The Rising Hollywood Star Brought Crashing Down: The Story of Jonathan Majors and How Abuse Allegations Ended His Meteoric Rise

Jonathan Majors once seemed destined for greatness in Hollywood. The charismatic and talented actor had drawn rave reviews for early performances in indie films like The Last Black Man in San Francisco. His star was rising rapidly as he landed major roles in big budget blockbusters. But in March 2023, it all came crashing down amid disturbing allegations of domestic abuse.

Majors was arrested following an altercation with his girlfriend, Grace Jabbari. The case ignited a firestorm as more allegations against the actor emerged. A picture was painted of a volatile and controlling figure who verbally and physically abused partners.

Now, after a lengthy trial, Majors has been convicted and his once bright future looks murky. For the beleaguered Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s another punch to the gut as they planned future films around him as a major villain.

This is the story of the swift rise and sudden fall of Jonathan Majors.

A Childhood Spent on Military Bases Leads Majors to Theater Jonathan Majors spent much of his childhood moving from military base to military base as his family followed his father’s army career across the country.

“I’m an army brat, so I moved around a lot,” Majors told NPR in 2021.

That itinerant lifestyle had a profound impact. As Majors entered his teenage years he struggled, getting into trouble before discovering a passion for drama.

Majors has credited the theater for giving him purpose and direction during that turbulent time. He went on to study theater at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. After excelling there, he earned a master’s degree from the prestigious Yale School of Drama.

Even as a student, Majors was earning attention for his obvious talents. And shortly after Yale, he landed his big break with the 2019 indie film The Last Black Man in San Francisco. Majors earned critical acclaim for his portrayal of Jimmie Fails, a young Black man attempting to reclaim his childhood home in the gentrified city.

From that attention-grabbing performance, Majors’ rise up the Hollywood hierarchy was remarkably swift.

Rave Reviews Fuel a Rapid Rise After earning a Best Male Lead nomination at the Independent Spirit Awards for The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Majors was suddenly in demand. He drew more rave reviews for a complex and moving performance as war veteran Atticus Freeman in the 2020 HBO series Lovecraft Country.

At just 32 years old, Majors was hailed as one of Hollywood’s most exciting young talents. Prestigious leads in big-budget features soon followed.

First came Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods in 2020, with Majors earning praise as the troubled son of a Vietnam veteran played by Delroy Lindo. Later that year it was announced he had been cast in a high-profile role as supervillain Kang the Conqueror in Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Another coveted part followed as boxing icon Muhammad Ali in Reinaldo Marcus Green’s Creed III alongside Michael B. Jordan.

With imposing physicality, leading man looks, undeniable charisma and a growing resume of acclaimed performances, Jonathan Majors looked set to become a major force in Hollywood for years to come.

Until that early morning altercation in March 2023 changed everything.

Altercation and Arrest Sets Off a Downward Spiral According to initial reports from TMZ, the March incident that led to Majors’ arrest started with a fight over texts from other women.

On the night of March 24th and into the early hours of the 25th, Majors and his girlfriend Grace Jabbari were returning home from a night out in Brooklyn. At some point Majors began receiving texts from other women which angered Jabbari and sparked a confrontation.

The next morning, Jabbari was found unconscious in the couple’s home. Out of what his attorney Priya Chaudhry described as “concern for his girlfriend,” Majors called 911 bringing police to the scene.

When officers arrived they reportedly noticed minor injuries to Jabbari’s head and neck. Believing he was the cause of those injuries, police arrested Majors, holding him until his arraignment the next day. He was eventually released without bond under the conditions of a restraining order.

In Chaudhry’s first statements after the arrest, she painted Majors as “provably the victim” in the incident. The attorney claimed Jabbari had recanted her accusations against Majors in two written statements. Chaudhry also asserted her client’s innocence would be proven with video evidence and witness testimony.

But over the months between the arrest and Majors’ eventual trial, holes were poked in the defenses’ version of events. And meanwhile, a troubling pattern of abusive behavior toward romantic partners emerged regarding the actor.

Text Messages Released by Defense Attempt to Shift Blame Statements from Majors’ defense team following the March arrest attempted to undermine accuser Grace Jabbari’s credibility. To that end, attorney Priya Chaudhry released text messages between Jabbari and Majors in which Jabbari appeared to take full responsibility for the incident.

“I told them it was my fault for trying to grab your phone. I only just got out of hospital,” Jabbari allegedly wrote to Majors after the altercation. The desperate tone of the texts and her reference to just being released from the hospital did not reflect well on Majors despite the stated aim of exonerating him.

Over the course of Majors’ eventual trial, prosecutors disputed assertions that Jabbari had retracted her accusations or recanted her original statement to police. According to court filings, the defense was leaking select text exchanges in order to falsely imply Jabbari had changed her story.

So while the text messages attempted to shift blame onto the victim, they ultimately failed to prove Majors’ innocence in the court of public opinion.

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Previous Undisclosed Incident Comes to Light

During an October 2023 court filing, prosecutors indicated the existence of a previous undisclosed domestic dispute between Majors and Jabbari. The incident allegedly occurred while the couple was in London in 2022 and resulted in Jabbari requiring medical care.

Few specifics are currently known about what transpired in London. However, the district attorney’s October court filing suggests the 2022 incident could show a recognizable pattern of intimate partner violence consistent with the March 2023 altercation. As such, the London incident seems to have factored into Majors’ ultimate conviction.

The DA’s office was also able to obtain Grace Jabbari’s medical records related to the London dispute. Those confidential records likely shed further light on the extent of any injuries suffered at Majors’ hands.

Past Allegations of Violent and Controlling Behavior Emerge

In the days following initial reports of Jonathan Majors’ March 2023 arrest, anecdotal stories began emerging on social media recalling his alleged history of abuse. Posters claiming firsthand experience with the theater scene at Yale, Majors’ alma mater, recalled him having an explosive temper and violent tendencies.

Others shared secondhand stories of the budding star manipulating, emotionally tormenting and physically assaulting past romantic partners.

Two now-deleted tweets gained particular traction in the days after Majors’ arrest. Both posters said they were previously aware of accusations against Majors but declined to name his alleged victims publicly.

Filmmaker A.B. Allen had written in February 2023 about “a particular actor, relatively new on the scene…who, in actuality, is a vicious, cruel, abusive human being.” After news broke about Majors, Allen appeared to confirm he was referencing the Creed III star. However, Allen stated he had only known Majors to be emotionally or verbally abusive.

Fellow actor and director Tim Nicolai was less equivocal. He blasted Majors as a “sociopath and abuser” in a since-removed tweet. Nicolai further alleged improprieties had long been rumored about Majors going back to his time at Yale Drama. When asked why he did not previously warn the public, Nicolai cited a reluctance to name Majors’ purported victims without their consent.

Rolling Stone published the most detailed profile of the disturbing accusations against Majors in June 2023. In that sweeping report, multiple anonymous sources painted a decade-long pattern of alleged violence, manipulation and aggressiveness toward romantic partners.

Several women described relationships as Majors as nightmarish experiences rife with emotional torture and physical abuse. Notably, two individuals with firsthand accounts of Majors’ violent behavior declined to speak on record with Rolling Stone.

Through his attorney, Majors categorically denied all accusations within the Rolling Stone story. Chaudhry pointed to the reliance on anonymous second or third-hand sources as reason to doubt the veracity and context of the claims.

However, the number of similar allegations from unrelated sources begin to form an extremely troubling composite sketch of Jonathan Majors. Even if denied or impossible to legally prove, these accounts ultimately impacted the public’s perception and acceptance of Majors’ protestations of innocence.

Mounting Accusations Lead to Swift Professional Fallout

With Majors’ wholesome and thoughtful public persona unraveling through scandal, professional fallout came swiftly.

In April 2023, it was reported that both Majors’ manager and PR firm severed ties with the embattled actor as accusations mounted. Multiple upcoming film projects also began distancing themselves, no longer wishing to be associated with the serious controversies enveloping Majors.

He was dropped from indie thriller The Man in My Basement just as it was set to begin production with Majors starring alongside acclaimed actor Willem Dafoe. An Otis Redding biopic that was eyeing Majors for the lead also started considering other casting options.

Perhaps most painfully for Majors, he lost a high-profile advertising campaign with Major League Baseball. Also abandoned were multiple potentially career-boosting sponsorships and associations.

One of the most glitzy events on the Hollywood calendar, the star-studded Met Gala, rescinded Majors’ invitation in light of the domestic abuse allegations.

Adding insult to injury, Variety reported that Majors stepped down from professional passion projects. He resigned from the Sidney Poitier Initiative, a career development program for Black creatives that Majors himself founded. Additionally, he gave up his seat on the board of the sponsoring Gotham Film and Media Institute.

A Conviction Ends Dreams of Box Office Dominance

After nearly three weeks of testimony and two days of jury deliberation, Jonathan Majors has been convicted on misdemeanor charges of assault and harassment. While acquitted on more serious felony charges, he still faces up to one year in jail.

The verdict likely delivers a death knell to Majors’ acting career just as he seemed poise to join the upper echelon of Hollywood. It also presents yet another public relations headache for Marvel as the embattled studio now must scrub Majors from future films.

For Jonathan Majors, this is a stark fall from the great heights his talents once appeared destined to reach. While the full truth behind the facades presented by celebrities can be unknowable, a jury of Majors’ peers ultimately found him guilty based on evidence available.

Now as Majors awaits sentencing, his days as the next big thing in Hollywood seem a distant memory. Perhaps if more had paid attention to warning signs years ago, two lives could have taken radically different trajectories. But now, Jonathan Majors must face consequences for destructive patterns too long left unchecked, and dreams of box office glory fade.

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