On July 7, it was surprising news when it was revealed that Mike Fleiss, creator and executive producer of ABC’s most popular reality TV franchise, The Bachelor, was divorcing wife Laura Kaeppeler Fleiss, and it was both shocking and heartbreaking on July 16, when legal documents obtained by The Blast revealed she was accusing him of attacking her while pregnant with their second child.
The couple, who married on April 6, 2014, at his Malibu home already share one son together, Benjamin, who’s 4 years old. Mike and Laura signed a pre-nuptial agreement, and had agreed to split legal and physical custody of Benjamin. But since her detailed report alleging years of physical and emotional abuse, for which she has provided alleged video and photo evidence, what looked to be a cut and dry separation is now looking like anything but.
Laura, who was crowned Miss America in 2012, filed and was granted a Temporary Domestic Violence Restraining Order against Mike, and she is looking to gain full custody of Ben, their dog Nina, exclusive possession of their home in Hawaii, and for Mike to enroll in a “batterer intervention program.” Amidst the breaking drama, Laura has deleted both her Twitter and Instagram account.
Here’s what you need to know about Laura Kaeppeler Fleiss…..
1. Laura was Miss Wisconsin Before Winning Miss America
Born in Kenosha, Wisconsin on March 2, 1988, Laura won her first local pageant in 2009, earning the title of Miss Kenosha. In 2010, Laura nabbed the title of Miss Southern Wisconsin and while she competed to be Miss Wisconsin twice, she won the crown in 2011, and represented the state at the Miss America pageant in Las Vegas on January, 14 2012.
Before winning the crown, judge Laura Spencer asked if pageant queens should voice their political view during the final interview round she answered, “Miss America represents everyone, so I think the message to political candidates is that they represent everyone as well. And so in these economic times, we need to be looking forward to what America needs, and I think Miss America needs to represent all.”
2. Mike Fleiss was a Judge at the Miss America Pageant
When Laura first me the man who would become her husband, he was judging her in the biggest competition in her life. Held at the Planet Hollywood Casino, and hosted by Brooke Burke and Chris Harrison, natch, Mike Fleiss was sitting in the judges’ seats alongside Laura Spencer, Kris Jenner, Teri Polo, Chris Powell, Raul d Molina, and Mark Ballas.
After being crowned Miss America, Laura won a $50,000 scholarship.
3. Laura’s Father Was Incarcerated for Mail Fraud
Born to parents Sue and Jeff Kaeppeler, during her pageant days, Laura chose to support mentoring children of incarcerated parents, a subject she knew all to well since her father spent 18 months in jail after being charged with mail fraud.
4. Laura and Mike’s Wedding Was Officiated By Chris Harrison
Just like many of Mike’s reality TV stars, when Mike walked down the aisle in 2014 to marry Laura, the Malibu ceremony was presided perennial Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor in Paradise host, Chris Harrison. Also matching the long-running series’ tradition, Laura was given a five-carat diamond ring, and they exchanged handmade in platinum wedding rings, all designed by none other than Neil Lane.
Chriss Harrison has yet to weigh on the divorce news, and due to the information of alleged abuse that’s recently come to light, with photo evidence, it’s likely the Bachelor host will refrain from saying anything on the topic.
In the documents obtained by the Blast Laura claims that Mike, who’s 6’4 and weighs 220 pounds, threatened to shove her down the stairs and after a dispute, “grabbed my body, forcibly pinned me up against the wall and held me there. After I broke free, he continued to use his arms and hands to aggressively push me away from him as he walked outside the door, still not returning my phone. Then he walked towards his pick-up truck parked outside in our driveway, shouting ‘I’m going to punch your face in.'”
5. Laura and Mike Have a 24 Year Age Difference
Despite the large gap in their age, Laura and Mike said “I do” on April 6, 2014, and it was a day she tweeted at the time was “the happiest day of my life.” Now, that their separation is turning nasty, their happy wedding day must seem like a far distant memory.
In the documents filed by Laura she alleges that Mike threatened her after learning she was pregnant with their second child. “While we were at our house in Kauai, Mike demanded that I get an abortion. Our son Ben was in the house, seated in another room nearby. Mike told me, ‘If you have an abortion, then we can just go back to the way we were.'”
In the documents Laura further alleges, “While Mike has frequently been verbally abusive towards me during our marriage, in recent weeks, he has become enraged, due to the fact I am pregnant with our second child. Mike told me many times that he did not want us to have a second child. He also repeatedly told me throughout our marriage, and prior to our marriage, that he knew he would ‘have to have’ one child with me because I was 26-years-old when we got married, did not yet have any children, and he knew I wanted to have a family. Mike, however, being 55-years old, did not want to have more than one child together.”
Before tying the know with Laura, Mike was married to his high school sweetheart, Alexandra Borbeck, for 24 years. They divorced in 2012.