Ted Haggard Biography (1956-)

was a leading American evangelical preacher when he became entangled in a sex scandal in 2006. Haggard graduated from Oral Roberts University in 1978, and in 1985 he and his wife Gayle founded the New Life Church in their basement in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The church flourished; by 2006 the New Life Church had 14,000 members, Haggard had become president of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), and Harpers magazine had reported that “No in America holds more sway over the political direction of evangelicalism than does Ted.” In November of 2006, however, a Denver man named Michael Jones claimed that Haggard had paid him for sex monthly for three years and had taken methamphetamine during those encounters. After first denying Jones’s claims, Haggard admitted that they were largely true, stating on camera that he had purchased illegal drugs but didn’t use them; he resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals and was removed as of New Life Church. As part of his severance agreement, he agreed to leave Colorado Springs; he and his family moved to Phoenix, Arizona in April of 2007. Haggard resurfaced in 2011 with a cable television reality series, Scandalous.

Haggard married the former Gayle Alcorn in 1978; the couple have five children… Haggard was featured in the 2007 HBO documentary Friends of God, a film made by Alexandra Pelosi (daughter of Nancy Pelosi); the film was made before Haggard’s sex scandal, but was not broadcast until after his resignation.

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