What if Ted picked up some sexually transmitted disease and infected me? Gayle Haggard wondered as she brushed her teeth one morning in November 2006. Hours before, a male escort had alleged that her husband, Ted Haggard, had paid him for sex and methamphetamine. Ted subsequently resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals and as lead pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs. CT online editor Sarah Pulliam Bailey spoke with Gayle about her book Why I Stayed: The Choices I Made in My Darkest Hour (Tyndale).
What happened after your husband told you what happened?
Initially, of course I was devastated. I didn't see it coming. When this allegation came, it was shocking to me and devastating because I realized that everything that we held dear and invested our lives in was crumbling. There were a lot of tears, as you might imagine. That first night, as I lay in bed and thought through what was happening to us, I just asked myself, "Who are you? Who are you going to be in this?" What I settled was that I do believe that God is, I believe in my husband, I believe in family, and the strength of family, and I believe in friendship.
You said that you had a good sex life. Did you have any idea that your husband had same-sex attractions?
He had told me early on that a struggle in thoughts would come up from time to time. He talked to someone about it and tried to process it, but he didn't get the help that he needed. I just thought this was a temptation. I didn't understand the power of it in his life. I thought he had dealt with it, so when it came up again, it shocked me. Our marriage was strong. I know Oprah and others took the approach that he needed to accept that this was his identity. Honestly, our ...1