April 1, 2023

ABC’s new episode of The Con will focus on Jim Bakker, a controversial televangelist convicted of fraud and sent to prison in the late 80s. Bakker and his wife Tammy were known for their work on the Christian program The PTL Club, which aired on PTL Satellite Network, founded by the couple in 1974.
The couple divorced in 1992 after almost 31 years of marriage. Read on to know the details about Bakker’s relationship with Faye ahead of The Con‘s new episode launch on Thursday.
Jim Bakker met Tammy as a student at North Central University in Minneapolis in 1960. At the time, Bakker worked at a local restaurant while Tammy Faye was employed with a boutique. After getting married on April 1, 1961, the couple dropped out of college to pursue a career in evangelism. The Bakkers shared two kids, a daughter named Tammy Sue and a son named Jamie Charles.
The couple ventured into the world of televangelism in 1966 as they started working at the Christian Broadcasting Network, aka CBN, where they garnered massive success as hosts of a show called Come On Over, which primarily catered to children. They later helped co-found Trinity Broadcasting Network with Paul Crouch and Jan Crouch.
In less than a year, the couple left the organization to start their network, the PTL Satellite Network, wherein the popular religious program, The PTL Club, attracted widespread popularity. The network enjoyed massive success, with a staggering viewership of 20 million at its peak.
Thanks to The PTL Club’s stunning success, the couple built a sprawling resort and amusement park named Heritage USA. The couple’s charming screen presence as hosts made them a popular figure among their followers.
Despite the seemingly happy facade, their relationship started deteriorating. According to Biography, Tammy started feeling lonely at home while Jim worked on building the PTL Network. In her memoir, Telling It My Way, she mentioned that others began to take notice of the couple’s arguments.
Things worsened after news emerged that Jim Bakker paid hush money worth $279,000 to Jessica Hahn, a church secretary, who accused Jim and another televangelist named John Wesley Fletcher of drugging and r*ping her in a Florida hotel room. After this news came to light, Jim quit PTL.
There had been suspicions around The PTL Club’s fundraising activities for quite some time, and a criminal investigation was soon launched. In 1989, a grand jury found Jim guilty of multiple counts of mail and wire fraud, apart from one count of conspiracy. He was handed a 45-year jail sentence. Tammy was never indicted.
The couple divorced three years later. The exact reason for the divorce is not known. But in her book, I Will Survive … And You Will, Too, Tammy said (obtained via Nicki Swift),
As per Biography, Tammy wrote a letter to her church in Florida, wherein she spoke about her decision to divorce Jim Bakker. The letter read (obtained via Biography),
Tammy later remarried Roe Messner, a building contractor, in 1993. She was diagnosed with colon cancer and passed away in 2007. Jim Bakker returned to televangelism after his release from prison and started a show called The Jim Bakker Show along with his second wife Lori, whom he married in 1998.
Don’t forget to catch The Con – The Comeback on ABC on Thursday, September 1, 2022.


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