Marvel's Jonathan Majors told the ex he's accused of abusing she needed to act like Michelle Obama and sacrifice for him, prosecutor says

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  • Opening statements in Jonathan Majors' Manhattan trial took place Monday.

  • Prosecutors painted Majors as a controlling partner, who once threatened suicide to manipulate.

  • Defense said Jabbari threatened suicide, and the allegations were the result of being scorned.

Marvel actor Jonathan Majors was so controlling toward his ex-girlfriend he told her she needed to make sacrifices for him like Coretta Scott King and Michelle Obama did for their husbands, prosecutors told the jury at the opening of his domestic violence case.

Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Michael Perez depicted Majors as an insecure and violent boyfriend who used a "cruel and manipulative pattern of psychological abuse" against British dancer Grace Jabbari in their relationship. That behavior culminated in an attack on March 25 in the back of a livery car in Chinatown after Jabbari saw a text from another woman on Majors' phone, he said.

Prosecutors accuse Majors of assault and harassment, alleging the Kang the Conqueror actor broke Jabbari's finger, twisted her arm, and struck her in the ear, causing it to bleed.

The outcome of the ongoing jury trial is expected to have lasting implications on the career of the Yale-educated movie star, which includes "Creed 3" and Marvel's "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" among his credits.

The case promises to touch on major hot-button social issues like toxic relationships, domestic abuse, racial inequalities, and stereotypes.

The March argument in the back of the Cadillac Escalade erupted around midnight as the couple returned to Majors' Chelsea triplex apartment after dinner at Walter's restaurant in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

As the car moved through Chinatown, Jabbari saw a text from a romantic rival called Cleopatra, who sent Majors a D'Angelo song and the flirty message: "Wish I was kissing you!"

The text sparked a tug-o-war over the cellphone in which both Majors and Jabarri claimed that they suffered minor injuries.

Before opening arguments began, Manhattan prosecutors consolidated the eight misdemeanor charges against Majors down to four –– two counts of third-degree assault, one count of aggravated harassment and one count of harassment. Jabarri was also charged by the NYPD for misdemeanor assault and harassment, however, the Manhattan District Attorney declined to bring a case against her.

Grace Jabbari, ex-girlfriend and domestic violence accuser of Marvel actor Jonathan Majors, after turning herself in to the NYPD on his cross complaint against her.
Grace Jabbari, ex-girlfriend and domestic violence accuser of Marvel actor Jonathan Majors, after turning herself in to the NYPD on his cross complaint against her.Alan Chin/Insider

In the opening arguments on Monday morning, prosecutors wove a tale of love that blossomed on a film set and then disintegrated in a jealousy-fueled domestic dispute in the back of a for-hire car.

Majors met Jabbari on the set of "Antman" and sent her his number through an intermediary, according to Perez.

The relationship developed quickly and the two even discussed having children and eventually getting married, according to the assistant district attorney.

Along with those plans for the future, Perez said, were flashes of insecurity and anger from Majors.

"He began to snap at Grace Jabbari and became manipulative," the prosecutor said. "He even threatened suicide to control her."

In June of 2022, she went to a music festival in the UK with a friend where cellphone service was spotty, Perez told the jury.

"He became angry at her and ordered her to return," the prosecutor said. "He told her that she needed to be there when he needed her."

Jonathan Majors at Manhattan Criminal Court.
Jonathan Majors at Manhattan Criminal Court.Alan Chin/Insider

The prosecutor said that he would shout and throw household items, breaking them during arguments.

He got upset when she went to the pub for a drink with a friend and confronted her, Perez said, pulling her earphones out of her ears and saying, "You're stupid if you don't know what you did wrong."

He then threatened to end the relationship, throwing her possessions into a bag, according to the prosecutor.

"He told Grace Jabbari that she needs to live up to the standards of Coretta Scott King and Michelle Obama to make sacrifices for him, because, he told her, 'I am a great man,'" Perez said. "He told her that she needed to comport herself in the way he needed her to be."

Majors lawyer, Priya Chaudhry, described Jabbari as a woman scorned, angry over an infidelity and then vengeful that he decided to end the relationship.

She described her client, who has turned heads for the chiseled physique he has sported as a boxer in "Creed 3" and an aspiring bodybuilder in "Magazine Dreams," as "a father, poet, devoted active Christian and an actor."

Born in California and raised by a single mother in Texas, his talent earned him a Fine Arts degree from the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale.

"There was serious talk of an Oscar nomination for "Magazine Dreams," a major winner at Sundance," Chaudhry said. "His career seemed unstoppable until she made these false allegations."

The movie, originally planned to be released on Dec. 8, has been shelved by Searchlight Pictures.

In her opening statement, the defense lawyer painted Jabbari as a reckless drunk, who was living off Majors' largesse.

She promised testimony from the livery car driver, who had previously called Jabbari a "psycho girl."

Chaudhry painted Jabbari as the aggressor, driven by jealousy, who scratched Majors face in the backseat melee, ripping two buttons from his coat and tearing his jacket.

The lawyer said that after the lovers' quarrel, Jabbari hooked up with three strangers and went to the club Loosies, where she was caught on video surveillance dancing, buying expensive champagne on Majors' credit card and doing shots.

Afterward, the ex-girlfriend came home, called Majors 32 times and texted him repeatedly.

"I guess you're with Cleopatra right now," Chaudhry said she wrote. "We were supposed to get married, how could you do this to me?"

She also threatened suicide, the lawyer said.

The movie star then spent the night in an Upper East Side hotel, she said.

Majors came home and called police to help her. When they found her, she was injured and naked from the waist down and lying on the floor inside the closet of his Chelsea apartment, Chaudhry said.

The injuries were the result of a drunken fall, the lawyer said, not Majors' attack.

Initially, she could not recall what happened to her, Chaudhry said, but came to blame the actor because he ended their relationship.

"In revenge, she made these false allegations to ruin Jonathan Majors and destroy everything he had worked so hard for," the lawyer said.

Read the original article on Business Insider