One year after PTL founder Jim Bakker resigned his ministry because of a sexual encounter with Jessica Hahn, the television preacher who earned millions is driving a borrowed car while Hahn is living in a mansion.
Bakker and his wife, Tammy, now live in a modest stucco house in Palm Springs, Calif. Tammy recently got a check for her birthday from Bakker's parents, who said they figured the couple needed the money.In Los Angeles, Hahn, a former $80-a-week church secretary at the Massapequa, N.Y., Full Gospel Tabernacle Church, admitted her life has improved since her name became a household word.
"A year ago I was sitting in my tiny little apartment with reporters banging at my door," Hahn said. "God is saying, `Well, Jessica, now it's your turn . . . you can have a little bit of heaven on Earth."'
The Charlotte Observer, the newspaper that broke the PTL story, Saturday reported dramatic changes in the lifestyles of the rich, famous and flamboyant Bakkers and equally dramatic changes in the life of Hahn.
"We hurt so bad we were one level next to death," Bakker told The Observer. "For months we were like in comas. Oh, it was the most hideous thing that's ever happened.
A year after the scandal, both Bakkers retain their childlike nature a characteristic that once endeared them to elderly women who dipped into life savings to bankroll such extravagances as a million-dollar parsonage, limousines, furs, diamonds, travel, facelifts and tummy tucks.
Now living in much more modest surroundings, the Bakkers apparently continue to believe the world turns on its axis for them but they admit life isn't what it used to be.
"It's hard. We've sold our cars. We've sold practically everything," Tammy Bakker said.
Still, the couple keeps up appearances. They drive a borrowed Cadillac Seville and she continues to wear a hefty amount of mascara and gaudy jewelry.
"Jim gave me this for my birthday," Tammy said, referring to a huge ring that adorns her hand. "It only cost $45."
And they get help from home. Bakker's 81-year-old parents, Raleigh and Furnia, both now unemployed themselves, mailed Tammy a check on her birthday.
"We figure money is the best thing," Furnia Bakker said.
Hahn claimed she was a virgin when she was introduced to Bakker in a Florida hotel room in 1980. But he claimed she was thoroughly knowledgeable about sexual techniques and seduced him.
Hahn, who alleged Bakker raped her and caused her such shame that she contemplated suicide, is now a jetsetter living in Hugh Hefner's Playboy mansion, where she has a bedroom with red velvet walls and an Andy Warhol silkscreen of Marilyn Monroe over her bed. She flys to New York for nightclub parties and drives a new Mercedes 560 SL convertible.
"It's a year later and the turnaround in my life personally has been tremendous," Hahn said. "I want to live. I want to be able to laugh with people. I want to have fun . . . I want to make Jim and Tammy jokes. I want to do `Saturday Night Live."'
But Hahn said she would trade all the fame and fortune tomorrow if it would heal the estrangement from her mother, Jessica Moylan, who is none too pleased with her daughter's current life.
Bakker said he, too, is hurt by the loss of friends and loved ones, many of whom quickly turned on him to embrace various new leaders at PTL.