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Faced with scandal, disgraced preacher's wife maintained faith

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Gayle Haggard speaks
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ted Haggard's wife, Gayle, reveals why she stayed in wake of public scandal
  • Ted Haggard, who admitted having sex with men, claims he no longer has same-sex urges
  • Gayle Haggard: "I haven't doubted my faith in this process but I have redefined it"
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(CNN) -- The wife of former New Life Church pastor Ted Haggard said Thursday that she never considered divorce after she discovered her husband had sexual encounters with men.

"I knew that he was more than this struggle," Gayle Haggard said on CNN's "Larry King Live" while promoting her new book "Why I Stayed."

"I knew that we spent almost 30 years together, and I knew there was so much to salvage in our relationship that was worth fighting for," she said.

Ted Haggard, the former president of the National Association of Evangelicals and the head pastor at the 14,000-member New Life, was outed publicly in 2006 by a former prostitute, Mike Jones, who said Haggard had paid him for sex over three years and had used methamphetamine in his presence.

Haggard also later admitted to an inappropriate relationship with a 20-year-old male church volunteer.

Haggard said Thursday night that he no longer has same-sex urges, attributing the change to therapy. He blamed his homosexual experiences on a sexual encounter with an adult man when he was in second grade, which "formed the way my mind processes things."

"Certainly on many levels it was devastating to me," Gayle Haggard said of her husband's encounters. "But I started on a path to real education on the subject and I learned so much about the diversity of our human makeup and that all of us are the way we are for a reason. And I learned that things happen in our life that condition us in our sexuality."

Both Haggard and his wife say they have a normal physical relationship -- one that "never stopped" even in the wake of the public scandal.

"What is so wonderful is the intimacy we have on all levels in our marriage," Gayle Haggard said.

The couple said they currently don't belong to a church. Both agreed to leave New Life and the Colorado Springs, Colorado, area in a settlement following the scandal, but make a living by speaking about their story to church congregations around the country.

"I haven't doubted my faith in this process but I have redefined it," Gayle Haggard said. "Early on, I was so satisfied with my faith walk and I felt as though my life was just wonderful.

"But then I went through this very dark time where I felt like there was nothing good. ... But I held on by a thread because I trusted God was going to show me the way through that and he did."