A young actress is in tears over her shattered romance with embattled attorney Michael Avenatti.
Mareli Miniutti, 25, had minor roles in several movies such as “Chuck” and “Ocean’s Eight," but she said her most demanding role was Avenatti's girlfriend.
“He loved to be the center of attention,” she told Inside Edition. “He wanted me to be available to him whenever he needed.”
They met at an Los Angeles celebrity hangout in 2017. She was 23 and he was twice her age. It was a whirlwind romance with trips to Europe and the promise of a lavish lifestyle.
“He made it seem as if he is the best lawyer in the United States,” she said.
While they were dating, Avenatti became a national figure for representing porn star Stormy Daniels in her legal battle with President Trump.
As he was catapulted into the national spotlight, Avenatti's ambitions grew, according to Miniutti, who said he wouldn't allow her to work as a waitress because she was going to be the next first lady.
“He told me I can potentially be the next first lady of the United States so, why would I want to go do something like that?” she claimed.
Avenatti said these allegations are all preposterous.
She said “he really thought he has a shot” at becoming president.
She said a turning point in their relationship came with an appearance on the red carpet at the MTV Video Music Awards last summer without her. She said she was offended she wasn't invited, and the next day, she said she accused Avenatti of being obsessed with fame.
“He got really angry. He told me if I ever mentioned that again we're done. That I could never tell him that he likes attention,” she said.
The end came just three months later when she said they had a bitter argument over their expenses.
“He physically dragged me from the bed while in was in my panties and T-shirt," she said.
Miniutti posted photos she said show bruises and carpet burns.
Avenatti was arrested but no charges were ever filed. Avenatti strongly denied ever striking her or any other woman.
"I don't think they wanted the headache of dealing with Michael Avenatti," attorney Michael Bachner told Inside Edition. "So, Mareli was an easy person to cast to the side."
“I have never struck a woman. I never will strike a woman,” Avenatti said at a press conference soon after the photos emerged last year.
Now, Avenatti faces charges of extortion and embezzlement. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
“I am very scared for him because I think he's lost,” Miniutti said.
She tearfully added that she still loves him.
Avenatti told Inside Edition that she is lying about him in an effort to become famous and rich.