Lauren Jenai, a multimillionaire who says she co-founded CrossFit along with her former husband, plans to marry her former high school friend Franklin Tyrone Tucker, who is currently awaiting trial on a murder charge.
Jenai and Tucker, who had been living in Key West, connected over Facebook following her divorce. Their entire relationship has been over video chat because the Monroe County Jail in Florida, where Tucker has been in custody since December 2017, does not allow in-person visitation. Jenai lives in Oregon.
They had planned to get married following a bond hearing in January of 2019, but the judge denied bail. The plan now is to tie the knot at the detention center. Jenai has said she has no intention of drafting a prenup.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Franklin Tyrone Tucker is Accused in a Case Nicknamed the ‘Tree House Murder’
Franklin Tyrone Tucker was arrested in late 2017 in connection to two stabbings, one of which turned deadly. Investigators said Tucker and the other suspect, identified as Rory Hank Wilson, attacked Paula Belmonte on November 17, 2017, at the treehouse where she had been living.
The suspects’ motive had been to rob Belmonte of cash and drugs, according to CBS affiliate WPEC-TV. Belmonte’s neck was cut, allegedly by Wilson. She survived the attack and identified Wilson as one of the two attackers.
Her neighbor was killed in the attack. Mathew Bonnett, 59, lived in a trailer on the property and had reportedly gone to check on Belmonte. Police said Bonnett was stabbed multiple times, allegedly by Tucker.
2. Tucker is Charged With Multiple Felonies Including Murder; His DNA Was Not Found at the Scene
Franklin Tyrone Tucker has insisted that he is innocent. Investigators did not find any physical evidence linking him to the scene, including DNA.
The Miami Herald reported that a knife found near the scene contained Rory Hank Wilson’s DNA. His DNA was also found in a mask that Belmonte had said one of the robbers was wearing. Police never found a second knife.
Tucker has been behind bars in Monroe County, Florida since his arrest in December of 2017. According to inmate records, the charges include:
• Second-Degree Murder
• Armed Robbery
• Wearing a Mask While Committing a Felony
• Aggravated Battery With a Deadly Weapon
• Tampering With a Witness
3. Lauren Jenai’s Divorce From Greg Glassman Involved a Lengthy Court Battle Over Her Stake in CrossFit
Lauren Jenai was previously married to Greg Glassman, the founder of CrossFit. Glassman told Inc.com in a 2013 interview that Jenai had been a client at his previous gym called Spa Fitness and that she had worked as a hairdresser. They got married and have four children together.
The marriage ran into trouble in 2009 and Jenai filed for divorce in 2010. But it took three more years before the divorce could be finalized because of financial disagreements. Jenai owned 50 percent of CrossFit and planned to sell her stake to a venture capital firm called Anthos Capital for $20 million. Glassman disputed the sale in court. He eventually bought Jenai’s shares as a settlement.
Jenai describes herself as a co-founder of CrossFit. She reportedly handled the books and taught classes. She wrote on her LinkedIn profile that she “Developed, Branded, and Monetized the concept that revolutionized the fitness industry.”
However, her ex-husband disputes that she was a co-founder. CrossFit spokesman Ben Allen stated in early 2019 that Jenai “is in no way associated with CrossFit at this time and was never a part of its founding.”
Jenai launched her own fitness company called Manifest in 2015.
4. Lauren Jenai Connected With Franklin Tucker on Facebook But He Was Arrested Before They Could Meet in Person; She Says Their Relationship Grew Over Video Chat But They’ve Been Banned From Continuing Those Chats
Lauren Jenai told Page Six that she had gone to high school with Franklin Tyrone Tucker. She wrote on her Facebook page that she attended the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts but dropped out before graduating.
Jenai said she and Tucker reconnected following their respective divorces. But they have never been together in the same room since the romantic relationship started due to his arrest. The jail does not allow in-person visitation, so they got to know each other over the phone and via video chat.
But those video visits were banned after Jenai got, in her woeds, “a little risque.” She told Page Six, “Our love transcends concrete walls. We’ve never been together, we’ve never touched in that way. Obviously those feelings come up… I was touching my boobs.” The jail prohibited any further video chats for three years. Jenai then used her mother’s account to contact Tucker. That account has also been suspended.
5. Lauren Jenai Says She Does Not Want a Prenup
Lauren Jenai has dismissed the idea of drafting a prenuptial agreement. She says she trusts Tucker and that the idea of having such a document “feels a little inappropriate.” Jenai’s net worth is unclear, but her ex-husband’s net worth is estimated to be about $100 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
Tucker appeared before a judge in January of 2019 for a bond hearing. The judge decided to deny his request for bail. Jenai had offered $1 million for bond. She had stated that she firmly believes Tucker is innocent.
Since bail was denied, the couple plans to tie the knot sometime in the summer of 2019 at the detention center.