What Really Happened to Sandi PattyWhat Really Happened to Sandi Patti

Sandy Patty is a Christian singer with an outstanding voice, and she was one of the first in her genre to gain attention from secular TV shows like The Tonight Show.

She was awarded prestigious awards such as Grammys and Doves.

But in the background, she had a secret sin, one she lived with for years, and when she decided to come to talk about it, she fell out of favor with the Christian community. Just like Amy Grant, Sandy Patty was canceled by the evangelical Christian communities in the 90s.

What sin was it? We will discuss it in this article.

Early Life & Achievements

Looking back, Sandra Faye Patty, aka Sandy Patty, is a US singer born in Oklahoma City on July 12th, 1956. She has an expressive range and a wide vocal range (soprano). Christian music is what she’s best known for.

Patty grew up in a family of musicians; her father was a minister of music and her mother served as the church pianist.

She first performed as a two-year-old when she sang “Jesus Loves Me” for her church, Phoenix First Church of God.

Growing up in Phoenix & San Diego and later joining her family’s performing group known as “The Ron Patty Family”, she sang at churches all over the country during summer breaks.

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After graduating from Crawford High School in San Diego, she attended San Diego State University and Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana.

She studied voice with soprano Greta Dominic and graduated with an emphasis on conducting at the latter.

While a student at Anderson University, she worked as a studio musician for area recording studios.

She has spent her time singing background vocals and recording commercial jingles, including one for Juicy Fruit gum.

In 1977, she married John Helvering.

At this time, Her career as a performer & studio singer has been steadily growing, and it was during this time that she first met legendary Christian musician Bill Gaither.

Patty recorded her first album, For My Friends, an independent effort, that landed in the hands of executives at Singspiration records.

In 1979, she was signed to Singspiration and released her first professional record, Sandi’s Song.

Patty’s career skyrocketed after she won her first two GMA Dove Awards, in 1982 and began singing backup for Bill Gaither and the Bill Gaither Trio.

Her first national tour was in 1984 and she reached national acclaim after her rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” was aired during ABC’s broadcast of the re-dedication ceremony for the Statue of Liberty.

This led to a number of popular TV appearances including NBC’s The Tonight Show, Christmas in Washington, and Walt Disney’s Fourth of July Extravaganza.

The 1998 Pepsi 400 clip was used frequently on-air at the end of programming.

She was invited to sing the national anthem at the Indianapolis 500 in 1987-1992 and 2013.

Patty’s inspirational single release, “I’ll Give You Peace” peaked at 2 on the Christian billboards charts in 1990.

As she progressed in her career, Patty’s concerts became so popular that they were frequently sold out at the arena and concert halls across the United States.

Back in the late 80s and early 90s, Patty was playing an average of up to 200 concerts a year with the help of over 30 staff.

During this time Patty’s earnings were high, she often attracted criticism and was even seen as the highest-paid singer in the Christian music industry due to a high number of tours, public appearances, and radio air-time.

Averaging over $100,000 or around $350,000 in today’s value.

After that she released many more albums including “Artist of My Soul – 1997“ and “Take hold of Crist – 2003“.

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Sandi Patty was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2004 and was awarded the GMA Music in the Rockies Summit Award in 2007.

Patty, released her 30th studio album in 2008, one year later, she received two nominations at the GMA Dove Awards: Female Vocalist of the Year and Inspirational Album of the Year (Songs for the Journey).

Patty’s been releasing tons of albums and in 2015, she announced her retirement from touring due to her old age and an interest in spending time with her grandchildren.

In 2016, Patty released Forever Grateful.


In 1992, the gospel music industry was in a state of shock and people were surprised when they received the news that Patty decided to divorce John Helvering.

At the time the reason for the split for unknown.

News later surfaced that during her marriage she had an extramarital affair with her backup singer Don Peslis, who was also married during that time.

Sandi Patty disappointed many fellow Christians because she was previously seen as the ideal of “a good Christian wife & mother”.

At the height of her career, she was extolled by the faithful as a role model for what a good Christian wife and mother should look like.

As the scandal of her personal life became more widely known, like Amy Grant many Christian stores and radio stations banned her music, forcing her to step away from the spotlight.

On this topic she said: “in the Christian music industry; divorce was just a big no-no.

There were people who, in their own hurt and brokenness, couldn’t come alongside of me. I was prepared to walk away from the Christian music industry.”

Patty said her divorce meant that many people stopped listening to her, but she didn’t want to stop speaking.

She released more than a dozen award-winning albums from 1996 to 2015.

After Patty divorced Helvering, she married Peslis in August 1995.

When confronted with rumors just weeks into her marriage with him, Patty made a full confession first to her pastor, at her church congregation, and then to interviewers…

In both interviews and in her autobiography, Broken on the Back Row, Patty expressed remorse and took full responsibility for her past actions.

She revealed that she sought forgiveness from those affected by her actions.

This was a very difficult time for Sandi Patty, and thankfully she was being supported by Charles Schulz, creator of the Peanuts comic strip.

He referenced her struggles in his cartoons and she’s quoted in his spiritual biography as saying he had deeply impacted her life.

Now, she’s been married to Don for 20 years and they have eight children between them.

Still, years after her fall, some Christian radio stations continue to boycott her music and some Christian magazines received complaints from readers who are disturbed by ads for Sandi Patty’s CDs. Unfortunately, many Christian fans have been turned off by Sandi’s past missteps and are choosing not to buy her music.

They believe that the singer’s past failures are too scandalous to forget.

Conclusion: Sandi Patty

As one of the most highly acclaimed performers in history, Sandi Patty has been in the music industry for some four decades and received five Grammy Awards, four Billboard Music Awards, three platinum records, and eleven million records sold, Sandi Patty is simply known as The Voice.

She is one of few musicians to have performed at three separate presidential inaugurations.

As much as Patty’s music has influenced millions of people, the market’s demand for it has gone down.

The 65-year-old announced her retirement and farewell tour at Morrell Wine Bar in Rockefeller Center on Monday (28 Sept 2015).

“No matter what you do, there comes a time when you should step away,” Patty said. “And mine has finally come.”

“Music has been my voice when I felt like I have not had a voice,” Sandi Patty said.

Patty says she “wanted to thank everyone” that has supported her over the years. This would involve leaving them with something at the end of her ministry “similar to Jesus’s last supper.”

She’s a true inspiration for us all to move on from our mistakes and let God use us regardless of the circumstances.

“I am grateful for the many opportunities God has given in my life and for how He has allowed me to spread my wings,” says Sandi. “Singing is my way to tell my story of hope, life, and love.”