The husband of Tammy Faye married on December 7th in Las Vegas and some thought it a bit shocking. Roe Messner is best known as the second husband of Tammy Faye Bakker. Tammy Faye was the well known and beloved wife of televangelist Jim Bakker – best known as the mastermind behind the PTL Network and the Christian theme park Heritage USA. Roe Messner was the contractor who built the popular Heritage USA resort and a friend of the Bakker’s.
But things turned ugly in March 1987, when Jessica Hahn said Bakker had raped her then staff member Messner paid her money to keep it quiet. Bakker resigned from PTL and he was succeeded by Jerry Falwell. Then, the Federal government started looking in to the finances of PTL. It was determined Bakker had bilked viewers out of money to keep PTL going and that Roe Messner had billed PTL for work never completed. Bakker was eventually convicted of eight counts of mail fraud, 15 counts of wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy. He was sentenced to 45 years in jail and ordered to pay a $500,000 fine. He appealed and the 45-year sentence was reduced to 18 years. He was paroled in 1993 and now runs a ministry based in Branson, Missouri with his second wife.
Meanwhile, Tammy Faye divorced him in 1992 and after Messner divorced his first wife in 1993, the two married. Messner still had problems of his own. He had filled for personal and corporate bankruptcy in 1990, owing nearly 30 million to more than 300 creditors. He was convicted of bankruptcy fraud and served 27 months in federal prison between 1996 and 1999.
Tammy Faye went on to become a cultural icon. She had her own talk show, authored books, and appeared on the VH1 reality show “The Surreal Life.” She had a very public battle with cancer, beginning in 1996. She even appeared on “Larry King Live” only one day before her death on July 20, 2007 at the age of 65.
Some tongues are wagging now that Messner remarried in Las Vegas only five months after Tammy Faye’s death. It is reported that the wedding was no fuss no muss, costing only $59 and that Messner didn’t even tell his four children until two days after the ceremony. To add to the scandal, his new wife, Melanie Hart, was a friend and former assistant of Tammy Faye’s. The two have moved into the unfinished dream home Tammy Faye was only able to live in a week before her death.
While some people think it is scandalous, I say live and let live. Roe Messner is 72 years old, so it is not as if he could wait 10 years before remarrying. And yes, he and Melanie probably had at least a friendship before Tammy Faye died. Tammy Faye was very sick in her last months and I have no doubt that Roe loved and cared for her.
Besides, this is not the first celebrity case of a woman marrying her friend’s widow. You may not remember it, but it was a bit scandalous when singer Stevie Nicks committed to her only marriage in 1983. It was to Kim Anderson, the widow of Stevie’s childhood best friend Robin Snyder, who had died of leukemia. The marriage only lasted three months.