Nicole Holder is the ex-girlfriend of Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy, who was convicted by a judge last summer of assaulting and threatening to kill Holder.
Hardy appealed the case to a jury trial, and the case was dismissed after Holder declined to testify, according to the Charlotte Observer. A year and a half after Hardy was arrested and charged with attacking Holder, his criminal record was officially expunged.
Hardy missed more than a season of football after he was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list while he awaited trial, before going on to sign with the Dallas Cowboys. Despite being suspended for the first four games of the regular season, and staging a series of controversial incidents ranging from sexist comments to going after a coach during the game, Hardy has found on-field success with the team. In fact, Jerry Jones, the Cowboys owner, has called him a “real leader.”
Here’s what you need to know about Holder:
1. Holder’s Story Was Detailed in a ‘Deadspin’ Article in November 2015
On Friday, November 6, the sports website Deadspin published a detailed story describing the night Holder was assaulted. According to the story — written by Diana Moskovitz — Holder was spotted on Fifth Street in Charlotte, North Carolina when she was seen by authorities. Just minutes earlier Hardy, she said, had thrown her against a tile bathub wall, pushed her onto a futon covered in assault rifles and choked her until she said “kill me so I don’t have to.”
Officer Jeffrey Kendrick encountered Holder first and ordered her to stop. He asked her why she was crying. “It doesn’t matter,” she said. “Nothing is going to happen to him anyways.”
Deadspin also obtained hundreds of pages of police reports, interview transcripts and dozens of photos that show bruises over much of Holder’s body, including her back, arms, legs, chin, neck and even her foot. You can look at the gallery, posted online, here, but be warned that they are extremely graphic.
This incident was allegedly the first time Holder had been injured by Hardy, but it had gotten close before. Holder told authorities that Hardy “terrifies me” and didn’t report the earlier incidents because “I know…that he would have killed me..he…he had said it.”
Hardy tweeted the following several days after the Deadspin story was released:
2. Holder Was ‘Unavailable’ to Testify Against Hardy
According to the Charlotte Observer, the state’s case against Hardy fell apart when Holder declined to make herself available to testify.
The Observer reports that Holder is believed to have reached an undisclosed civil settlement with Hardy, who’s shown entering court in the video above.
District Attorney Andrew Murray told the paper that efforts to reach Holder since November had been unsuccessful.
When it became clear to Murray that Holder wouldn’t testify, the DA entered a dismissal order Monday morning to judge Robert Sumner, who accepted the order.
“Due to the circumstances of this case, the victim’s testimony would have been critical evidence for the jury to consider,” Murray told the Observer. “The victim appears to have made herself unavailable to the state.”
3. Holder’s Reported Relationship With Nelly Was a Point of Contention With Hardy
While on a break with Hardy, Holder was linked to rapper Nelly for a short time. According to multiple published reports, Hardy became enraged upon hearing about Holder’s relationship with Nellly, and beat up Holder in a fit of rage.
Holder recalled the assault, saying:
Hardy picked me up and threw me into the tile tub area in his bathroom. I have bruises from head to toe, including my head, neck, back, shoulders, arms, legs, elbow and feet. Hardy pulled me from the tub by my hair, screaming at me that he was going to kill me, break my arms and other threats that I completely believe.
He drug me across the bathroom and out into the bedroom. Hardy choked me with both hands around my throat while I was lying on the floor. Hardy picked me up over his head and threw me onto a couch covered in assault rifles and/or shotguns. I landed on those weapons.
After doing so, Hardy called 911 and claimed Holder had attacked him and was most likely under the influence of Cocaine and alcohol, although it was later proven that both were under the influence of alcohol.
Hardy said during the phone call with 911:
We’re trying to get her out of my house and she keeps running back in every time. My neighbor is outside witnessed everything. … My manager is trying to restrain her she’s trying to break free tried to hit me with her heel … I’m literally running around. I’m inside the my apartment trying to get out but she’s blocking … she’s at the door and she won’t leave we’ve been trying to leave for an hour. I’ve asked her to leave a thousand times and she’s hit me in the face twice. I’m trying to walk around and I can’t walk through my kitchen because there’s glass … she broke glass.
According to reports by Deadspin, Nelly was a frequent point of contention between Holder and Hardy. The couple had originally planned to travel on her birthday in March, but he cancelled and she spent the day at her job. She was spotted walking out with the rapper and was seen going with him to the Ritz-Carlton. Holder told detectives that Hardy found out and that she believed his former Panthers teammates had seen her leaving work with Nelly.
4. Holder Met Hardy While She Was a Waitress
Hardy met Holder while she was waitressing in at Suite Charlotte in North Carolina and became a couple in September of 2013, according to ESPN. However, according to the new information detailed in the Deadspin article, the pair first met in 2012.
Hardy was then a second-year player for the Carolina Panthers and was actually dating Holder’s roommate at the time. She and the Pro Bowl’er moved in together in November 2013, a claim that Hardy eventually denied.
It didn’t take long for things to get bad. According to Holder, the change happened around Christmas. Hardy would ask what she was doing, where she was going and frequently called her a slut. Laura Iwanicki, a friend and co-worker of Holder’s told Deadpsin:
It was very up and down. It always seemed like there was an issue. It was either really good or really bad, and I felt I didn’t think there was any in between.
Although Hardy reportedly told Holder to move out of the apartment in March, the two were still in each other’s lives in May, 2014.
5. Holder Attended East Carolina & UNC
According to Holder’s LinkedIn profile, she attended undergraduate school at East Carolina University from 2008-2010 and made the university’s Honor Roll.
After leaving East Carolina University in 2010, she went to the University of North Carolina, Wilmington from 2010 to 2012. She later took a job as a Marketing Associate at 401k Rekon.
Although she was unable to testify against Hardy, Holder was still active on her now-defunct Facebook. She posted pictures of her traveling with stops in Colorado, New York, Paris and even Charlotte.