Shayanna Jenkins's life was devastated when her fiancé, football star Aaron Hernandez, was convicted of the murder of her sister's boyfriend, Odin Lloyd.
Nearly four years after football player Aaron Hernandez's death, his fiancée and mother of his only child, Avielle, is still dealing with his downfall and his suicide in prison after being convicted for murder.
Shayanna Jenkins has had to rebuild her life and is now the mother of a second child, daughter Giselle, whom she shares with a former football player and amateur boxer Dino Guilmette. But Aaron Hernandez's life and death still haunt her.
MEETING AARON HERNANDEZ
Shayanna and Hernandez first met in high school in Connecticut where he was a football star and started dating. When Hernandez went to college to the University of Florida, the young couple broke up.
Then, when Hernandez was drafted by the New England Patriots in 2010, they resumed the relationship. The couple welcomed their daughter Avielle in September 2012 and announced their engagement. But the planned wedding would never take place.
Shayanna's sister, Shaneah, was engaged to a semi-professional 27-year-old football player with the Boston Bandits, Odin Lloyd, who was also a friend of Hernandez's. In June 2013 Lloyd was found dead, with 5 bullets in his back.
Hernandez, who had been acquitted of a double murder in Boston the year before became a suspect when texts from Lloyd showed he had been the last person to see him. Shayanna stood by Hernandez throughout the subsequent trial.
Boston University discovered that the football player suffered from the most drastic brain lesions they had ever seen in a man under 45.
Hernandez was found guilty of Lloyd's murder and sentenced to life in prison without a possibility of parole. Over the next two years. Shayanna stood by Hernandez, visiting him in prison and phoning him regularly while she raised their infant daughter alone.
Then in April 2017, Hernandez was found dead in his prison cell, having fashioned a rope from his sheets with which he hanged himself. Hernandez left several notes behind, for his daughter and for Shayanna.
A NEW LIFE
Shayanna's support of Hernandez despite his conviction led to a rift with her sister and strained relations with her family. As a result, she decided to move with her daughter to Rhode Island.
It was there that Shayanna was introduced to Dino Guilmette. The two started dating and welcomed daughter Giselle in 2018, and have since announced their engagement. But it was impossible for Shayanna to leave her past behind.
In January 2020 Netflix released the documentary "Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez," which made an explosive revelation: Hernandez was gay or bisexual and had hidden his sexuality from everyone including Shayanna. She said:
"Although I have a child with Aaron, I still can't tell you how he was feeling inside. No one can."
Shayanna revealed that she had been contacted by the production of "Killer Inside" and offered financial compensation to collaborate in the documentary but refused. Shayanna felt that discussing Hernandez's sexuality after his death was unfair to him.
The tearful Shayanna expressed regret that Hernandez had hidden a part of himself away from her and stated that had she known of his bisexuality it would not have changed their relationship or her feelings for him.
Shayanna's preoccupation is to keep Hernandez alive in Aviella's memory as the loving and devoted father he was. Shayanna Jenkins is determined that nothing and no one will take that away from her daughter, who is now 8 years old.
Shayanna donated Aaron Hernandez's brain for study, and the CTE Center at Boston University discovered that the football player suffered from the most drastic brain lesions they had ever seen in a man under 45 -- which may have led to his erratic and violent behavior.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "help" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741, or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
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