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Singer Defends Relationship With Mrs. Bakker

April 3, 1987

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ Songwriter and record producer Gary S. Paxton says his relationship with the Rev. Jim Bakker’s wife was proper despite reports it may have pushed the TV evangelist into a tryst with another woman.

Published reports have said Paxton, 48, developed a close relationship with Tammy Faye Baker as her gospel record producer in the late 1970s.

″A lot of things have been said,″ Paxton said Thursday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. ″I’ve outlived this for a long time. There wasn’t anything bad in the first place.″

The Washington Post reported Thursday that Bakker and others grew concerned about the relationship between Mrs. Baker and Paxton. The paper quoted Paxton’s former wife, Karen, as saying Mrs. Bakker was in love with Paxton or at least thought she was.

Bakker resigned March 19 as the head of the $172 million PTL television ministry in Fort Mill, S.C., after saying he had a one-night sexual encounter with a church secretary. He has said the tryst was aimed at making his wife jealous.

Paxton said about the reports, ″I’m going to see what’s printed. They used ‘allegedly,’ and that’s cool. If they say it’s sexual, I’ll sue for slander.″

″I’m going to see what’s said and then tell the truth,″ he added. ″My pastor said not to talk right now.″

The Post quoted him as saying that he and Mrs. Bakker were ″just friends, never more than that,″ but that he thought the relationship was starting to become too close.

In 1960, Paxton recorded the million-selling rock ‘n’ roll hit ″Alley Oop″ as the leader of the Hollywood Argyles. In the six years after that, he was a record producer who turned out the hits ″Monster Mash,″ ″Cherish,″ ″Along Comes Mary,″ ″Hurrah for Hazel″ and ″Sweet Pea.″

In the late 1960s, he directed a West Coast empire that included two recording studios, a marina, a mountain hotel and house rental business.

He has said that he lost everything because of drugs and alcohol. He said in a 1976 Associated Press interview that he moved to Nashville, had a religious conversion and resumed his career.

″I’ve had a lot of highs and lows, 90 percent of them lows,″ he said at the time. He said he had been married six times and had tried to commit suicide several times.

In 1972, he wrote the country music hit ″Woman, Sensuous Woman″ which was recorded by Don Gibson and was a finalist for a Grammy Award.

In 1976, he recorded a gospel album dedicated to, among others, ″Jim and Tammy Bakker and all of the out of sight PTL staff.″

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