Catch of the Day: The Hoppers, honestly

Hawkeyed reader Tom comes up with the catch of the day:

It took awhile, but the Hoppers finally made a lowkey but nonetheless public statement about the situation with Denice in their fairly recent biography. At the end of a fairly long chapter about Dean & Kim, the chapter ends with a brief passage under the subtitle “Difficulties in Life”:

“It’s important to remember that the Hoppers are real people with real problems. In spite of the many blessings, they also experience their share of challenges and heartbreaks.

“Mike met and began dating Denice Bradley during the 1990s when she was still in college. Denice, a native of Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania, was attending Belmont University, in Nashville, eventually earning a Bachelor’s Degree in commercial music.

“She and Mike married in 1996. In 1998, when a position came open after Shannon Childress retired from the group, she accepted duties as the pianist for the Hoppers.

“Sadly the marriage didn’t work out and Denice and Mike legally separated in 2005. A terribly heartbreaking event for the family, the situation remains a private and tragic matter where Mike finds solace in Christ, his family and music” (p. 192).

So at least they’re on the record about it now, although I’m pretty sure that is the ONLY place in the book where Denice is mentioned (and she’s not in any of the pictures in the book, either).

Don’t know how current this is, but the page is still active and one would assume it’s still current:

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  1. RF wrote:

    I always have problems with this. Unfortunately, couples have problems and split. I know all about how certain churches look upon this, but when it happens why do they either cover it up or not mention it? It’s like no one knows so as long as we don’t talk about it, it will go away. Yeah, right.

    Most interesting is that they separated in 2005, but there apparently has been no divorce. IIRC, Denise hasn’t been the Hoppers’ pianist for longer than that.

  2. Daniel Britt wrote:

    Are you kidding? To confess your sins among Christians is certain suicide … especially among “professional Christians.”

    It’s so sad. We’re like gluttonous cannibals who enjoy devouring our wounded.

  3. JW wrote:

    I try not to condemn as long as people don’t ask me to “support”, usually meaning “approve”, their behavior.

    I’m glad I’m better than “those” judgmental Christians, too ;). How do you get to be a “professional Christian”? What kind of degree do you need? Is the pay good?

    Seriously, I’ve met both extremes and the so called “radical love” ones aren’t any better. I just seek out the ones I want to associate with according to conscience.

    BTW, to the topic of the post, I think the statement acknowledged and handled the situation more than apporpriately. Bravo.

  4. Montana man wrote:

    Daniel, I’m not so sure that divorce is a sin. Sin, as in adultery, may be a factor in a divorce, but even in that situation the “innocent” party is free to remarry. Even the most legalistic among us would have a difficult time in maintaining sin on the part of the “innocent” party.

    Divorces in the Southern Gospel world are numerous; studies have shown that the churched have a divorce rate that equals or even exceeds that of the unchurched. I understand that the list includes the late Anthony Burger, Ronnie Booth and Ed Enoch, just for starters.

  5. scy wrote:

    “….Mike finds solace in Christ….” Interesting.

  6. videoguy wrote:

    Romans 3:23.

    That includes me and you, Montana.

  7. jb wrote:

    Why do you find “solace in Christ” interesting. We all do and should find solace in Christ. In fact, I did just that on my way to work today, along with Grace and Mercy. I’m sure you didn’t mean anything by it, I was just wandering.

  8. JW wrote:

    Montana man, I’m curious what you base your views of divorce on.

    There is so much I am not sure of my feelings on divorcees, but I am sure what Jesus said in Matt. 19:9, Matt. 5:31 32, and Matt. 19:9. For the record I condemn noone and try to love unconditionally, but in good conscience I have to point to The Bible for what The Lord says.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “Even the most legalistic among us would have a difficult time in maintaining sin on the part of the “innocent” party.”

    Doesn’t Matt. 5:31 32 and Matt. 19:9 speak clearly on this? Who is maintaining sin on the innocent party when it’s pretty clear to me Jesus is not?

    Who or how many divorces, church or unchurched, doesn’t make it right to me, I have to go by what The Lord says. Tell the IRS that “everybody” cheats on their taxes to see how those types of arguments work!

  9. Roger wrote:

    Even though you’d like to see more openness about this sort of thing it’s hardly surprising. Given the sort of “cannibalism” that exists, as Daniel said, to be open about your failings is to invite censure and ostracism. If the Hoppers hadn’t “covered up” for a time what was going on behind the scenes, do you think they would enjoy as much popularity as they do right now? (I’m ignoring the whole discussion of whether they have become more or less popular than in the past.) Certainly, making a diplomatic statement about it now is quite safe - now that most fans have moved on. Most people will find it interesting, cluck their tongues and move on. Fans will be more involved than that of course, but you see my point.

    I don’t think anyone should view this as a completely accurate account of what has happened - this is the official version, safe for the consumption of sg fandom. That being said, it’s enough - we don’t need anymore.

    Certainly, with performers being on the road so much, one would expect it to put strain on marriages and sometimes to unfortunately result in or contribute to a marriage’s end.

  10. Call me gone wrote:

    No you were “wondering”…or maybe you were “wandering”…who knows

  11. scy wrote:

    I found it interesting that they would mention Mike finding solace in Christ and no word of Denice finding solace in Christ.

  12. jb wrote:


  13. Chuck wrote:

    Denice can be found on myspace. She makes some interesting comments about Southern Gospel Music: “I’m not really diggin’ the southern gospel here lately, but c’mon, surely you can understand that! Oh, and the short ties?? I have NO idea-so don’t ask me anymore! : )”

  14. jb wrote:

    Chuck: I bet you have “no” idea…..By the way, where do they get those ties????As far as her comment on SGM, it wasn’t the music that caused the problem…

  15. James wrote:

    Regarding the Hoppers, honestly: “Sadly the marriage didn’t work out and Denice and Mike legally separated in 2005.” Actually, Mike and Denice legally separated in late May of 2002. It is true that “the situation remains a private and tragic matter,” but if they are going to say anything about the situation, they should at least tell the truth.
    Legal notice was published in the Greensboro, NC News-Record on Nov. 3, 2006 under the heading “Divorces filed OCT. 24, 2006 Michael Brian Hopper vs. Denice Bradley Hopper,” so it seems the final step has been taken.

  16. wc wrote:

    In NC you can’t be legally separated without living apart. They were living together in 2005 until they separated. So, regardless of what may have happened in 2002, if they were living together in 2005 then the clock starts over. Then, after 1 year of separation, either party can file for divorce.
    So, the book is correct. As of yet, a divorce hasn’t been granted. When it is granted, it will show up in the News and Fishwrap along with all of the others granted on the same day.

    re: the solace comments
    I’m glad Mike is finding solace in Christ. I hope that’s true because I had heard that it was a couple of other places that he was trying to find it.
    On the lack of mention in the book regarding Denice’s solace: keep in mind that his was an “authorized” biography. By definition “authorized” equals some degree of control. Does anyone honestly think that she would be interviewed for this book?
    Maybe for a Kitty Kelly version, yes. But not for an authorized version. No matter how thinnly something is sliced, there are still two sides.

  17. KS wrote:

    As a pastor’s daughter who has been through a very difficult divorce and has remarried someone in the public arena of Christian music I have a few comments on this subject. When I was going through my divorce twelve years ago the LAST thing I wanted was my personal business being discussed within my church family. There are always those who are “concerned” and want to know EVERY detail. Quite honestly, I felt it was NOONE’s business but my family’s. My father simply stood before his congregation and stated that we had separated and to please remember my children and me in their prayers. He closed his comments by asking everyone to respect my privacy.

    Just because the Hoppers are in Southern Gospel music does not mandate that they spill the beans about this situation. They’ve acknowledged it and, in my opinion, have handled it in exactly the way I would expect them to being the class act that they are.

    Divorce is devastating. In fact, authorities have compared the healing process to be the same as that of a death of a spouse. If there was any hope of reconciliation why would the Hoppers want to make this public before the dust settled?

    Anyone who makes their living by being on the road day in and day out is going to experience challenges in their married life. Rather than always wanting the “scoop” on this kind of thing, the right thing would be to uphold these artists and evangelists in your prayers and ask for God’s hand to be on their ministries and their families. I agree with Daniel..we shoot and eat our own!!!

  18. Rod wrote:

    I agree with KS

    It really isn’t our business. It is between them and God. Secondly..WC you’re an idiot…Get your story straight before you accuse someone of finding solace somewhere else…Again the ignorance amazes me.
    And for the record…Denice not Mike was finding solace with about three other solacees.

  19. bhy wrote:

    I can’t believe half the stuff you guys would say about this. I’ve talked to Dean and I know what happened but posting that would be REALLY wrong.

  20. bhy wrote:

    Right on KS!!!!! Every thing you’ve said is totally true,and the only reason I know all the details is because I’m friends with the family.

  21. Andrew S. wrote:

    I know this topic was mentioned over 3 years ago. But I would like to point out that Denice Hopper has developed a Facebook page using the Hopper last name. In parentheses, it says “Bradley”, which was her maiden name.

    Does anyone know if they are actually divorced? I did notice a little toddler in her profile picture who didn’t look familiar at all.

  22. Denice Hopper wrote:

    Andrew S…Hi there…I wanted to personally answer your question when a acquaintance of mine brought to my attention the “chit-chat” that has gone on at this site surrounding Michael and my divorce.
    I added “Bradley” to my Facebook because it is my maiden name and I wanted friends from school to be able to find me. :)
    As for the toddler in the picture, she is biologically my great niece that was left in my custody soon after her birth. I LEGALLY became her Mommy when she was 7 weeks old, but logistically became her Mommy at birth, as she was never embraced by her birth mom. I was her birthing coach, and even named the little sweetheart.
    As you can imagine, for anyone that has had a baby dropped on their doorstep, life became very different for me to suddenly become a single mom overnight! Especially after all I had already been through with Michael.
    But, I wouldn’t trade her for anything in the world-I love her as if she is my own, I promise!!!! Thank you for thinking of me! :)

  23. Denice Hopper wrote:

    And WC–thank you for your words of wisdom! :) You are completely correct that there are always two sides…People love to prey on the SEEMINGLY juicier side. Especially, when as you said, of COURSE there is going to be control as to what is published. It doesn’t really matter which came first, the chicken or the egg when such devastation happens. I have faced my failures. I’ve been asked lots of times to write a book-but if the complete story be released in a “Kitty Kelly” version, you are right-it would cause a “GASP!!” of disbelief. Just sayin’. :) A Lifetime Movie might be more in order.
    I don’t know if you’ll even see this post, but thanks. :)

  24. Andrew S. wrote:

    Denice- Thank you for your reply. After I posted, I actually remembered from a SN article that your maiden name was Bradley.

    I would have requested information via Facebook, and I admit it would’ve been better than on the open internet.

    Also, I applaud your taking care of your niece’s daughter and claiming her as your own. That’s such a selfless act, and I appreciate your doing so.

    Are you still playing the piano? Ever since you came off the road, I’ve been wondering if you were still involved in music.

    Once again, thank you for your information! :)

  25. MB wrote:

    Reinvent yourself, love yourself and realize that motherhood will be your greatest accomplishment and your most grand adventure.
    I hear you have remarried. Your husband is one lucky man. God bless you and your family.

  26. David wrote:

    Since you have remarried, are you keeping Mike Hopper’s last name or are you taking your new husband’s name?

  27. Denice wrote:

    Andrew S. Yes I do still play the piano-it is just a part of me! :) I have been more involved in Musical Theatre the past few years than anything…

    MB.: Thank you so much for your words of encouragement. :)

    David: I have wondered for a while now about how and when to go about re-identifying myself as far as the name goes. I sense a negative undertone in your comment and I hope I’m wrong. Forgive me if I am. :)
    To me, the fact that my name still reads that way really doesn’t have to do with Michael, or the Hoppers as far as I’m concerned-even though that’s where I got it! :).
    It is because that has been my name for a REALLY long time; almost half of my life. (I don’t know if ya’ll realized that.) So, trying to figure out when and how to re-identify myself professionally and personally in that aspect has been on my mind for a while now, as I mentioned above.
    Had it been my maiden name, at this point in life, I would probably keep it because that is my name. It is how I’ve established myself. However, the fact that it was my married name seems to be the point of dilemma, and I hope that I have cleared up some questions regarding my thought process and that it doesn’t become a subject of ridicule.
    I thought I would have put out a piano CD by now, and have kicked around the idea of releasing it under the name by which people know me, and possibly including a paragragh inside “re-introducing” myself. I don’t know.
    But I do know that I am not seeking any extra recognition by using the name, “Hopper.” Who knows, some might contend that I’m better off without that name. :)
    Thank you for asking! I hope I’ve cleared up your question… :)

  28. Mike Bush wrote:

    To Denice — Thank you for taking the high road in alot of the previous posts. I can never understand why people want the “details” of a public performer’s personal life. Having worked nearly 30 years in the radio business, I understand the fascination of how people pecieve me being in the public eye. Do you still play gospel usic as a pianist? I always enjoyed watching the keyboard players on the Gaither Homecoming videos as I love hearing the piano played well. Is it possible to “friend” you on facebook to kee up with any musical happenings?

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