The wife of a Baptist pastor who killed himself after it was revealed he was a member on Ashley Madison, a dating service that caters to individuals looking to have an affair, has said the presence of the adultery website "destroyed" her life.
John Gibson, a teacher at Leavell College, part of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, was one of 37 million Ashley Madison subscribers to have his information released in a massive data dump by a group of hackers who announced that they had obtained the site's user data last year.
His wife, Christi, found him dead just six days after he was exposed. In his suicide note, Gibson confessed how sorry he was and mentioned struggles with mental health and other demons.
"It wasn't the hack that destroyed the lives that we had, it was the presence of things like Ashley Madison," Christi told Laurie Segal of CNN's Mostly Human series in an interview conducted a year after her husband's death. "The ability to lead a totally double life. That's what took our life down -- the secrecy. The hack is what blew it all apart."
She added, "The shock has worn off, the need to take care of all the details of losing a loved one, and [becoming] the primary breadwinner of your household, having to deal with all that."
Christi, who has two grown children, said she misses her husband most in the mornings, recalling how he would start making coffee after his run.
"We would sit and talk through our day, talk through our life," she said. "When I would talk about stresses of the day, he would really just listen."
While it would have been difficult to forgive her husband had he lived, Christi said she has no doubt it would have been possible.
"We were trapped by the secrecy, and the hack -- by bringing it out into the open -- brought us out of that prison," she said. "I would love to be living that freedom with John. I think it could have brought him freedom as well."
Their son, Trey, said his father was more than just a man who made a terrible mistake.
"If there's one thing that we've learned in all this, it's that the decision to be on Ashley Madison was not the entirety of my father's life. I think if the hackers saw themselves as doing justice, I would say it is a very incomplete form of justice."
Pastor David Crosby, a friend of Pastor Gibson, told CNN it's more difficult to forgive his suicide than it would have been to forgive his transgressions.
"It's so final," he said. "It feels like a comment on life itself."
He added, "We're not all tempted in the same way, but we all have our temptations and the places in our life that trip us up. We stumble, we fall, we hurt ourselves, we hurt the people that we love...that's just a common story."
In a 2015 interview, Christi sent a message to the 32 million people exposed and their communities.
"These were real people with real families, real pain and real loss," she said. But "don't underestimate the power of love. Nothing is worth the loss of a father and a husband and a friend. It just didn't merit it. It didn't merit it at all."
Gibson was not the only Christian leader outed in the security breach: R. C. Sproul Jr., son of Ligonier Ministries founder R.C. Sproul, resigned from the ministry after it was revealed he had accessed the site "in a moment of weakness, pain, and from an unhealthy curiosity."
Nearly two years after the hack, Ashley Madison is now back and ranking for their own name in Google, according to Search Engine Roundtable, and grew from 39 million users in August 2015 to 50 million users in January 2017, according to a company spokesperson.
The company also rebranded itself, taking on the new slogan, "Find your moment," replacing its former catchphrase, Life is Short, Have an Affair."