LYNCHBURG, Va. – It’s been over a year since Jerry Fawell Jr. resigned from his role as president of Liberty University following controversy over a provocative photo and revelations of his wife’s extramarital affair with a Miami pool attendant.
In an exclusive Vanity Fair interview, Falwell Jr. and his wife Becki Falwell spoke about their side of the story. They discuss everything from Becki’s sex scandal with Giancarlo Granda to Falwell Jr.’s controversial yacht photo with his pants unzipped and even detail when Jerry Falwell Sr., the former president and founder of Liberty University, died in 2007.
Falwell Jr. told the magazine in the year following his father’s death, in which he also assumed his new role as university president was, “the worst three months of my life.”
“Because of my last name, people think I’m a religious person. But I’m not,” Falwell Jr. said.
During his time as Liberty University president, Falwell Jr. made a name for himself as one of the country’s most visible conservative Christian leaders and ardent supporters of former President Donald Trump.
“There was so much pressure on me to become somebody I wasn’t,” Falwell Jr. said. “I’d wake up each day saying, ‘How am I going to do this?’”
Becki, who told Vanity Fair she struggled with the spotlight that came with her husband’s job, said, “We had to put on an act.”
The former first lady of Liberty University detailed she felt lonely as Falwell Jr. worked more in his new role. During the same time period, Becki chose to get a makeover, recalling that boys on campus were giving her attention she had “never gotten before.”
She further detailed her 2012 affair with the then 20-year-old pool attendant in Miami Beach, Giancarlo Granda, calling it “the biggest regret I’ve ever had.”
While vacationing at the Fontainebleau hotel pool in March 2012, the couple said Granda approached them and discussed a hotel business venture with Falwell Jr. During the interaction, he slipped Becki his phone number, which led to “flirtatious” texts between the two. Vanity Fair said texts included messages like “Good morning beautiful,” or “Right now I am just missing you like crazy.”
Becki described their fling as a dopamine rush, saying “All of a sudden this young, handsome fella starts texting you and giving you attention and you’re like, ‘Wow, this is kind of nice.’”
During the summer of 2012, Becki told Vanity Fair she had sex with Granda for the first time while Falwell Jr. was looking at properties in South Florida for the previously discussed hotel business venture. Their sexual relationship continued and Becki claims they filmed sex tapes together.
As Falwell Jr. and Granda continued as business partners, Becki told her husband about the affair and Granda apologized. Despite the new knowledge, Falwell Jr. and Granda went through with a business deal, investing $1.8 million in a hostel.
The sexual relationship between Becki and Granda ended in 2014 after he became serious with a girlfriend. According to Vanity Fair, Becki ended it because she felt guilty.
When news first broke about the affair in August 2020, Granda told Reuters he had a years-long sexual relationship with Becki while Falwell Jr. watched. The couple denied Falwell Jr.’s involvement, accusing Granda of blackmailing them. However, when Vanity Fair asked Granda to comment on the situation, he told the magazine his memories of the affair are very different.
“I can assure you that everything will be answered in the book and Hulu documentary,” Granda reportedly said in a text to Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman.
Years after Becki claimed the affair ended, the Falwells invited Granda and his family to stay at their farm in 2018 with hopes this would be a way to say goodbye to the former pool attendant. However, the couple maintains the trip went south.
Becki told Vanity Fair that Granda assaulted her during the stay, saying “I kept saying no. I didn’t want to do it. But I was scared to death of him too, because he was still holding everything over me, so we had sex.”
She says she didn’t report the assault at the time because she felt guilty about the affair and said “it also took her time to process that what happened could have been a form of assault.” Granda declined to comment on Becki’s claims to Vanity Fair.
Falwell Jr. told Vanity Fair that Granda sent him a threatening text in 2020, which read “revenge is coming soon…I’m taking everyone down with me with my side of the story.”
Granda’s allegations, along with the infamous yacht photo with his pants unzipped, eventually led to Falwell Jr.’s resignation as Liberty University’s president. Falwell Jr. said that if he didn’t step down, a university board member said he would be fired.
Since his resignation, Falwell Jr. was caught in a $40 million lawsuit with his former employer while Becki was accused of performing oral sex on a former Liberty University student in 2008 when he was 22. She has since denied those allegations.
Falwell Jr. finished the interview discussing how he has been kicked out of the evangelical circle, saying “The religious elite has got this idea that somehow their sins aren’t as bad as everyone else’s.”
As far as their marriage goes, Becki says, “We’re together more than any couple you will ever meet in your life...He forgave me, and that’s what Jesus teaches, forgiveness.”