Divorce of Derek Webb and Sandra McCracken, Amidst Suspected Adultery, Rocks Christian Music Industry

Derek Webb and Sandra McCracken
Derek Webb and Sandra McCracken

When gospel artist Amy Grant got divorced in 1999 and married country singer Vince Gill a year later, the public breakup rocked the Christian music industry, threatened to derail her career and raised questions about the personal lives of prominent Christian artists.

Now, the issue is back, this time for popular musicians Derek Webb and Sandra McCracken, who announced on April 17 that their 13-year marriage was ending after an affair.

The fallout will likely be different this time around, in part because of changes in the music industry and a growing sense among evangelicals that divorce — while a disappointment — may be inevitable for some marriages.

The alleged extramarital affair that apparently led to the breakup, however, may be more problematic.

Webb and McCracken have been seen by some as a power couple among Christian artists in Nashville, Tenn., successfully reaching both religious and secular audiences. With three GMA Dove Awards and eight solo albums, Webb entered the music industry as a member of the Christian contemporary band Caedmon’s Call, but he later emerged with a successful solo career.

His NoiseTrade music website has also been seen as an innovative space for a mixture of Christian and independent music. With eight albums of her own, McCracken also wrote songs for Caedmon’s Call and for her husband.

The reaction has been mostly supportive for the couple, but Webb drew particular scrutiny over one sentence in the announcement.

“While we both acknowledge our own human sinfulness, Derek has taken full responsibility for the events which led to this decision,” the statement said.

Those who know the couple say Webb was involved with another woman. According to court documents related to the other woman’s pending divorce, the two were involved as early as last August, just as his latest album, “I Was Wrong, I’m Sorry & I Love You,” was released. He told the Christian Broadcasting Network he made the album for the broader Christian Church.

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Religion News Service

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