Kirk Franklin’s Struggle With Pornography And His Past: Damaged 4

I was doing albums, albums that people were getting blessed by, and I was struggling with pornography. “Why We Sing” came out in ’93, and I was struggling with pornography. Stomp came out in ’97, and I was struggling with pornography. These albums God was speaking through and everyone was getting their victory except for me. I used to question and almost began to wonder, What’s going on?”
These are few of the concluding words of Kirk Franklin from an interview with The 700 club’s Scott Ross in 2004. I have had it in mind to share Kirk Franklin’s story for weeks now. I discovered this interview while gathering the materials. But other than Pornography, Kirk Franklin had other struggles and mess-ups growing up, and that is what I will start with, also in his words from his song “Let it go”, from his album Hero, released in 2005.

My mama gave me up when I was four years old, She didn’t destroy my body but she killed my soul…I never had a chance to dream. Ten years old finding love in dirty magazines…Now I’m thirty plus and still paying the price.

Had a sister that I barely knew, Kind of got separated by the age of two, Same mama different daddy so we couldn’t fake it. I saw my sister’s daddy beat her in the tub naked. Take it serious the demons in the man’s mind. The same daddy with rape charges now he’s doing time. Crack followed and like daddy prison thirteen years. Haven’t seen her…

Sex was how I made it through, Without someone to teach you to love what else is there to do? So where I’m from they call you gay and say you, ain’t-a man. Show them you ain’t no punk, Get all the girls you can. A simple plan that still haunts me even now today. Back to seventeen and got a baby on the way, NO G.E.D. all I see is the failure in my eyes…I was raised falling in the church. Made mistakes heard the Lord’s calling in the church. After service in the parking lot getting high…Even tried to tell the pastor but he couldn’t see. Years of low self-esteem and insecurities. Church taught me how to shout and how to speak in tongues. But preacher teaches me how to live now when the tongue is done…


A native of Fort Worth, Texas, Franklin was raised by his great-aunt, Gertrude, having been abandoned as a baby by his mother. Gertrude collected and resold aluminium cans to raise money for Kirk to take piano lessons from the age of four. Kirk excelled in music, being able to read and write music, while also playing by ear.

He received his first contract offer at the age of seven, which his aunt turned down. He joined the church choir and became music director of the Mt. Rose Adventist Church adult choir at the age of twelve…while his life seemed to be on track for a while, the announcement of a girlfriend’s pregnancy and his eventual expulsion from school for behavioural problems proved otherwise. (Source: Wikipedia)


Kirk Franklin’s Freedom

By Shannon Woodland and Scott Ross
The 700 Club – Kirk Franklin has sold more than 10 million albums in less than 10 years. He’s a three-time GRAMMY Award winner and a seven-time Dove Award winner. His hit “Stomp” from the triple-platinum album God’s Property made him a star amongst the MTV crowd. But Kirk’s career came to a screeching halt a few years ago when his private-or should we say secret-life was no longer a secret. Kirk came clean and confessed his addiction to pornography in this interview with Scott Ross. (dated 2004)
KIRK FRANKLIN: There’s always the boy who has the big brother who has the magazine under his bed. That’s how it starts. So the first time I ever saw one, I was around 8 or 9. I saw my first magazine, and from there I was addicted.
SCOTT ROSS: Did you bring that into the marriage?
SCOTT ROSS: Was she aware of it?
KIRK FRANKLIN: Not the first year but the second year.
SCOTT ROSS: (to Tammy)When did you find out?
TAMMY FRANKLIN (Kirk’s wife): Once he realized that he was having problems, he just came to me and he said-
KIRK FRANKLIN: -No, no, no, Baby. Let’s aim to make it more real. Let’s aim to keep it real. I tried to when we got married because I still had those single male ways.
TAMMY FRANKLIN: I would say in our second year of marriage he tried to implement it into our marriage-‘Watch this with me, Honey.’ It made me feel dirty. It didn’t make our intimacy sacred. I would say, ‘I’m not watching.’ I would get angry. ‘I’m not watching that with you.’
SCOTT ROSS (reporting): Kirk’s secret life ran amuck while he travelled to promote his latest releases. At home, Tammy had no idea of the extent of Kirk’s problem.
TAMMY FRANKLIN: I didn’t see any evidence that he was doing it at home. He knew how I felt about it so…
TAMMY FRANKLIN: …I would think that he was hiding it from me.
SCOTT ROSS: So you had a secret life?
KIRK FRANKLIN: Yeah, I was doing it at home. When she was asleep, I would go upstairs.
SCOTT ROSS: How did you finally get to a point where this thing has got to be dealt with?
KIRK FRANKLIN: We were in Los Angeles. We were in the bed that morning in the hotel, and we were lying there, and I said, ‘Baby, I need to tell you something. I’m struggling with pornography. I mean, it is a struggle and I have a problem with pornography. It’s a problem.’
SCOTT ROSS: And your response, Tammy?
TAMMY FRANKLIN: My response was to immediately be sensitive. What blessed me was he did look at it as a problem. A lot of guys, it’s normal for a man-
SCOTT ROSS: -It’s a man thing.
TAMMY FRANKLIN: Yeah, it’s a man thing. The fact that he wasn’t coming to me like that blessed me so that I just began to pray for him consistently. I knew that I wanted him to know that this is something I wanted to work through.
SCOTT ROSS: Together?
KIRK FRANKLIN: That’s what so weird about porn. You have different people even in the Body feeling differently about it. There are some Christian men I know who say, ‘I’d rather do that than cheat on my wife.’ I’ve had to shed light on, ‘Dude, ‘We’re cheating on our wives because whatever a man thinketh, so is he’.
SCOTT ROSS: You have a woman now who’s willing to walk it through with you. What about the people who are in it now? You are leaving this secret life. You’re scared to death somebody will find out about it.
KIRK FRANKLIN: It’s weird because you’re talking about the dude who was the minister of music at a church when I was 11. I have to check myself because there’s an anger that rises up in me. Gets me evangelically ticked off by the fact that I wished somebody would have taught me a long time ago about the repercussions of sex and flesh and lust and vanity and pride and ego. I wished somebody would have been holding my little behind accountable years ago. But let me tell you what happens to the gifted. The gifted in the church slip right through.
KIRK FRANKLIN: Because the gifted are able to naturally and emotionally control the atmosphere of the service.
SCOTT ROSS: So we relate to you based on the gift rather than the man?
KIRK FRANKLIN: There you go, brother. No one asks the minister of music whether he’s killing when everyone is crying and speaking in tongues. Nobody asks him, ‘Are you going home tonight? How’s your marriage? What’s going on with you and your wife?’ Nobody’s holding the gifted accountable in the Body.
SCOTT ROSS (reporting): Even though Kirk’s wife knew about his problem and prayed for him, no one held him accountable. That is until he met Pastor Tony Evans, a man who wasn’t dazzled by Kirk’s celebrity.
KIRK FRANKLIN: When I first went to his church, it was 1998, and I had an album out called Stomp. I was travelling to Dublin, Ireland, doing songs with Bono, I was getting flowers from Arsenio Hall, I was getting letters from Mike Tyson, I was hanging out with Denzel and all these big-time celebrities, and I was walking on a TV pilot for ABC.
SCOTT ROSS: I’m impressed, man! I didn’t realize you were that famous.
KIRK FRANKLIN: You know it’s all that garbage. None of that junk you can take to heaven, but I was bathing in it. And a lot of my Christian community was bathing in it with me.
SCOTT ROSS (reporting): But when Kirk and his family started attending Pastor Evan’s church, Kirk didn’t receive the same treatment he was accustomed to.
TONY EVANS: You come here the same way everyone comes here-through the Cross. At the Cross the ground is very level, so you’re treated like everyone else. We recognize your gifts. We honour people. The Bible says to give honour where honour is due. But there’s only one celebrity. That’s Jesus Christ.
KIRK FRANKLIN: But Tony Evans, he didn’t care who I was. If I didn’t get there in enough time, I would sit where everybody else sat. I got mad at it, but then there was something that was pulling me to it. And I was crying out to be disciplined. I called him one night and told him that I needed help, I have a problem.
TONY EVANS: Since the sexual area so defines men and is so accessible to men, it’s easily reached after as a defining point. It has to do with who you are and if you’re really a man, all of this wrong definition. Once we can clarify a person’s identification in Christ, and once we can help them to understand how to walk in the Spirit, they can discover that the law of the Spirit is indeed greater than the law of the flesh.
SCOTT ROSS (reporting): Kirk told Pastor Evans everything. In turn, this helped Kirk be honest with the people who mattered most in his life.
SCOTT ROSS: (to Kirk) And that started the journey to healing with Tammy.
(to Tammy): You saw the change in the man?
SCOTT ROSS: And he’s clean now?
TAMMY FRANKLIN: (half serious) You clean?
KIRK FRANKLIN: Four years.
SCOTT ROSS: So people can get free, but they have to admit they have the problem and they have to come clean with somebody who’ll hold them accountable.
TAMMY FRANKLIN: There’s a process.
KIRK FRANKLIN: If I have been set free from this one, anybody can be set free because I questioned for years whether I could be set free. Dude, I was doing albums, albums that people were getting blessed by, and I was struggling with pornography. “Why We Sing” came out in ’93, and I was struggling with pornography. Stomp came out in ’97, and I was struggling with pornography. These albums God was speaking through and everyone was getting their victory except for me. I used to question and almost began to wonder, What’s going on? What was happening, and this might help people: my victory didn’t come by my emotional experience; my victory came through truth. When I was taught the truth, that’s when I got my freedom.
Kirk Franklin presently has Nine GRAMMY® Awards; an American Music Award; 39 Stellar Awards (gospel); 16 Dove Awards (CCM); eight NAACP Image Awards; two BET Music Awards, a Soul Train Award and numerous others.


This is the fourth episode of DAMAGED; Hope it helps someone. If God could help Kirk out, He can help you out as well. Take note of what he did, (opened up to his wife, prayed about it, sought the help of a pastor…)

kindly share on your Facebook, Twitter…let someone who needs it see it. 

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We all have a story, most of which we are not proud of, but all from which we must have learned a thing or two. Share your story here. Send an email to Your identity will be kept confidential, except you state otherwise.

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Lecrae’s Confession: Good, Bad, Ugly

Thank you for reading. I’m really looking forward to seeing your comments.

About author


Tolulope Oludapo is a young Christian who lends his voice through the media by sharing practical wisdom for everyday living in the most experiential and simplified fashion. This has fetched him the direct followership of over 30,000 users on his blog, A blog he founded. He loves to write on varying subjects that affect life, faith, relationship...everyday living.
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