UPDATE: On Monday afternoon, Reuters published details of an investigation into an alleged years-long affair involving Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr., who is on an indefinite leave of absence, and his wife, Becki Falwell.
The tryst centers around a Miami man named Giancarlo Granda, who shared some of the salacious details of his alleged sexual encounters with Becki and Jerry Falwell, Jr., who was reportedly involved in the liaisons, which took place in Florida, New York, and the Falwells’ home in central Virginia, near the university’s sprawling campus.
Original story below:
There’s another twist in the saga of Jerry Falwell, Jr.
In a lengthy statement released late Sunday evening, Falwell, who is on an indefinite leave of absence from his role as president and chancellor of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, revealed his wife, Becki, had an extramarital tryst some years ago, sending him into a depressive state akin to “living on a roller coaster.”
The surprising admission comes not long after Falwell was suspended from his role at Liberty following several days of uproar over a questionable photo he posted (and then deleted) to his personal Instagram account.
Falwell, in the statement shared with the Washington Examiner, revealed Becki entered into an “inappropriate relationship” with a Florida-based pool boy who worked at one of the properties owned by the family.
The eldest son of the late Jerry Falwell, Sr., who founded Liberty in 1971, said his mental health suffered severely during that tumultuous time in his relationship with Becki, claiming he lost some 80 pounds. The affair, though, was short-lived and the pair soon reconciled, he added.
Over the last few years, however, the ex-lover has allegedly threatened the extort the Falwells. While the family initially attempted to maintain a cordial relationship with the young man, identified by the Examiner as Giancarlo Granda, the Miami-based pool boy has repeatedly demanded large sums of money in exchange for his silence about the erstwhile romance.
“It was like living on a roller coaster,” wrote Falwell. “While completely dedicating ourselves to Liberty, we were also suffering in silence during our personal time together, while simultaneously trying to manage and deal with this increasingly threatening behavior, which only worsened over time. We were doing our best to respectfully unravel this ‘fatal attraction’-type situation to protect our family and the university.”
Despite their best efforts to cut ties with the man, Falwell said he “became increasingly angry and aggressive” over time, writing, “Eventually, he began threatening to publicly reveal this secret relationship with Becki and to deliberately embarrass my wife, family, and Liberty University, unless we agreed to pay him substantial monies.”
The Falwells have revealed the details of the former relationship in hopes of relieving themselves of the stress of continuing to harbor the secret.
According to the Christian university executive, his wife engaged in the brief romance in 2012, when they met Granda, who was working as a pool assistant at the time and was eager to start his own business. Becki arranged a deal to purchase a Miami hostel, which Granda would manage. It was while Falwell was consumed with running Liberty, which he took over following his father’s unexpected death in 2007, that Becki had the affair.
In his statement, Falwell admitted that, though his wife’s indiscretions were “more obvious and apparent,” he was guilty of not giving his spouse “proper attention,” as he was working such long hours at Liberty.
“I was and have always remained fully devoted to Becki and we have shared many private conversations to better understand and support each other and to strengthen our marriage,” he wrote. “Thankfully, our love has never been stronger.”
The couple has also spiritually reconciled with Granda. Falwell wrote he and Becki have “extended the spirit of forgiveness to this man with respect and kindness.”
Granda, who was 21 years old at the time of the affair, rebutted Falwell’s recollection in emails to the Examiner. He told the outlet any allegations of extortion was “defamatory and belied by clear documentary evidence.”
“The Falwells’ attempt to sandbag me, and the Examiner, with a last-minute story without providing the Examiner clear evidence that this was not simply an ‘affair’ with concocted allegations of extortion reeks of desperation,” he wrote. “The whole truth will come out.”
It should be noted, though, Falwell’s team provided emails and text messages to substantiate his claims against Granda.
Falwell went on to say he is using his time away from Liberty to address the toll the situation has taken on his and Becki’s mental health.
“I am now dealing with things in a way that I should have done before — including seeking to address the emotional toll this has taken,” he wrote. “I shouldn’t have been afraid to admit my vulnerabilities and to reach out for assistance from the mental health professionals who could have alleviated this pain and stress.”
He continued, “I am committed to speaking out and sharing with others at Liberty the importance of seeking counseling instead of thinking you need to be tough and try to bear these burdens on our own. I am in the early stages of addressing these issues.”
Falwell concluded his 1,200-word statement by saying his family’s “faith in Christ is greater than ever, and with His help and with those in the community who we love and who appreciate the impact of forgiveness, we will get through this.”
“We ask for your prayers and supported,” he added.