A woman once engaged to marry the reality-TV contestant suspected of murdering his model-wife and then committing suicide revealed that she broke up with Ryan Jenkins because he told her he wanted an “open relationship.” But she also said she knew him as a “good person” who seemed incapable of such violence.
“It’s not something I would picture him doing at all,” Paulina Chmielecka said Thursday.
A model and actress herself, the blond Canadian was engaged to Ryan Jenkins for more than two years before they broke up last August.
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Seven months later, Jenkins married Jasmine Fiore, the model whose dismembered body was found in a Dumpster last week. While police intensified their manhunt for him, he hanged himself in a motel room near his mother’s home outside of Vancouver.
‘Swept me off my feet’
Appearing Thursday on TODAY, Chmielecka told host Matt Lauer that she never saw a dark side to Jenkins.
“He was great, very charming. Swept me off my feet. Sweetheart,” she said of the self-described millionaire she met in Las Vegas.
Chmielecka said her experience with Jenkins was apparently far different than Fiore’s, whom he married after a brief engagement. The marriage was rocky, and Fiore claimed she had it annulled, although there are no known records of that.
Jenkins, who appeared on the VH1 reality series “Megan Wants a Millionaire,” reconciled with Fiore at least twice before her mutilated body was found on Sept. 19 in a Dumpster 20 miles outside of Los Angeles.
“Is this the guy you knew?” Lauer asked Chmielecka.
“No. This is what is so surprising, because I was with him for 2½ years,” she said. “Of course we fought, just like any normal relationship. There was no signs of violence or anything that would potentially say that at some point that person might commit a murder.”
Jenkins had pleaded guilty in 2007 in Canada to a charge of assaulting a previous girlfriend, but Chmielecka has said she was unaware of that incident and repeated her assertion that he never showed signs of jealousy or potential violence when she was with him.
In fact, she told Lauer, their engagement ended amicably after he said he wanted to have an open marriage and she said that she didn’t.
“He wanted to have an open relationship. He was definitely a ladies’ man; loved his attention,” Chmielecka said. “It was kind of a mutual understanding. I said, ‘You know, I’m engaged to you, and I’d like to have a family and a solid marriage.’ I wished him all the best with everything.”
She stayed in touch with Jenkins after they split up and even texted him her congratulations after she learned through friends that he had married Fiore early this year. She said she saw him several times after the marriage when he came to Calgary, where she was working, and saw Fiore “from a distance” at a party they all attended in Las Vegas.
Who helped Jenkins?
After Jenkins’ body was discovered, the manager of the motel in which he hanged himself told police that he had arrived with a woman who checked them into the room. Police initially named Chmielecka as one of the people whom they suspected of helping him rent the room.
When her name became public, Chmielecka decided to break her silence about the case to clear her name. She told police she was working at the time and there was no way she could possibly have been in Vancouver.
The CBC subsequently reported that the woman who helped Jenkins had been identified as his sister, Alena Jenkins. That information, based on anonymous sources, has not been independently confirmed.
Chmielecka said she tried to imagine how the man she had intended to marry could murder a woman and kill himself.
“I try to put myself in that person’s shoes, like what reaction, what could have occurred?” she told Lauer. “I can picture him maybe having an argument with her, but to take it to the next level, which is murder and mutilation, which I don’t even want to think about, I really can’t take myself there. I have no idea what happened.”
Lauer asked Chmielecka if she wonders what might have happened if she had married Jenkins and his dark side came out.
“I can’t even put myself in that position. I have no idea. I don’t know how all this happened,” she said. “With the person that I know and his friends knew, to us it’s pretty much unbelievable. Everything that’s happened, it’s just horrible.”