NEW YORK — (AP) — Jonathan Majors’ former girlfriend told a Manhattan jury that the actor was prone to fits of rage that escalated in the months leading up to his arrest for allegedly attacking her in the backseat of a car last spring.
During hours of tearful testimony on Tuesday, Grace Jabbari described Majors as a controlling, manipulative partner who hurled household objects at the wall, tried to control her socially, and repeatedly threatened to take his own life in the aftermath of their fights.
“It felt like I was walking around on eggshells,” said Jabbari, a 30-year-old professional dancer from the United Kingdom. “I had to be perfect.”
Majors avoided eye contact with Jabbari during the morning testimony, scribbling notes to his lawyer or thumbing through his gold-leafed Bible as she recounted his struggle to contain his “violent temper.”
The testimony came on the second day of the trial against Majors, a rising Hollywood film actor whose portrayal of the comic book supervillain “Kang the Conqueror” was set to anchor the next phase of the Marvel cinematic universe.
The fate of those films remains uncertain since his arrest in March for allegedly assaulting Jabbari after she snatched his phone while they were in the backseat of a car to read a text sent by another woman. An attorney for Majors has maintained that he was the victim of the confrontation.
Majors appears to be betting that the trial – a rarity for misdemeanor cases, which typically settle long before reaching a jury – may allow him to clear his name in an industry that has paused several of his projects following the arrest.
It was during the July 2022 filming for one of those now-postponed features – the Sundance-award winning drama “Magazine Dreams” – that Majors first became “full of rage and aggression,” according to Jabbari.
Struggling with a strict dieting regimen and grueling training schedule necessary for the part as a body-builder, Majors lashed out at Jabbari, throwing objects during an argument that left her ducking for cover in their West Hollywood home, she said. Photos shared with the jury show the inside of the house where the walls were dented by candlesticks and bits of broken glass littered the floor.
A few months later, while filming in England, Majors again blew up on Jabbari after she came home from a bar “tipsy” with a friend, she said.
In a recording played for the court, Majors can be heard berating Jabbari for straying from “the plan,” explaining that she should model her behavior after the supportive partners of other famous men, like Coretta Scott King and Michelle Obama.
“I’m a great man. A great man!” Majors declared. “There needs to be a great woman who makes sacrifices.”
Though Jabbari did not describe Majors laying his hands on her prior to the March 25th incident, she said that she “feared him physically quite a lot.” On several occasions, she said, Majors threatened suicide, begging her not to tell anyone about his outbursts.
“He said he was a monster and he wanted to kill himself and he put actions in place to do so,” Jabbari said.
Prosecutors have sought to paint the episodes as part of a “cruel and manipulative pattern of abuse” that culminated with Majors striking his girlfriend on the drive back from dinner in Brooklyn this past March.
On the night, Jabbari says Majors pulled her finger, twisted her arm behind her back and hit her in the face after she grabbed the actor’s phone out of his hands to read a text message sent from another woman that read: “Wish I was kissing you right now.” Police said Jabbari was treated at a hospital for minor injuries.
Attorneys for Majors have said that Jabbari was the aggressor in the situation. During their opening arguments Monday, one of his defense attorneys, Priya Chaudhry, described Jabbari as a spurned lover who was seeking “to ruin Jonathan Majors and take away everything he has spent his whole life working for.”
Chaudhry also invoked Majors’ race – he is Black, Jabbari is white – as a potential reason that he was blamed for the confrontation.
Jabbari is expected to return to the stand Tuesday afternoon.
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