Gospel singer and six-time Grammy winner Israel Houghton met singer-talk show host Adrienne Bailon in 2013 when she appeared in a Christian drama film that Israel co-produced called, "I'm in Love with a Church Girl." At the time of the film production, he was married to Meleasa Houghton; they wed in 1994. During that same time, Bailon was engaged to Lenny Santiago. But now that Houghton is divorced and Bailon's engagement was canceled, they reunited to date.
Houghton, 44, and Bailon, 32, surprised people by recently appearing together on a vacation at Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa in Tulum, Mexico. This week, Houghton has been denying he cheated on his wife with Bailon, although he did admit his infidelity led to the demise of his marriage.
Just one month ago, Houghton announced his divorce from his wife, Meleasa, of 20-plus years. Thus, the new photos of him with Bailon prompted rumors regarding assumptions that the Real host had something to do with the Houghtons' split.
However, the gospel singer quickly posted on Facebook Tuesday to curb speculation: "In the midst of all that's going on in the world ... Suffering, terrorism, deciding a future for our country, and making the world safer; It is sad that I am even having to address this matter ... I understand that gossip and salacious untrue speculative stories are far more interesting and entertaining than the truth & facts. But, it's incredibly unfair to allow someone to carry the burden, blame & shame of something they had nothing to do with. 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. As I previously wrote in a statement I released a while back, my marriage had been over for quite some time before going public with my divorce announcement. Where I shared, or as some have pointed out 'over-shared' my failure in my marriage ... From over 5 years prior. It seems to be simple math that I had not even yet met Adrienne during the time my marriage was falling apart. It deeply saddens me that an innocent party would be dragged into this situation that I have taken personal responsibility for. Adrienne is a woman of integrity & character. Most of all she is a true friend, and she should not be blamed for my past indiscretions. I assure you, I am willing to own my wrongs and I have in the past. God knows & sees all things. I appreciate your prayers, and I join you in praying for the issues of life that truly matter today all over the world."
Houghton, as reported on E!, did make public the update about his marriage: "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," the Grammy winner said on Instagram. "Several years ago I failed and sinned in my marriage. 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."
The frontman of Gospel group Israel & New Breed congratulated Bailon last year on her engagement to Roc Nation executive Lenny Santiago.
Israel insisted in a now-deleted post that he and his former spouse will "remain friendly and kind to each other' for the sake of their three children: Mariah, Israel Jr. and Milan Lillie. Although I am sincerely sorry, and forgiven, I soberly realize that I will live with the consequences of my failings for the rest of my life."
Before Bailon started dating ex-fiance Santiago, Bailon famously was in a relationship with Rob Kardashian.