Jim Bakker Biography

Jim Bakker, an American televangelist and former minister of Assemblies of God, gained fame in the 1960s and 1970s as the host of TV shows like ‘The 700 Club’ and ‘Praise the Lord Club’. Alongside his then-wife Tammy Faye Bakker, he also built the Christian theme park ‘Heritage USA’ and authored books like ‘Time Has Come: How to Prepare Now for Epic Events Ahead’. However, Bakker’s reputation suffered a significant blow when his extramarital affair with his church secretary came to light, leading to the discovery of numerous other affairs. Later, he faced legal consequences for fraud and conspiracy. Despite his past success, Bakker has faced severe criticism from fellow evangelists like Jerry Falwell and Jimmy Swaggart, who have labeled him as a liar, embezzler, sexual deviant, and a detriment to Christianity.

Quick Facts

  • Also Known As: James Orsen Bakker
  • Age: 83 Years, 83 Year Old Males
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Lori Bakker (m. 1998), Tammy Faye Messner (m. 1961–1992)
    • Father: Raleigh Bakker
    • Mother: Furnia Lynette Irwin
    • Children: Jay Bakker, Tammy Sue Bakker-Chapman
  • Televangelists
  • American Men
  • U.S. State: Michigan
  • Education: North Central University


Jim Bakker began his career in 1966 when he started working with his wife at Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network. Together, they helped the network grow with successful shows like ‘The 700 Club’, ‘The PTL Show’, and ‘The Jim and Tammy Show’. They also built Heritage USA, a theme park in Fort Mill, South Carolina, which was the third most successful theme park in the country at that time. Additionally, they built a satellite system to distribute their network nationwide 24 hours a day. Bakker is also a writer and has authored books such as ‘I Was Wrong’, ‘Eight Keys to Success’, and ‘Prosperity and the Coming Apocalypse’.

Fall from Grace

Jim Bakker’s downfall began when it was revealed that he was having an affair with his secretary, Jessica Hahn. Hahn also alleged that she was raped by Bakker and Pastor John Wesley, and that she was paid nearly $300,000 for her silence. As a result, Bakker was dismissed as an Assemblies of God minister in May 1987. In 1988, he was indicted on multiple counts of mail fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy. After a five-week trial in 1989, he was found guilty on all counts and sentenced to 45 years in federal prison, along with a $500,000 fine. His sentence was later reduced to eight years. Bakker was released on parole in July 1994 after serving almost five years of his sentence. He received support from his son, who spearheaded a letter-writing campaign advocating for leniency. However, Bakker has faced criticism from other evangelists such as Jerry Falwell and Jimmy Swaggart.

Personal Life

Jim Bakker was born on January 2, 1940, in Muskegon, Michigan, to Raleigh Bakker and Furnia Lynette Irwin. He attended North Central University, where he met his future wife, Tammy Faye LaValley. Bakker worked at a restaurant while Tammy worked at a nearby boutique. They got married on April 1, 1961, and became evangelists after leaving college. They had two children together, a daughter named Tammy Sue Bakker Chapman (born on March 2, 1970) and a son named Jamie Charles Bakker (born in 1975). The couple divorced on March 13, 1992. Bakker later married Lori Beth Graham in 1998, who is a former evangelist.

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