After Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss and his estranged wife Laura met in 2012 and fell in love, those close to the couple were celebrating their union.
“When they met and fell in love, everyone was really happy for them,” a source who knows the couple tells PEOPLE about the pair, who wed on April 6, 2014 at Mike’s Malibu home in a ceremony officiated by the ABC reality show’s host, Chris Harrison.
“She was good for him and helped balance him,” the source says about Laura, 31, and Mike, 55, “was really happy in the beginning and they were in love.”
But “obviously something changed,” the source adds.
Last week, Mike filed for divorce after five years of marriage. He cited irreconcilable differences, according to court documents obtained by The Blast, and listed their separation date as July 7.
The filing also states that Mike has a prenuptial agreement with Laura, with whom he shares 4-year-old son, Benjamin. Additionally, Mike requested joint legal and physical custody of the child.
Less than a week after Mike’s divorce filing, Laura — a former Miss Wisconsin who was crowned Miss America in 2012 — filed for an emergency domestic violence restraining order after she claims Mike physically attacked her and “demanded” she get an abortion over the July 4 weekend, according to her declaration obtained by The Blast.
Laura states in her declaration that the pair met in 2012 when she participated in the Miss America pageant and he was a judge.
According to the documents filed in court by attorneys Samantha Spector and Lisa Meyer, Laura said that she is “approximately 10 weeks pregnant.”
“Our son Ben was in the house, seated in another room nearby,” Laura alleges in the documents. “Mike told me, ‘If you have an abortion, then we can just go back to the way we were.’”
“Prior to July 4th, Mike threatened me that if I did not have an abortion, he would end the marriage,” she claims in the documents. “This was not the first time he had threatened a divorce during our marriage, but now, he was using this threat as leverage to force me to have an abortion. In addition, on July 4th, Mike made the following statements to me: ‘I am cutting you off financially Monday morning’; ‘You are paying for everything with your money’; ‘Next time I see you, I don’t want to see your stomach’; and ‘You have a choice, you can choose. Have an abortion or go back to Wisconsin, but you are not taking Ben.’”
Following her filing, Mike filed his own declaration, in which he denied Laura’s claims and requested primary custody of Ben.
“I have not hurt, attacked, or attempted to physically harm Laura or our child, Benjamin Fleiss ‘Ben,’ in any way,” Mike states in his declaration, according to court documents obtained by The Blast.
He goes on to allege that on July 6, “Laura was the aggressor during the incident and physically attacked me. I tried to get away from her as she was chasing me and hitting me. I have security footage from our home that shows the incident, which the Court can review.”
“After the incident, Laura was initially remorseful. I was leaving Hawaii for work commitments in Los Angeles. I spent time with Ben at the house in Hawaii prior to leaving for Los Angeles. A few days after the incident, Laura stopped all communication with me,” he alleges. “I don’t know where Ben is and I want custody of him because of Laura’s instability.”
“I am asking that the Court deny Laura’s request for a restraining order because she was the perpetrator, not the victim,” he alleges. “I further request that Laura be ordered to immediately return our son Ben to Los Angeles, and for me to have primary custody.”
As of July 9, Mike alleges that Laura has “ceased all contact with me despite my numerous attempts to speak to, FaceTime with, or see Ben. I have no idea where she or Ben are.”
He claims that he has “not had contact with our son in nine days. The last time I saw or spoke to him was at the Hawaii house on July 7, 2019. Due to Laura’s historical emotional instability, I am concerned about her and our son while in her care.”
In a statement to PEOPLE, a spokesperson for Warner Bros., which represents Mike, said, “We are aware of these serious allegations, and are looking into them.”
On Tuesday, a Los Angeles judge granted a temporary restraining order against Mike, according to court documents obtained by Deadline. The order will expire at the end of his next court hearing, which is scheduled for Aug. 6.
He will have no direct or indirect contact with Laura and must stay at least 100 yards away from her. He has also been ordered to move out of their home in Hanalei, Hawaii.
In addition to The Bachelor, Fleiss is the creator of spin-offs The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise and The Bachelor Winter Games.
If you suspect domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.
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