It’s been nearly six years since Bishop Eddie Long was accused of coercing three young men into sexual relationships on three separate accounts and now the preacher is speaking out to give his side of the story.

Long stopped by The Steve Harvey Show for a lengthy interview, and although he says he’s legally not allowed to speak specifically on the allegations under the terms of the lawsuit settlement with his accusers, he still had much to say about the turn his life has taken since the accusations came to light. When Harvey questioned why he decided to settle out of court, Long said he was tired of seeing his family and church congregation continually scrutinized as the case dragged on.

“The old gambling song, gotta know when to hold it, know when to fold it, know when to walk away,” he began. “By then, after such an attack of media, the stress of all of that and all of this, you gotta look at what’s happening to you. At that point, everyone who believed in [me] was still believing in [me]. At that point, [those] who didn’t believe in me wasn’t gonna believe in me no matter what I did, no matter what the court says. Sometimes, even in life, you gotta figure, ‘am I gonna win the battle or am I gonna win the war?’ So, I had to make a decision to save me, save my family and save the church because continuing on was just gonna be beat, beat, beat and give more opportunity to beat up people.”

Long also reveals having suicidal thoughts following the accusations. “When I was being condemned from the four corners of the earth, I had a moment where I wanted to kill myself and was ready,” he said. “What kept me was not a scripture. What kept me is that every time I showed up here, you were here.” He also opened up about the current status of his relationship with his wife, who filed for divorce amid the firestorm of backlash that engulfed the accusations before later withdrawing her petition and deciding to remain in the marriage. “Well again, it wasn’t where we were arguing and all of that but….it’s a lot of focus. We still have some challenges, to be very honest with you. So I’m not gonna sit here and run the white horse. But, we’re together and we’re working through that and we’re growing. If it wasn’t for her, I would’ve been gone.”

Bishop Eddie Long’s full interview airs on The Steve Harvey Show on Wednesday, May 25.

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