What Factors Led to Tammy Sue Bakker’s Divorce?

In a 2000 interview with Larry King, Tammy Faye Bakker and her ex-husband Jim Bakker cite his imprisonment for fraud and the ensuing separation as the cause of their divorce. She filed for divorce after two years of Jim Bakker’s imprisonment.

At the time Tammy Faye announced the divorce, she cited prioritization of their ministry over their family as a major cause of the rift. She also referred to various medical concerns, such as anemia, stress-induced high blood pressure, and breathing issues. Jim Bakker wished to remain in the marriage but was unable to devote the necessary time to it from prison, Adelle M. Banks of the Orlando Sentinel reports. Tammy Faye and Jim Bakker were married for 31 years. In her letter to fans at the time of the announcement, Tammy Faye claimed that she had been pretending her relationship was healthy and happy for a long time.

Tammy Faye’s letter, as excerpted by the Sentinel article, does not directly address the rumors of her adultery. Before Jim Bakker’s imprisonment, he faced similar accusations of infidelity. Tammy Faye Bakker did not begin to date her second husband Roe Messner until after she finalized the divorce from Jim Bakker, according to the 2000 CNN interview.