For over a decade, Joel Osteen has attracted both followers and detractors for his charismatic Christian evangelism. But with the sullied reputation of disgraced televangelists before him, Osteen has had to spend much of his career fighting rumors about his personal life. Find out more about what goes on when he’s not giving uplifting sermons—and whether there’s any truth to the story that Joel Osteen divorced his wife, Victoria Osteen.
Who Is Joel Osteen?
Joel Osteen, 57, is a pastor and televangelist based out of Houston, Texas. Following in the footsteps of his father, a pastor, Osteen preached his first sermon in 1999. Today, he runs Lakewood Church—originally housed in an abandoned feed store—from the former Compaq Center. His weekly service attracts 43,000 live attendees and is viewed by more than 13 million households in the United States.
Osteen, who lacks a traditional divinity degree and has never formally studied religion, is a proponent of prosperity theology. The core belief is that financial success and happiness is the will of God for “good” Christians.
“I think prosperity, and I’ve said it 1,000 times, it’s being healthy, it’s having great children, it’s having peace of mind,” Osteen told The Christian Post in 2013. “Money is part of it; and yes, I believe God wants us to excel.”
It’s a controversial take, but it works for him. Osteen reportedly has a net worth of $50 million, and he claims that none of it comes from his church. Instead, he credits his book sales for his impressive wealth.
Osteen identifies as non-denominational, therefore he’s not bound to certain expectations and rules as other Christians. For example, while Catholic priests are forbidden from having wives, Osteen has been married to Victoria Osteen since 1987.
Who Is Victoria Osteen?
Victoria Osteen was born March 28, 1961, in Huntsville, Alabama, and raised in Houston from the age of two. She was raised a conservative Christian, with her father serving as a deacon and her mother working as a Sunday school teacher.
Victoria and Joel Osteen have two children. Jonathan, born April 20, 1995, has a degree in screenwriting from the University of Texas. These days, he’s following in his father’s footsteps and delivers sermons to youth members at Lakewood Church.
Alexandra, born November 9, 1998, is a singer and student at the University of Texas at Austin. She and her big bro are members of LYA, a band that performs at the church. In 2019, the group released an EP titled In the Name, Vol. 1. Their track “I’ve Got A Fire,” has over 150,000 streams on Spotify.
While Victoria projects the image of a devoted wife and mother, she has had to face some small controversies over the years. In 2008, she was named in a civil lawsuit that claimed she assaulted a flight attendant.
The case dates back to a 2005 flight from Houston to Vail, Colorado. Victoria allegedly slammed an airline employee into a bathroom door and elbowed her over an uncleaned stain on her first-class seat. The suit was dismissed, but Victoria was not completely innocent. The Federal Aviation Administration fined her $3,000 for interfering with a crew member, and the flight was delayed by two-and-a-half hours because of the incident.
How Joel And Victoria Osteen Met
Victoria was studying psychology at the University of Houston and working at her mother’s jewelry shop was she first met Joel. Osteen had come into Iloff Jewelers looking to replace the battery in his watch. Two years later, in 1987, the couple married.
“When we got married, we weren’t pastors,” Victoria said in an interview with Get Up! Mornings. “We were just two young people … We have grown together and learned together, and really learned how to love people together. It’s a beautiful place to be, something I didn’t expect when I got married.”
Did Victoria And Joel Osteen Get Divorced?
Despite rumors that the couple divorced long ago, Victoria has been Joel’s wife for over 30 years. Turns out the story about their split was just unsubstantiated gossip.
Perhaps their unusual rules do the trick for them. For instance, Osteen subscribes to the "Billy Graham Rule," meaning he does not fraternize with women unless witnesses are present.
He also expects his wife to maintain an attractive appearance, telling Piers Morgan on CNN, "Wives, don't look good for everybody else. Look good for your husband, too."
"Don't wear that same old bathrobe you've been wearing for the last 10 years," Victoria chimed in. "That's what he meant. We all needed to be reminded, you know, that, 'Hey, you know what? We do need to take that extra time.'"
How Did The Osteen Divorce Rumors Start?
Blame a 2014 blog post by Osteen titled "Let Go of the Ashes." In it, he writes, "The enemy would love for you to spend your whole life sitting in the ashes, bitter over a relationship that didn’t work out ... It’s time to turn those ashes loose. If you went through a divorce, let it go. God has somebody better in your future."
Osteen's words didn't sit well with some conservatives, who don't believe in divorce. Some speculated that perhaps he wasn't happy in his own relationship. But, of course, this was untrue. The fact is that Osteen isn't one to dwell on sin and punishment in his sermons. One look at any of his or Victoria's social media accounts and you'll quickly confirm that the two remain a united front.