Aug. 25, 2009 — -- Friends of murdered swimsuit model Jasmine Fiore and her reality-star husband, Ryan Jenkins, say the couple led a volatile Las Vegas lifestyle, filled with partying, gambling and drinking -- as well as drama -- until the violent end.
"Jasmine was playing poker with a big group of friends at the Hilton Hotel," a source with knowledge of Fiore's last night alive told ABCNews.com. "She was being very rude and kept putting Ryan down. It was really awkward. She has a cutting sense of humor. He was getting really angry, and it totally set the tone for the rest of the evening."
"Afterwards, everyone went to the Ivy for drinks," the source continued. "She spent an enormous amount of time in the bathroom on the phone. She was also sniffling a lot, provoking some of the girls to ask her if she was all right. She said she was fine and winked, and they assumed the sniffling and constant nose blowing was because she was doing cocaine. Ryan started asking who she was on the phone with, and she said her mom. It was 12:30 at night, and she was not on the phone with her mom. Jasmine and Ryan had a blow-out fight in front of everyone. He kept screaming, 'Who were you talking to?'" Friends say they finally left the club at about 130 in the morning.
Jenkins, a suspect in his wife's grisly murder, was found Sunday hanging from a coat rack in a Canadian motel room, after leading police on a massive manhunt following the Aug. 15 discovery of Fiore's mutilated body.
In an extensive interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Marta Montoya, a close friend of Fiore, agreed that she and Jenkins often hit rough patches, characterizing the couple's relationship as explosive from the time they met in March at a club and eloped days later.
"They were always kissing, making out in public -- or they were always fighting. It never seemed to be balanced," said Montoya, a sometime-model and aesthetician.
She also described Fiore as a "good person" who succumbed to the vices of Vegas.
"I think Vegas changed her," she said. "She just got out of control."
ABCNews.com's source agreed.
"She definitely partook in the Vegas party scene way more than he did, and it often made him jealous," the source said. "Also, the more wasted she got, the more angry a person she became, and the meaner her jokes. It was emasculating for him."
Jasmine Fiore Was Smart and Savvy
Montoya said Fiore and Jenkins would drink excessively, then behave badly. Once, she said, Jenkins lifted up Fiore's dress and pulled down her top, exposing her at a nightclub. "Jasmine just let it happen," Montoya said. "It was tasteless. It was tactless. It was disgusting."
Another time, Montoya said, Fiore started making out with another man at a party while Jenkins' back was turned. Jenkins turned around and threw his wife into the pool.
But Fiore's mother, Lisa Lepore, told ABCNews.com that her daughter was never out of control.
"Everybody parties in Vegas," said Lepore, who lives on the Hawaiian island of Maui but described her relationship with her daughter as "exceptionally, extremely close."
"Of course, she partied all over the place, but she wasn't out of control," Lepore added. "You weren't going to find her in jail."
Lepore described her daughter as smart and savvy – someone who could hold her own with men.
"She was just a kick-ass kind of girl," she said. "She could hang with the boys and duke it out if she had to."
She also had a head for business, opening a retirement account at the age of 16 and working in both banking and real estate. Lepore said she was a couple weeks away from opening a gym in Los Angeles and starting a body-care and clothing line.
But it was her looks that often earned her money and attention.
"She was gorgeous and she was working it," her mother said. "She said, 'I have a five-year window to make a bunch of money.' It was kind of a joke in a way. They were handing her tons of money to be herself."
Contrary to Internet reports, Fiore was not a Playboy playmate and never posed nude for the magazine. Instead, she worked for Playboy for a year, organizing their girls for golf events that lead to invites to a number of private parties, including ones hosted by Playboy founder Hugh Hefner.
Lepore said Fiore had recently stopped modeling and was looking forward to starting her business in L.A. when she was killed.
If only Fiore had held the line when it came to Jenkins, Lepore said.
Fiore Kicked Jenkins Out in May
She said their relationship wasn't violent. "They just didn't have the same outlook about money," Lepore said. "From the very start, he seemed more interested in her money. For someone proclaiming to have all these millions, he never acted like a man who had money."
Despite Lepore's insistence that her daughter and son-in-law didn't have a violent relationship, Jenkins was arrested in June on domestic violence charges after allegedly hitting Fiore.
In his hometown of Calgary, Jenkins was sentenced to 15 months' probation in January 2007 on an unspecified assault charge of his then ex-girlfriend. The judge also ordered counseling for anger management, domestic violence and sexual addiction, Alain Hepner, Jenkins' attorney, told The Associated Press. Hepner said there was also a civil restraining order.
Jenkins has been described as an architect, a property developer and an investment banker. He was a contestant on the VH1 reality show "Megan Wants a Millionaire," featuring men with a net worth of at least $1 million who vie to win a woman seeking to become a "trophy wife."
The show completed production at the end of March.
"Given the unfortunate circumstances, VH1 has postponed any future airings," the network said in a statement. "This is a tragic situation and our thoughts go out to the victim's family."
Jenkins, who Lepore said had aspirations to be a movie star or producer, had recently completed taping a second VH1 show, "I Love Money 3." It has been reported that he won the $250,000 prize. VH1 would not confirm whether Jenkins won, but said the show will no longer be airing.
Friends told ABCNews.com that while Fiore was envious of Jenkins' reality TV fame, she used it as an opportunity to get the goods she coveted.
"She always wanted to be the famous one, so there was probably some jealously there," the source said. "She wanted to be a model or get onto any TV show. The fact that she was with a guy on VH-1 was so hot for her. She was very opportunistic. On the show, Ryan won reality 'challenge' that earned him $1 million. He said he had already been paid the money and was able to shower his beautiful wife with gorgeous things. She was driving a white BMW and wore head-to-toe Chanel, from bracelets and clothing to a very expensive handbag. She often couldn't afford more than a few hundred dollars for rent, but she always wore the nicest things."
But fancy cars and handbags couldn't sustain the relationship. Lepore said Fiore kicked Jenkins out in May based on "trust and boundaries issues."
Montoya was quoted as saying Fiore caught Jenkins having sex with another woman in their living room.
Fiore filed for an annulment. "She knew that she was his ticket and that he was very interested in staying married to stay in the United States," Lepore said. Jenkins is a Canadian. "I wish she had stuck with it."
Instead, Jenkins turned up again in Fiore's life. "He was just desperate to get back in Jasmine's life, he was obsessed with her," Lepore said.
In light of Fiore's death, Lepore plans to set up a foundation in her daughter's memory that would help other women avoid violent-prone men.
"I couldn't protect my own daughter from it," she said. "This girl did not fear men."