Anna Stanley filed a petition for divorce from Dr. Charles Stanley on Feb. 16, 2000. The final decree was signed by a judge on May 11, 2000.
In the divorce petition, Anna Stanley cited that her 44-year marriage to Dr. Stanley was "irretrievably broken." Controversy ensued following the divorce, as Dr. Stanley was under pressure from Southern Baptist leaders to step down as pastor of the First Baptist Church of Atlanta. First Baptist has an unwritten policy forbidding divorced men from serving as ministers or deacons. However, Dr. Stanley was able to remain in his position due to the overwhelming support of his large congregation.