Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez's fiancee has opened up about her partner's death for the first time since his April death by suicide in prison.
In a two-part interview with TV psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw on the "Dr. Phil" show, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez spoke about her fiance's death, revealing that she had no idea about his plan to hang himself in his cell, Daily Mail reports. Hernandez was serving a prison sentence for murder.
"I felt like we were looking so bright," Jenkins-Hernandez told McGraw. "We were going up a ladder to a positive direction."
She said that when someone called her to tell her Hernandez had committed suicide, she didn't believe them.
"I thought it was a hoax," she said. "That this was some cruel person playing a joke on me."
Hernandez reportedly wrote three suicide letters, one to his daughter, one for Jenkins-Hernandez, and one for his rumored lover in jail, Kyle Kennedy.
In his note to Jenkins-Hernandez, he wrote that he had told her "what was coming indirectly," adding that she would be "rich" after his death.
The former tight end's death came just five days after he was acquitted in a double murder case -- Jenkins-Hernandez went to the hearing, along with Avielle, the couple's 4-year-old daughter.
Massachusetts law requires guilty convictions to be thrown out if the defendant dies in the middle of the appeals process, allowing for the possibility for Hernandez's estate to sue the Patriots for the remainder of his multimillion dollar contract.
It's reported to be unlikely that a lawsuit would be successful, as Hernandez settled with the team previously, and may have signed documents preventing him from receiving further payments.
A press release revealed that the "Dr. Phil" interview will also touch on the former NFL player's "purported secret romantic life," which may refer to his relationship with Kennedy in prison.
Kennedy has been said to be the last one to see Hernandez before his death, but he was put into segregated population for violating prison rules on the night that Hernandez took his own life, according to the Boston Herald.
Hernandez had previously written a note to Kennedy where he talked about suicide, but the 22-year-old man thought that he was joking, said Larry Army, Jr., Kennedy's lawyer.
"My client remembered at that point ... a letter ... where Mr. Hernandez did state, 'I think I'm going to hang it up. LOL,'" said the lawyer. "My client at the time didn't read into that. He thought it was a joke. Obviously, three weeks later, when we see what happened, it has a different meaning."
Kennedy was placed on suicide watch after Hernandez's death because of the two men's close relationship. They had previously asked to be placed together as cellmates, but the request was denied because of the difference in their physical size.
"My client told me that Aaron Hernandez is one of the most powerful forces as a person that he has ever known," said Army. "Aaron could take any situation, no matter how bad it seemed, and turn it into a positive. That's the way my client described him."