Finding an online community to discuss and share your faith and beliefs with is one of the best parts of social media. Filling your feed with support from like-minded individuals is what draws people to certain influencers — but what happens when that influencer suddenly speaks out against your faith?
That's what happened to Jen Hatmaker, a Christian speaker and influencer, who was well-loved in the evangelical community. Where is she now?
Who is Jen Hatmaker?
Jen made a platform for herself as a prominent Christian influencer. She currently has more than 800,000 Facebook followers and more than 500,000 followers on Instagram. She's written many books, including the bestsellers For the Love and Of Mess and Moxie, and is the host of the For the Love podcast. Much of Jen's audience are evangelical Christians, and her platform was built on her faith.
But in 2016, mere months before the presidential election, she used her platform to speak out against Donald Trump. According to Politico, she told her hundreds of thousands of followers that she found Donald Trump to be “sad and horrified and despondent.” She told her Twitter followers after the Access Hollywood tape leaked “We will not forget. Nor will we forget the Christian leaders that betrayed their sisters in Christ for power.”
Add to that her public statement that she supports same-sex marriage, and Jen quickly made an enemy of much of her audience. She received many death threats from her followers, with some sending her damaged and burned books of hers in the mail, continuing more than a year after she initially made these comments.
What happened to Jen? Where is she now?
Despite the overtly negative response she had received from some of her following, Jen never wavered from her stance. She's spoken on her podcast about her support of the LGBTQ community and revealed that her daughter recently came out as a lesbian.
She admitted that ever speaking against homosexuality was her "greatest regret."
"I wouldn’t change one ounce of who she is," she said about her daughter on a podcast, according to Premiere Christian News. "Not a molecule. Not a moment. The only thing I would change in our story, is I wish I could go back and shake myself to life sooner — well, well, well, before."
In July of 2020, Jen revealed that her family was going through a hard time.
"We are deeply hurting in our little life," Jen started the post. "As I’ve written, there is a difference between secrecy marked by shame, and privacy marked by discretion, and we are in the second category. Our family is navigating an unexpected crisis, and I’ve taken a step back from socials and work to help steer toward healing and wholeness."
She reassured her followers that she and her family are well and safe, but that she wishes for patience and prayers and she navigates this time.
"A request: don’t pry or ask or push, even out of sincere concern," she wrote. "Please don’t blow up our phones and inboxes and DMs (or our friends’). Just hold us close to your heart in great love."
In September of that same year, it came to light that Jen and her husband, Brandon, had decided to get a divorce. "I don’t know how to say this, and I still cannot believe I am even saying it, but Brandon and I are getting divorced," she shared in another Instagram post. "Although the details are ours alone, this was completely unexpected, and I remain stunned as we speak. I am shocked, grief-stricken, and broken-hearted."
In the months since the divorce announcement, Jen has tried to maintain a balance between sharing her life on a very public platform and grieving a very personal loss. Fast forward to July of 2021, and people once again began asking what had happened to her — this time, because of yet another Instagram post:
"One year ago today, my entire world fell apart," Jen wrote in the caption. "July 11th, 2020 was the worst day of my life. Every nightmarish second of it is seared into my brain. My body has known this date was coming up, as it has been steadily falling apart the last month."
Although she doesn't explicitly state what happened on July 11, 2020, it seems likely that that date may mark the end of her marriage to Brandon. Happily, it seems as though July 11, 2021 was a much better day for Jen. She says that she spent the day laughing with her friends, going to a craft fair, and even sharing a kiss with someone new. "My first first kiss since 1992," she wrote in the caption.
"The body can heal. She can recover. She can rebuild. She can find her way back to life," she said. Although Jen's life has been turned upside down over the past year, we're sure her fans are happy to see her enjoying her life and making new, happy memories.