- Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie’s life may have seemed perfect on the outside, but their friends now say their relationship had red flags.
- A close friend of Petito’s said Laundrie was charismatic but manipulative, and was often jealous.
- Another mutual friend said the couple “always had some drama” and fought frequently.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Friends of Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie have described the young couple’s relationship as “toxic” and full of drama, belying the romantic, dreamy outward appearance the pair seemed to portray on their social media.
Those who knew Petito and Laundrie said their relationship was so inconsistent that friends sometimes had trouble knowing if the couple were together, according to People.
“They had very high highs and very low lows. But she always said he was a good boyfriend,” said Alyssa Chen, a high school friend of Petito’s, to the magazine.
The couple, who met in high school in Long Island, New York, broke up when Laundrie graduated in 2016. They later rekindled their relationship and moved in with Laundrie’s family in Florida.
They planned their cross-country “van life” trip there, which made national headlines after Laundrie returned home alone on September 1 and Petito’s family declared her missing.
Ben Matula, Laundrie’s friend, said the couple’s trip made it seem like they were “living the dream,” but added that “there was always something below the surface where things weren’t 100% wonderful,” per another report by People.
“One minute, they’d be all over each other, the next minute, he’d be like, ‘We’re fighting,'” said Matula, recalling their relationship in New York. “They always had some drama.”
Nicole Kalanich, who worked with the pair at a Florida grocery store and later kept in touch with them, told Insider’s Rebecca Cohen and Haven Orecchio-Egresitz last week that they always seemed “happy and cheerful.”
“They never complained,” said Kalanich. “They were couple goals for me.”
But Petito’s close friend, Rose Davis, told New York outlet News 12 that Laundrie was controlling, manipulative, and often jealous.
“He was always charismatic, and making Gabby breakfast almost every morning, but you know, you can see the jealousy side,” she said.
“He also wanted what he wanted when he wanted it, and he’d find a way to get it. Not in a violent manner, but if he didn’t want Gabby to do something, he’d find a way to make it so she couldn’t do it,” Davis added.
Petito was reported missing on September 11 by her mother, who last made contact with her in late August. Last week, police in Utah released body camera footage dated August 12 of officers responding to a fight between the couple.
On Tuesday, the Petito’s lawyer and authorities confirmed that Gabby Petito’s body had been found in Wyoming. Her death has been ruled a homicide.
Authorities are now searching for Laundrie, who is missing and has been identified as a “person of interest” in the case, according to police.