Laura Lentz Says It Took Nearly 3 Years to Tell Husband Carl She Forgave Him After Infidelity Scandal (Exclusive)

“It's been a lot for me to put that last guard down," Laura Lentz exclusively tells PEOPLE

<p>Miguelangel Lugo</p> Carl Lentz (left) and Laura Lentz.

Miguelangel Lugo

Carl Lentz (left) and Laura Lentz.

It took Laura Lentz nearly three years to tell her husband Carl Lentz that she forgave him after the former Hillsong Church pastor found himself at the center of an infidelity scandal.

On Nov. 4, 2020, it was announced that Carl had been fired due to previous “moral failings.” Carl later admitted to having an affair, and later entered treatment for depression, anxiety, and pastoral burnout.

For Laura, it took until October 2023 to finally tell Carl that she forgave him. In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, she reveals it was "a long journey" for her to reach that point.

“It's been a lot for me to put that last guard down … because you put yourself out there again to be hurt,” Laura says. “So, it's been a process.”

Related: Carl Lentz's Wife Laura Says She Had 'Every Reason to Leave' After Cheating Scandal — Here's Why She Stayed

Laura and Carl discuss this moment in their new podcast Lights On with Carl Lentz, which streams on the faith-based platform The B-Side.

Speaking out, Laura says, has been important to her. In the years following the scandal, she has received messages from various women seeking advice after experiencing very similar” situations in their personal lives.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

“I could have easily just stayed very quiet and hidden,” she tells PEOPLE. “But I just felt like it's not really talked about a lot, especially in the church or the Christian space of how do you navigate if you're going to stay? How can you do it well and in a place of strength?”

Now, Laura wants “to give just a little bit of hope for someone else maybe who's going through the same situation” by sharing her story.

“You don't have to stay. I would not tell anyone to stay. It's been my personal journey,” she tells PEOPLE. “But if anyone wants to listen, I would love to help give a little perspective where I can to share my journey in this situation.”

Laura has learned a lot through her personal healing process, too — and the couple recently celebrated their 21st wedding anniversary in May.

Related: All About Carl Lentz's Wife Laura and Their 3 Kids

She tells PEOPLE she now knows “not to push my feelings down” when they come bubbling up.

She adds, “I've had to really sit in them quite a bit and just feel what I've had to feel without the pressure of forgiving anyone."

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.