Co-founder of CrossFit Lauren Jenai has recovered from a messy split from her ex-husband and former business partner Greg Glassman, and found love again, Page Six can reveal — with Franklin Tyrone Tucker, a close high school friend who’s currently in a Florida jail charged with a murder he says he did not commit.
Jenai, who began a relationship with Tucker while he’s been jailed over the past year-plus, told us they’re engaged to marry while she tries to get him out on bail and prove his innocence.
“We met when we were 15, 16 years old” in Philadelphia, Jenai told us of Tucker whom she calls “Ty.” Their clique was, “the kinds of childhood friends who last forever. We had established a pretty strong bond.”
Then around 1989, “He went to college” then “went into finance and started a family.” Jenai wound up in Santa Cruz, Calif., creating CrossFit — a brand eventually valued at $4 billion by Forbes in 2015 — with her then-husband Glassman.
Years later, each had marital difficulties, including Jenai’s “very messy, expensive divorce” from Glassman (which dragged on from 2009 to 2013, and as part of which Jenai sold her CrossFit shares). Meanwhile Tucker, “ultimately landed in some unfortunate situations financially.”
The old friends later “rekindled a friendship” via Facebook. But then, Jenai recalled she received a disturbing friend request informing her, “I’m a friend of Tyrone and he may need your help. He’s gotten arrested for murder.”
In December 2017, Tucker and two other men were indicted on first-degree murder and other charges — including robbery with a deadly weapon — in a heist gone wrong in the Florida Keys. Prosecutors allege Tucker and another suspect stabbed to death Mathew Bonnett, who came to the aid of a neighbor being robbed at knifepoint. “You never think one of your friends would be arrested for murder,” Jenai told us, adding Tucker was at that point homeless. “He’s a very kind human being. Hearing him being involved in some violent crime was disturbing.”
She began researching the crime from her home in Portland, Ore., and contacted Tucker. “We spoke on the phone a couple times,” she said. “To visit [an inmate] in Key West, you actually have to do it through a video service… I set up video visitations. We hadn’t seen each other in 30 years.” When they spoke via video, “We turned into little high school kids together.” She added of the murder case, “I did a lot of research [and thought] something’s not right here… I took a role becoming his advocate.”
She hired a private investigator to review the case, as well as brought in power attorney Robert Hantman, and in August wrote an affidavit to Florida circuit Chief Judge Mark H. Jones on Tucker’s behalf requesting a bail hearing and defending his innocence.
She also became his girlfriend. “I’ve been single for a long time, but it’ really fun to connect and laugh,” the fitness guru told us. “We started having feelings for each other through the process, and developed a really special relationship. Now the plan is when he bonds out, he’s going to live with me in Portland. We’re going to get married. We are engaged.”
He’ll have a bail hearing Jan. 28, and Jenai’s willing to put up $1 million. “It’s just a huge relief to have that date.”
She believes cops have the wrong man: “He was an easy target for them,” she said.
Close friends and her own mom have been supportive of the relationship. “People who know Ty, like my mom, she knows the whole situation and she’s very supportive,” she said. “People who don’t know him — who don’t see my relationship with him” aren’t as enthusiastic. “I can tell they think it’s a bad idea and they think I’m crazy,” she said. “Especially my ex-husband.”
Hantman told us, “I have confidence that Judge Jones and Key West Justice will result in bail and charges eventually being dismissed.”
Source: Read Full Article