Famed televangelist and soon to be subject of the biographical drama film The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Jim Bakker has certainly stirred up his share of controversy over the years. Between his PTL Club scandal and a more recent run-in with the law over coronavirus misinformation, Jim Bakker is notorious for frequent run-ins with the law. But is Jim still alive? Read on for everything we know about his life now.
So, is Jim Bakker still alive? His ex-wife Tammy Faye died in 2007.
Jim Bakker and Tammy Faye LaValley met at North Central University in Minneapolis in 1960. The pair quickly hit it off and were married by April 1961. They left the college to become itinerant evangelists and traveled across the country to eventually land in North Carolina. It was there they debuted the late-night talk show they have become infamous for, The PTL Club.
After a failed religious theme park known as Heritage USA and several scandals, including Jim being accused of sexual misconduct, Jim was dismissed as a minister altogether in 1987. However, this did not stop the controversies surrounding Jim and his family, and in 1985, a confidential report by the IRS discovered that $1.3 million in ministry funds was being used by the Bakkers for "personal benefit" from 1980-1983.
Eventually, criminal charges were brought against The PTL Club and Jim for selling "lifetime memberships" to buyers for $1,000 apiece, promising an annual three-night stay at Heritage USA's luxury hotel that was never finished. In 1988, Jim was indicted on eight counts of mail fraud, 15 counts of wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy. A judge found him guilty on all 24 counts, and his initial sentence was 45 years in prison.
However, in 1991 a new sentencing hearing was held, and as of 1992, Jim was reduced to a mere eight years and paroled after five years. Upon his release in 1994, he owed $4 million to the IRS. Jim and Tammy Faye also divorced in 1992, and when he returned to television in 2003, he remarried a woman named Lori. Since 2003, Jim has been the host of The Jim Bakker Show daily through his company Morningside Church Productions Inc.
Jim Bakker is still alive and well, although The Jim Bakker Show Instagram revealed he had a stroke in May 2020, shortly after his latest controversy. Jim's most recent lawsuit involved misinformation regarding treatments for the coronavirus.
In March 2020, Jim Bakker was sued by Missouri’s Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt.
During the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, worried citizens were desperate for anything that could treat the virus' deadly symptoms — even solutions that weren't treatments at all. In March 2020, Forbes reports that Missouri's Attorney General Eric Schmitt sued Jim Bakker and The Jim Bakker Show to prohibit him from selling "Silver Solution" as a treatment for the virus.
The lawsuit named Jim and a guest named Sherrill Sellman, referred to by Bakker as a “naturopathic doctor," who falsely claimed Silver Solution was a cure for the coronavirus. Jim offered to supply patrons with his "solution" for a donation of $80-$125 to the church. Now, he is being ordered to pay $156,000 in restitution to his viewers in a settlement filed on Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021.