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Is Charles Stanley Divorced or Married, and What Happened to His Wife?
Dr. Charles Stanley’s divorce from his wife in 2000 was apparently the result of many years of marital disappointments and struggle, according to his former wife. Anna Stanley filed for divorce in June 1993, but Charles Stanley convinced her to change it to a legal separation. Anna Stanley filed for divorce again in 1995, claiming that their 40-year marriage was irreparably shattered.
The divorce procedures of Dr. Charles and Anna Stanley generated a controversy in the First Baptist Church of Atlanta, Georgia, where Charles was the senior pastor at the time of the divorce filing. Charles indicated in 1995 that if his wife divorced him, he would quit his position in the church immediately. Despite the divorce becoming final, Dr. Charles Stanley remained as the church’s head pastor, with the congregation voting to keep him.
Dr. Charles’ divorce also strained his relationship with his son, Andy Stanley. Andy’s disagreement with his father’s handling of the divorce controversy reportedly intensified the tension, culminating in his resignation from the First Baptist Church. Andy Stanley later founded the North Point Community Church in 1995.
Dr. Charles Stanley married Anna Stanley in 1958, and the couple had two children, Andy Stanley and Becky Stanley. Unfortunately, after 44 years of a happy marriage, they began to disagree, and Anna Stanley filed for divorce in 1993, claiming the pair had split and lived apart for a year since 1992. The Southern Baptist Convention was enraged by this announcement. The situation deteriorated further when it was revealed that Stanley had stated that if he divorced after the separation, he would resign as pastor. The problem was brought under control when his church members agreed to keep him as pastor on the condition that he not remarry.
Anna gave no official reason for the divorce, although there are hints in a letter she wrote to the church in which she claimed, “Long ago… Charles, in fact, abandoned our marriage.” He set his priorities, and I was not one of them.”
They later agreed to alter the complaint and seek a legal separation, but their efforts to reconcile failed and Anna filed for divorce again on March 20, 1995. This was the second effort at divorce, which also failed. After concluding that there was no chance of a reunion, the final divorce papers were submitted for the last time on February 16, 2000, and the couple was officially divorced by May of the same year.
He is not allowed to marry again because he is bound by the norms of the church members. When asked about his thoughts during his eight years apart, he said, “When she decided to leave me, I decided to say, “Okay, God, I’ve done what you instructed me to do.
” I’ve been faithful to you. Now I’m going to put my trust in you.” And I remember getting the phone from her attorney saying she was suing me for divorce, and he asked where to send the papers, and I told him—and then I remember precisely how I felt when I hung up. “God, you’ve been with me through every scenario,” I remember saying. You’re going to help me get over this.” I had a feeling he would.
Charles Stanley is the head pastor of Atlanta’s First Baptist Church. He is also the founder and president of In Touch Ministries. In addition, from 1984 to 1986, he served two one-year terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention. Andy Stanley, Charles Stanley’s son, is the pastor of North Point Community Church in nearby Alpharetta, Georgia. Stanley’s daughter Becky has been addressed in his sermons on occasion.
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