Ted Haggard appeared on ABC’s “Celebrity Wife Swap” Tuesday night, temporarily switching spouses with actor Gary Busey in a faith-infused, reality-TV episode that reveal more intimate details on how the pastor’s sex scandal affected his family.
Haggard, former head of the National Association of Evangelicals, said he chose to do the show because “I have to share the good news of what our church is doing.”
Haggard was on top of the evangelical world in 2006 when he admitted to having a sexual relationship with a male prostitute. He also confirmed in an interview with GQ last year that he used crystal meth during that time and said that if he were 21, he would identify as bisexual. After stepping down from the megachurch he led for a sabbatical, Haggard recently reentered ministry with a new church in Colorado Springs --and now, a host of reality-TV appearances on his résumé.
In Tuesday’s episode, Gayle Haggard, the pastor’s wife, switched places with Stephanie Samson, Busey’s fiancee and “spiritual wife.” Gayle Haggard said of her and her husband’s decision to appear on the show: “One of the reasons that Ted and I are thrilled to be on this show is to show people what we’re really like and what our values are. People learned about us five years ago, and so now we want to bring them up to date and let them know how we’re doing.”
Viewers saw the Haggard and Busey families exchange religious beliefs — “I am a church,” Busey said, explaining why he shuns organized religion. Samson attended to the needs of the Haggard family and their five children, who she said are still hurting from the fallout of the scandal.
What the family went through, Ted Haggard admitted, was “very embarrassing, heart-wrenching.”
He added: “I just wanted to die, and we have been working to survive it.”
Comparing Haggard’s own life’s arc to the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Haggards explained that they felt called “to resurrect in Colorado Springs.”
During their time in seclusion, Gayle shared, “one day God spoke to [Ted] while he was trying to sell insurance. He was driving. [God] said, ‘When you were 28 years old, I called you to Colorado Springs, and no one has the authority to negate that. I called you to Colorado Spring, and your sin doesn’t have the authority to negate that. You’ve got to resurrect with the people that you crumbled in front of so they see the resurrection power is for today.”