Fawning text messages between Elizabeth Holmes, the disgraced founder of blood-testing startup Theranos, and her ex-boyfriend and former business partner have been revealed — after the alleged fraudster accused him of psychological abuse.
“You are breeze in desert for me,” read one message to her then-boyfriend and Theranos COO Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani back in May 2015.
“My water. And Ocean,” the texts continued.
The text messages were released by prosecutors in her trial Tuesday.
Other passionate texts read, “Madly in love with you and your strength” and “Feel like the luckiest person in world BC I have you.”
The exchanges happened just as Holmes was facing questions from the Wall Street Journal, which was preparing an explosive story alleging that Theranos was overstating the capabilities of its technology.
Prosecutors released the text messages as they prepared opening statements for Holmes’ fraud trial, which began on Wednesday.
In their opening statement, Holmes’ defense team painted her as an innocent businesswoman whose company failed, and they reminded the jury that she did not run Theranos alone.
In filings unsealed last week, Holmes’ attorneys claimed she suffered a “decade-long campaign of psychological abuse” at the hands of Balwani, setting the stage for Holmes to accuse him of masterminding the fraud when she takes the stand.
Holmes’ attorneys said in filings that Balwani “controlled what [Holmes] ate, how she dressed, and how much money she could spend, who she could interact with – essentially dominating her and erasing her capacity to make decisions.”
The attorneys added that he also restricted Holmes’ sleep, monitored her movements and insisted “that any success she achieved was because of him.”
The relationship amounted to “intimate partner abuse,” the attorneys wrote, adding that “Holmes is likely to testify herself to the reasons why she believed, relied on and deferred to Mr. Balwani.”