Katherine Russell, the widow of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was reportedly emotionally and physically abused by him from the early days of their relationship.

Three of Russell's former college roommates attested to Tsarnaev's bullying and manipulative behavior. In addition to hurling insults at her, including "slut" and "prostitute," he would also throw furniture and other objects at her when he would become enraged, unnamed roommates told NPR.

Russell and Tsarnaev began their on-and-off relationship in 2007, when the former was a freshman at Suffolk University. During one of their "off" periods in 2009, Tsarnaev was charged with assault and battery after a violent domestic dispute with another girlfriend, Nadine Asceucal. His tendency to get physical was not apparent during the early phase of his relationship with Russell. The roommates claim that it was around 2008 or 2009 that he seemed to change.

At that point in time, the aspiring Olympic boxer developed a stronger commitment to Islam and stopped smoking and drinking. More importantly, he espoused views that registered as extreme to Russell's roommates, as he began to express anti-American sentiment and the feeling that Islam was being disparaged.


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Once pregnant with Tsarnaev's child, Russell dropped out of her senior year of college to convert to Islam and marry the child's father. Zahara, their daughter, is now 3-years-old.

Today show therapist Dr. Gild Carle believes that Russell was afraid of leaving her abusive husband. "Katherine Russell fell for Tamerlan, became pregnant, and obviously thought there was no way out. So she swallowed the bullet, married him, and converted to his religion," she told HollywoodLife.com. "Nothing suited him, and whenever a glimpse of self began to rise, she got into screaming matches with him, […] he had temper tantrums, throwing things, including furniture, at her."

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