On ‘Divorce Court,’ televangelist calls marriage ‘done’
By ERRIN HAINES
ATLANTA – Televangelist Juanita Bynum says in a two-part episode of “Divorce Court” that she’s through with her marriage to minister Thomas W. Weeks III, who is on probation for assaulting her.
In episodes scheduled to air Thursday and Friday, Bynum also says she had thoughts of suicide and weighs in on a case involving domestic violence. When asked what advice she had for women in situations similar to hers, she said, “I have to make a decision … to take the love that I had for him with me.”
In a transcript of the show obtained by The Associated Press, Bynum said she would always love Weeks, but made a decision to “love me more.”
Weeks pleaded guilty in March to assaulting Bynum on Aug. 21 in a hotel parking lot outside of Atlanta; police said Bynum told investigators he choked her, pushed her down and kicked and stomped her.
Weeks was sentenced to three years’ probation and ordered to perform community service and undergo counseling.
Bynum, a prominent televangelist whose message of women’s empowerment resonated with many followers, said she saw signs of trouble in her marriage well before the assault.
“I was just trying to make it work because I don’t like losing relationships,” Bynum told Judge Lynn Toler, who hears cases on the syndicated show distributed by Twentieth Television. “All of this just kept getting swept under the rug … So you begin to adapt to a very wrong and very unhealthy marriage.”
The couple wed in a million-dollar, televised ceremony in 2002 and together wrote “Teach Me How to Love You: The Beginnings.” Bynum filed for divorce a month after the attack.
When asked on “Divorce Court” whether she and Weeks were planning a reconciliation, Bynum said she is “done.”
“I can’t speak for him, but I no longer want the marriage,” she said.
Weeks’ divorce attorney, Randy Kessler, said on Tuesday that the divorce is moving forward. A mediation date is scheduled for May 13.
“Reconciliation is not in the works and not even being discussed now,” Kessler said, adding that the show appearance could affect the mediation.
Bynum also was asked about rumors that she tried to commit suicide.
“Suicide crossed my mind … You know, I felt hopeless,” Bynum said. “I didn’t because the name Bynum represents a legacy of people that have gone before me and had I done that I would have given too much power to an individual to not just wipe me out but to wipe out the integrity of the legacy I was born in.”
Bynum is a former hairdresser and flight attendant who became a Pentecostal evangelist, author and gospel singer. Weeks is the founder of Global Destiny churches.22