Woman Claims She and Ex Hillsong Pastor Carl Lentz Had Affair During Coronavirus Pandemic

Two weeks after Carl Lentz was fired from Hillsong Church, a woman is coming forward, claiming to be his mistress.

Ranin Karim, 34, said in an interview with Vanity Fair published on Tuesday that she and Lentz, 42, had a months-long affair earlier this year, leading up to the megachurch pastor's wife Laura discovering his infidelity in late October. While Lentz has previously admitted to being unfaithful to his wife, he has not identified the person with whom he had been unfaithful.

Karim reportedly told the magazine that Lentz told her he was married shortly after they met, roughly five months ago, and that she tried to break up with him multiple times, but he kept pursuing her. It's unclear how Karim and Lentz first met during the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

"I know what I got myself into, but at the same time I wanted to do the right thing and walk, walk away," said Karim, a jewelry designer from Palestine. "I am not a monster."

Lentz came to her house on October 26, she said, to tell her that Laura had found out about their relationship.

"My life is over. I don’t know what’s going to happen. If my wife is going to forgive me," he allegedly told her, according to Karim, who claims Lentz also told her that he planned on resigning from his position at Hillsong East Coast.

Karim told Vanity Fair that she wishes she had never met Lentz — and told him so.

"I really wish I never met him," she said. "I told him that many times because it was just, just like, what’s the point?"

Lentz's termination from Hillsong was announced on November 4 by founder and senior pastor Brian Houston, who said the firing came after "ongoing discussions in relation to leadership issues and breaches of trust, plus a recent revelation of moral failures."

Hillsong Pastor Carl Lentz, Bieber's One-Time Spiritual Confidant: 'I Was Unfaithful' to My Wife

The following day, Lentz shared his own statement on Instagram, admitting he had been "unfaithful in my marriage."

"This failure is on me, and me alone and I take full responsibility for my actions," he wrote in a lengthy post, adding that he was embarking on a "journey of rebuilding trust" with his wife and children and to "heal my own life and seek out the help that I need."

Karim said that she did not intend to share her affair with Lentz publicly until the Instagram post.

"I was hurt, yeah," she told Vanity Fair. "I wanted to speak my part."

Karim shared alleged texts from Lentz with the magazine, which included messages calling her a "unicorn alien woman, whom I’m forever glad I met!"

https://www.instagram.com/p/CHONe5ODr9z

"You are spectacular. Your visible beauty is not really close to how special, how beautiful your soul is…" Lentz reportedly wrote in one text.

In another, he told Karim that he had left Hillsong, allegedly writing, "I have stepped down/been fired from the Church I gave my whole life to and it’s agonizing but I have to own that… I have and will only have nothing but love for you."

A representative for Lentz did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment Tuesday.

Lentz is known for running in celebrity circles and notably baptized Justin Bieber years ago, according to a GQ profile published in 2015. He has been a pastor at the New York location of Hillsong since 2010 and previously attended Hillsong College, the church's training program, which is where he met his wife Laura.

On Friday, the church said in a statement that after hearing "from a number of people about their experiences and concerns" after Lentz's termination, an "in-depth review and investigation into all concerns and any wider cultural issues" was being launched. The investigation is being conducted by "a New York based legal firm that is not associated or affiliated with Hillsong."

A representative for Hillsong did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request Tuesday regarding Karim's claims.

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