**UPDATE** According to the Associated Press, Jerry Falwell, Jr. has denied reports that he will resign from Liberty University.
**Original story below**
Jerry Falwell, Jr., the prominent evangelical leader, reportedly resigned as president of Liberty University on Monday amid revelations that his wife had an affair with a family friend.
Falwell, who has led Liberty University since 2007, made the decision after Reuters reported that his wife, Becki, had a six-year-long affair with Giancarlo Granda, a friend and business associate of the family.
Initially, Falwell told the Washington Examiner in a statement on Sunday that his wife had an “inappropriate personal relationship” in 2012 with an unidentified friend. Although Falwell did not directly invoke Granda in his statement, both the Examiner and outside individuals were able to confirm he was the individual in question.
Falwell claimed in the statement that while he was “not involved” in the affair, he and his wife reconciled shortly afterward. He further claimed that despite attempting to remain friendly with the friend in question, the couple was soon subject to threats of blackmail and extortion.
“While we tried to distance ourselves from him over time, he, unfortunately, became increasingly angry and aggressive. 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 statement reads.
The story took a more complicated turn on Monday when Granda’s account of the affair was published by Reuters. The now-28-year-old Florida resident claims that his relationship with Becki Falwell started shortly after he met the couple while working as a pool attendant in Miami Beach in March 2012.
“Starting that month and continuing into 2018, Granda [claimed] that the relationship involved him having sex with Becki Falwell while Jerry Falwell looked on,” the outlet reported.
Granda also told the outlet that allegations he tried to extort the couple were inaccurate and that he only wanted “to negotiate a buyout from a business arrangement.” The exact nature of the arrangement remains unclear. In May 2018, BuzzFeed News reported that the Falwells had purchased an LGBTQ-friendly youth hostel in Miami Beach. The Falwells’ purchased the hostel in 2013 and subsequently allowed Granda to run it as their manager.
As Reuters noted, corporate records indicate that Granda was given a share of the business.