American megachurch pastor Eddie Long has announced at the weekend that he will go on hiatus from preaching, after his wife filed for divorce last week.

Long, who was accused of seducing four young men last year, told his New Birth Missionary Baptist Church congregation: “I’m going to take a little time off to work with my family.”

His wife filed for a divorce to end their 21-year marriage on Thursday.

In 2010, he was accused by four young men, aged 17 and 18, of abusing their trust and seducing them with cars, jewellery, holidays and cash.

The lawsuits were settled earlier this year, with no admission of wrongdoing.

Long told followers from his 30,000-strong congregation that the divorce was unrelated to the claims.

In 2007, Long was labelled “one of the most virulently homophobic black leaders in the religiously based anti-gay movement” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.