Who Is Israel Houghton? 13 Things To Know About Adrienne Bailon’s Fiancé

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7 of 13

 Israel Houghton

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We’ve heard so much about Adrienne Bailon, 32, and Israel Houghton, 45, as a couple, but I realized that I really don’t know much about him on his own. I know that she’s very much in love with him, and the same feelings seem to be strong the other way around, but what’s his story? Click on through for more info on the Israel & New Breed singer, and future Mr. to our favorite Cheetah Girl.

israel houghton

Johnny Louis/WENN.com

His Family Situation

Let’s get the controversial stuff out of the way first…

According to our friends over at BOSSIP, Houghton is currently being sued by the Texas State Attorney General’s Child Support Division. They’ve reportedly done so in order to force him to “pay for the upkeep” of two young children fathered outside of his marriage to ex-wife Meleasa Houghton. The pair were married for 20 years and have three children together. Houghton also has a son from a previous relationship.

The division is demanding that he start paying back and current child support for the two children, ages 4 and 2, that he had with a young woman named De Vawn Moreno, 31. They’re also seeking payment of medical expenses and health insurance for the kids, and plan to go through his tax returns, checking, savings accounts and more to figure out his income history and identify how much he owes. Houghton has reportedly already admitted paternity of the 4-year-old. Both children have his last name according to court papers. The singer’s lawyer has responded by saying that Houghton does indeed provide for the two children.

His Divorce From Meleasa

Israel and Meleasa officially called it quits earlier this year (despite the divorce papers being hard to find) with the singer announcing their split in February. “Several years ago I failed and sinned in my marriage,” he said in a Facebook post. “Though this is new to many, it is not new to us as we have been working through this for over five years. Although we tried, the challenges in our relationship have proven too much to overcome.”

Houghton and Adrienne Bailon were soon spotted out together while vacaying in Mexico a month later.  He came out to defend her on social media after people accused her of playing a hand in his split from Meleasa, saying she had nothing to do with anything. As Houghton stated, “my marriage had been over for quite some time before going public with my divorce announcement. I had not even yet met Adrienne during the time my marriage was falling apart.”

About His Job at Joel Osteen’s Church…

While there were rumors that Houghton was fired from his job as worship leader at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston due to the cheating rumors, the church maintains that that’s not the case. “We can confirm that Israel is on indefinite leave, but it is important to clarify that we still consider Israel to be a part of the Lakewood family and that his employment has not been terminated.” After leaving in March, Houghton actually returned to the church to attend service in August and seemed to be welcomed back warmly by all. He’s been on the road touring when not traveling with Bailon.

Six-Time Grammy Winner

The talented singer and leader of Israel & New Breed has won quite a few Grammys over the years. That includes best traditional gospel album in 2007 for Alive in South Africa, and best gospel album in 2015 for Covered: Alive in Asia. 

He Is Biracial

In case you were wondering, Houghton’s mother is White and his father is Black. She got pregnant with the singer when she was just 17 years old.

His Mother Almost Had an Abortion

According to an interview he did with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Houghton’s mother, Margaret, was encouraged to have an abortion by her parents.

“They lived in Waterloo, Iowa, which at the time in 1971 was a very segregated society,” he said. “She came home and told her parents, ‘I’m pregnant and the father is black.’ They had a really difficult time with it.”

He continued, “The suggestion was, ‘Have an abortion. Move on with your life.’ She was a terrific concert pianist, she had everything ahead of her, and in a lot of ways had every reason to go, ‘Let’s just chalk this up as a mistake and move on.’ She said, ‘No, no, I’m going to keep this baby.’ She ended up kind of getting shunned for a good chunk of her life after that and didn’t have a lot of contact with her parents.”

His Mother Was on Drugs at One Point

Margaret Houghton went on a downward spiral while eight months pregnant with Israel. She split from his father, was far from home, and found herself struggling with a drug addiction. The words of a concerned Christian helped her to find God and turn her life around – per Israel’s account to the Christian Broadcasting Network:

“God sovereignly knew what was going on and made it such that this lady came up to her out of the blue and said, ‘I don’t know you, and I don’t want to give you a hard time, but I was driving by and I really felt that I needed to come tell you Jesus loves you. You’re not forgotten. You did the right thing. It’s going to be all right.’

Those words of life were so powerful to her and so revolutionary to her that she got on her knees on the street corner on Carlsbad Avenue, out of San Diego, and gave her life to the Lord. I’m here today because of that woman’s faithfulness to God to share the gospel with my mother.”

How He Met Adrienne

According to Houghton, he met Bailon two years ago when she was still with former fiancé Lenny Santiago. They had been together for six years, and when they became engaged, Israel, who produced her film I’m in Love With a Church Girl, congratulated them on social media. My, how things have changed.

“I met Adrienne Bailon a bit over 2 years ago, we worked together & became friends,” Houghton said in March. “Our circles connected & we remained good friends. From a friendship, as two single adults we have very recently begun to explore a dating relationship.”

He’s Lost a Lot of Weight

Early pictures of Houghton hanging out with Bailon show that he looked quite a bit different. However, with the help of a good diet and exercise regimen, and the help of famous fitness trainer Massy Arias (who trains both Houghton and Bailon), he’s slimmed down:

She Was Initially Trying to Set Him up With Someone Else

According to her interview with PEOPLE last month, the initial plan was for Bailon to set her newly single friend up with one of her girlfriends.

“After one of the dates, I asked my friend, ‘What do you think?’ And she was, like, ‘He’s just not my type,'” she said. “I was so offended. I was like, ‘What do you mean he’s not your type? He’s got dimples! He’s got the best smile, brows of a god, his skin basically glows and he plays mad instruments. It doesn’t get any better than that!’ Her response was, ‘Why don’t you date him?!'”


In case you missed the play-by-play shared via social media, here’s what Houghton had to say about the proposal done in Paris with her mother and father in attendance.

“I told the captain — the lights sparkle on the Eiffel Tower every hour for five minutes. So I said, ‘Toward the end of that, make sure we’re right by the tower. She was looking out the window. I said, ‘Turn around.'”

Bailon continued his story saying, “So everyone goes, ‘1, 2, 3!’ I throw [the rose petals], and he was on his knee.”

As he told The Real co-hosts, he was extremely nervous about whether or not she would say yes.

“Of course I’m nervous [at the time],” Houghton said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime woman.”

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