Hernandez had been charged with the murder of a Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player who was dating Jenkins’ sister, Shaneah Jenkins.
While Shayanna stood by Hernandez and attended the trial with his relatives, Shaneah took the side of Lloyd’s family, causing a major rift between the sisters and leaving them estranged.
During an interview with “Aaron Hernandez Uncovered,” streaming now on Oxygen, Shayanna described why she chose the former NFL superstar over her own family.
“This is someone you love ... and you think about your future and what’s happening,’’ she said. “I wasn’t going to let him experience it alone. I was going to stick by his side every step of the way.’’
Shayanna and Hernandez met and began dating while attending Bristol Central High School in Connecticut. Although they broke up when he went south to play for the Gators at the University of Florida, they rekindled their relationship after he was drafted by the New England Patriots.
Shayanna gave birth to their daughter, Avielle Hernandez, just a few months before his arrest on November 6, 2012, which is also Hernandez’s birthday. The couple planned on getting married in 2014 in a California ceremony, but the day never came.
Hernandez was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in 2015. That same year, she had her last name legally changed to Jenkins-Hernandez so she could have the same last name as Avielle, reported the Hartford Courant.
Hernandez later went to trial for a separate murder case — the 2012 double homicide of Safiro Furtado and Daniel de Abreu — and Shayanna was the only person who showed up during his first week of court.
On April 14, 2017, Hernandez was acquitted of the murder charges, and five days later, the 27-year-old was found hanging from a bedsheet in his prison cell. He left Shayanna a suicide note — along with two others addressed to Avielle and his defense attorney, Jose Baez — writing, “You have always been my soul-mate and I want you to live life and know I’m always with you.”
Following Hernandez’s death, Shayanna sat down for an interview with Dr. Phil and said that in her final conversation with him, he sounded upbeat.
"I felt like we were looking so bright. We were going up a ladder to a positive direction,” Shayanna said. “Our last talk had nothing to do with suicidal thoughts."
Several rumors about Hernandez’s sexuality circulated after his suicide, and Shayanna denied them on Dr. Phil, saying that she “asked him if it were true” that he was gay, and that Hernandez told her “that it wasn’t.”
"I had no indication or any feeling that he was [gay]," Shayanna continued, reported CNN. “I don’t know where this came from.”
Speaking with "Aaron Hernandez Uncovered," Shayanna said that when she discussed Hernandez's sexuality with Baez, it was "very hard because I was confused. I still kind of am."
“When you feel like you’ve kind of had it all with that one individual, it’s just something that took years to build, and now it’s completely breaking down,” she said. “But I would not want him to go through anything by himself. I was the only thing that he had. Hurt or not — and I was hurt — I had to fight through it.”
Shayanna relocated to Rhode Island with Avielle, and in November 2017, she sold their mansion in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, for $1 million, according to The Boston Herald.
In the summer of 2018, Shayanna gave birth to her second child, Giselle Guilmette, with Providence amateur boxer Dino Guilmette.
“I’m going to have my hands full but I’m happy about it,” Guilmette told Radar Online after her pregnancy was announced. “I’m excited ... She will have two sisters. I have another daughter from a previous relationship, and then there’s Shayanna‘s daughter with Aaron. It’s very exciting.”
Shayanna documents her family life on Instagram, and on the anniversary of Hernandez’s death, she posted a gallery commemorating her late fiancé.
“Today we think of you with heavy hearts and positive memories ! Although you aren’t here physically Avielle and I speak about you often and keep you in close spirit,” she wrote in the caption.
To hear from Shayanna and learn more about the case, watch “Aaron Hernandez Uncovered” on Oxygen.
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