Joel Osteen is one of the most famous and influential televangelists in the world today. Osteen wasn’t always the confident pastor that we know today. He preferred to work behind the scenes for a long time before his father persuaded him to preach for the first time in January 1999. Sadly, Osteen’s father died six days after Joel’s first sermon.
Osteen took center stage after that traumatic event, and since then the attendance at Lakewood Church has grown rapidly. In addition, millions of viewers from around the world tune in to watch his sermons. More often than not, Joel Osteen’s wife and Lakewood Church co-pastor, Victoria Osteen, is always by his side.
Victoria is an accomplished pastor herself, and part of Lakewood Church’s rise as a megachurch has been due to her effort and guidance. This piece will look at Victoria and Chris’ marriage, the couple’s children, her career as an author, and a lawsuit Victoria faced in 2008.
Victoria met Joel while working at her mother’s jewelry store
Victoria Osteen is a Houston native who has always, in one way or another, been involved in the church. Her mom was a Sunday school teacher while her dad was a deacon. Victoria enjoyed working and learning in the ministry, but she wasn’t heavily involved in it. She enrolled in the University of Houston to study Psychology and worked in her mom’s jewelry shop.
Joel and Victoria met at her mom’s jewelry shop after he went in to purchase a watch battery. The couple started dating shortly after their first meeting, and got married two years later on 4th April 1987. The couple worked with Victoria’s dad for a while as he travelled around the globe to spread the ministry.
Victoria and Joel have been married for more than three decades, and their relationship is still strong. She talked to Get Up! Mornings about her marriage to Joel:
“When we got married, we weren’t pastors. We were just two young people… We have grown together and learned together, and really learned how to love people together. It’s a beautiful place to be, something I didn’t expect when I got married… It’s been great. I’m still crazy about my husband after thirty years, I respect him, I honor him. I think that is what it takes.”
Victoria’s two kids Jonathan and Alexandra are involved in the ministry
Victoria and Joel were blessed with Jonathan and Alexandra in the 1990s. The couple tried as much as possible to involve their kids in the ministry, and it paid off since Jonathan and Alexandra are included in their church. The children’s involvement in the church has led to a tighter family unit. Victoria continued:
“We carve out time for each other… We are with our children, we always travel together with our children on what we call our Nights of Hope, whenever we are doing ministry outside. We are all together as a family which we just have the luxury of doing… That’s really kept our family strong. It’s let our children be a part of what we are doing… They’ve got that seed, that foundation of the ministry…”
Jonathan appears to be more interested in having a leading role in the church. He has a degree in screenwriting, and he attempted to have a career in Hollywood, but he came back to Lakewood to serve in the church. Victoria talked to Click2Houston about Jonathan’s decision:
“He came back and he said, ‘I really feel like I’m supposed to be here at the church, working in the ministry, trying to do what I can do to help, you know, this message go out further… That’s beauty to a mom’s ears, and then to see him take it a step further and write songs, write messages, be in the creative team, service flow, just so many things that he is involved in and has opinions about…”
She is considered to be one of the best Christian authors
Joel Osteen has written seven number-one New York Times Bestselling books. Victoria can’t match up to her husband’s efforts, but she is quite the accomplished author. Her first book, Love Your Life: Living Happy, Healthy and Whole, was released in October 2008, and it debuted at number two on the New York Times Bestseller’s list.
Publishers Simon & Schuster made 750,000 copies of the book making it one of the largest book productions by a US publisher that year. Victoria went on to author children’s books, and books touching on her successful marriage to Joel. She released her latest book, Exceptional You! in 2019. She talked about her book in an interview with Click2Houston:
“I chose exceptional because exceptional is really better than good. Exceptional stands out, and I think every person is so unique, just like our fingerprint. It’s so unique that we have to understand that we are all on a journey. We are on different paths, but our destination is victory.”
She was accused of assaulting an air hostess in 2008
In 2008, Victoria Osteen stood trial for allegedly abusing a flight attendant as the Osteen family boarded a flight to Vail, Colorado, from Houston. Her accuser, Sharon Brown, claimed that Victoria shoved her and elbowed her in the breast. She further claimed that she suffered from depression and post-trauma stress as a result of the assault.
Sharon sued for an apology and ten per cent of Victoria’s net worth. Jurors handed down a verdict of not guilty after only two hours of deliberation. Victoria was elated after the trial, and she said:
“I’m glad it’s over. It’s the truth, and the truth always stands firm.”
The lawsuit had a bit of controversy after one of the witnesses, Barbara Shedden, changed their story in support of Victoria. According to Sharon Brown’s attorney, Barbara’s testimony changed the outcome of the trial. Sharon Brown’s attorney, Reginald McKamie, said:
“That was not good. All we can say is it was a different story when we talked to her. She changed her story.”