World's second strongest man Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, better known as "The Mountain" from the Game of Thrones is facing more accusations of domestic violence. Photo/Valli.
Europe's strongest man and Game of Thrones star, the Icelandic strongman Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, better known as "The Mountain", is facing new accusations of domestic violence. A former fiancé accused Hafþór of beating her over a long period when the couple was dating. The couple have a child
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Several other women have come forward in recent weeks to accuse Hafþór of domestic violence. The police has been called on several occasions to his home to respond to domestic disturbances. The front page interview with Hafþór's former fiancé in the local newspaper Fréttablaðið has caused quite a stir in Iceland, contributing to an ongoing national conversation about domestic violence.
Teenage sweethearts, violent relationship
Fréttablaðið published the interview with Thelma Björk Steimann, where she describes a very tumultuous and violent relationship with Hafþór. The relationship began in 2006 when the two were only teenagers, Thelma only 17 and Hafþór 18.
Thelma told Fréttablaðið that Hafþór first attacked her at a resort in Benidorm, Spain, where the couple was holidaying with a group of friends and classmates of Thelma. The attack, which took place in their hotel room was caused by Hafþór's jealousy over Thelma speaking to male classmates earlier the same evening.
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Thelma told Fréttablaðið that after this incidence he apologized and promised the violence would never repeat itself, giving her a pink mobile phone in what she describes as a "sorry-I-beat-you-up" gift.
The violence escalated when the couple lived at a college dorm
The following winter the couple moved to the town of Selfoss in South Iceland where Hafþór had a scholarship and contract. Hafþór and Thelma lived at a dorm at Fjölbrautaskóli Suðurlands junior college where she says the violence escalated.
"He beat me and threw me around, threw me onto things and broke things. He would frequently grab me by the throat, so that I would faint. Sometimes he held me down, or held me with one hand while he beat me with the other."
Fréttablaðið spoke to a woman who worked as dorm warden who witnessed the violence while Thelma and Hafþór stayed at the dorm. The warden confirmed Thelma's account, saying that she had to interfere on numerous occasions to stop Hafþór's violence.
Emotional abuse and rape
Thelma told Fréttablaðið that Hafþór began to use emotional violence to control her after she discovered she was pregnant. He spent nights drinking and partying with his friends. She also suspected him of infidelity, and one night after she confronted Hafþór he raped her to "prove" that he could not have engaged in sexual intercourse earlier in the evening. The rape took place early morning at the home of his parents.
Thelma told Fréttablaðið that she never confronted him, since the morning after Hafþór woke up sick, ending at the hospital.
After a two year relationship which had been characterized by physical and emotional violence Thelma finally summoned up the courage to leave Hafþór. She now lives in Denmark.
Wants "the truth about Hafþór to be known"
She told Fréttablaðið that Hafþór's friends and family always believed his side of events, that she had somehow caused his behavior and brought out the worst in him. She said that she believed stories that Hafþór had become a changed man, but that news that he was facing domestic violence accusations from other women had shocked her. The reason she was coming forward now was that she just wants "the truth about Hafþór to be known".
"I have thought this through. The reason I want to tell my side of the story is that there is so much wrong and injustice. His fame should not stop people from knowing the truth. It's terrible to learn how he has been treating other girls and women who he has been seeing, since I think they all have a very similar story to tell."