In an interview Fréttablaðið published this weekend, Thelma Björk Steimann, the ex girlfriend of Hafþór ‘The Mountain’ Júlíusson, claimed to have been fearful of her life after the first time he assaulted her. The interview follows reports that he had assaulted another ex girlfriend Andrea Sif Jónsdóttir.
Hafþór and Thelma, who have a child together, started dating in the spring of 2007, when she was eighteen–after he had persistently pursued her for six months. According to Thelma, Hafþór was with another woman at the time, but that he had ended that relationship because the woman was “fat and ugly.”
Jealousy and violence
Soon after the two got involved, Thelma claims his jealousy had gotten out of hand, and that he had demanded she end any form of communication with other men.
“Hafþór deleted all my male friends from my phonebook and from MSN messenger, so I couldn’t contact them anymore” she told Fréttablaðið. Early in their relationship the two went on a trip to Benidorm, where they ran into some of her old, male school friends.
“Our first night we went to a club called Joker and there we met a lot of guys I’d gone to school with,” she said. “Hafþór got mad with jealousy and hammered our table so most of our drinks fell on the floor.”
The two then argued when they got back to the hotel, where Hafþór told her that she could not talk to other men again. There, she claims, Hafþór physically assaulted her for the first time.
“Our room was on the twentieth floor and he threatened to throw me off the balcony. He pushed me, shoved me and slapped me,” she said. “The day after I was so afraid that everyone had heard what had happened, but he apologised and said it “would never happen again”. I accepted the apology, what else could I do? I was stuck in Benidorm for another week and didn’t want to ruin the trip for the other people we were with.”
The escalating violence
After the trip the two moved to Selfoss, because Hafþór had been accepted into a basketball training academy, and there she claims the violence became serious.
“He would smack me, push me into things and break stuff. Many times he grabbed my neck so hard I passed out. Sometimes he would hold me down with one hand and punch me with the other,” she said.
According to Thelma, a female superintendent lived at the dorm where they were staying and on many occasion the woman had to intervene to stop the violence. Fréttablaðið contacted the woman and she confirmed Thelma’s account.
After moving back to Reykjavík, the two went to the Hverfisbarinn club in the city centre on Saturday, where Hafþór threw Thelma down the stairs. She fell onto broken glass and cut her legs. She was then taken to the emergency room for treatment, but Hafþór left the scene in a hurry. Fréttablaðið claims to have a copy of the injury report from the emergency room.
“When I sat at the emergency room that Sunday morning, I was determined to leave him,” she said. “I felt so ashamed to be caught up in this, but while being treated it was discovered that I was pregnant. I thought that meant we needed to make it work and stay together.”
Thelma claims that after she got pregnant Hafþór partied a lot and she would often pick him up during the morning hours, sometimes from other women’s apartments. She says that once after she confronted him about being with another woman earlier in the evening, Hafþór forced her to perform anal sex against her will, while she cried, before exclaiming “do you think I could do that if I’d just been with another woman?”
The two were together for two years and Thelma claims that the relationship had left her “destroyed”. She told Fréttablaðið that she felt she needed to come out with her story because it was the right thing to do, and that his fame shouldn’t prevent people from knowing the truth.
Denies all allegations
In response to the article, Hafþór wrote on Facebook that he denied all the allegations and that he had never laid his hand on any woman.
“I fully expect this matter to be cleared up by the police, and I don’t think I should comment any further,” he wrote. “But I do want to state that I never committed any acts of violence against Andrea (his other ex), nor any other woman and I want to point out that no injury reports have been made regarding Andrea and according to all police information there weren’t any brushes or injuries on her.”
Hafþór claimed in the Facebook post that since he and Andrea broke up, she and her lawyer have tried to get him to pay her a financial settlement, which he says he will not pay, and that the news about the abuse are directly tied to that issue.
Thelma the violent party
Hafþór also denies ever being violent towards Thelma, who now lives in Copenhagen with his daughter.
“Thelma’s story is influenced by her hatred towards me,” he wrote. “I ended our relationship in 2008, because I didn’t feel like I could be with her, mainly due to her mental instability. I never acted violently towards her, but our friends and relatives often talked about how she both mentally and physically abused me.”
He also posted a screenshot of a letter he received from child protective services where he is cleared of all charges of placing his child in a dangerous environment following the report that he had abused Andrea.
Following the article’s publication, WOW Air removed an ad featuring Hafþór, after public pressure on social media.