation, Meleasa and I are officially divorced," he wrote.

"Several years ago I failed and sinned in my marriage," he confessed. "Though this is new to many, it is not new to us as we have been working through this for over 5 years. Although we tried, the challenges in our relationship have proven too much to overcome."

Bailon was pegged as the reason for 44-year-old Houghton's divorce when the beach photos surfaced, but the actress maintained that she didn't even know him at the time of his personal failure, and said that the public blaming her for a marriage ending was "obviously hurtful."

The two first worked together on the 2013 flick produced by Houghton, "I'm in Love with a Church Girl." During promotional tours for the film, Bailon revealed she was a fan of Houghton's music.

Bailon ended her relationship with ex-fiance Lenny Santiago back in September 2015, and Houghton announced his legal split from his former wife, Meleasa, in late February of this year.

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