When adult movie actress Christy Mack met notorious MMA fighter War Machine on a photo shoot in 2013, sparks flew.
The stunning suburban cheerleader-turned-porn star was suffering from a nasty bout of pneumonia at the time and War Machine offered to come to her hotel room and take care of her.
That night, they talked for hours over pizza and Mack, whose real name is Christine Mackinday, was hooked.
"It was an amazing connection," she recalled in 2015. "I fell in love really quick."
The genetically blessed pair began a passionate love affair. Mackinday got a tattoo declaring herself the "Property of War Machine".
But things were not what they seemed.
"He became abusive about four to five months in, but by that time I was totally in love with him, so, so in love," Mackinday claimed in an interview with ESPN reporter Jane McManus.
"The first time I thought, 'Oh it'll never happen again'. The day after, he stayed home from training and coddled me. After every time he would hit me, those were the best days of our relationship."
On August 15, 2014, Jonathan Koppenhaver (as he is known in court and police documents despite having legally changed his name to War Machine in 2008) allegedly attacked Mackinday and her friend Corey Thomas so viciously he almost killed them.
A police report tendered to court alleges Koppenhaver burst into Mackinday's Las Vegas home and accused her of cheating on him with Thomas.
He then allegedly punched and choked Thomas for nearly 10 minutes before ordering him to leave and warning him not to call police.
Unbeknown to Koppenhaver, Mackinday had dialled 911 while Thomas was being assaulted and then hidden the phone, the report said.
Once Thomas was gone, police allege Koppenhaver turned on Mackinday, repeatedly punching her as she ran into a bathroom and then forcing her to take a shower.
Koppenhaver then allegedly delivered a beating so ferocious it left Mackinday with a blowout fracture of her left eye and several other broken bones in her face, two missing teeth, a lacerated liver, broken ribs and serious bruising in several places.
She later posted shocking photographs of her injuries on social media.
Koppenhaver will go to trial next month after a court date was set following months of delays and legal wrangling.
He faces 35 felony charges - including five counts of sexual assault and two of attempted murder - stemming from allegations stretching as far back as May 2013.
Proceedings are likely to get even uglier thanks to a court decision to allow evidence that Mackinday discussed a rape fantasy with Koppenhaver before he allegedly sexually assaulted and beat her to a pulp.
The 34-year-old is already serving an 18-month to four-year prison term for violating his probation in a prior assault case and faces life in jail if convicted.
Last Thursday, Clark County District Judge Elissa Cadish ruled that jurors can hear testimony about a discussion the ex-lovers had about a rape fantasy prior to the attack.
Earlier, Koppenhaver's lawyer Brandon Sua had asked Mackinday on the stand: "Do you ever recall stating to Mr Koppenhaver that 'real men rape'?" according to a report published in the Las Vegas Review Journal.
"That was a joke between us," she replied.
Asked to elaborate, Mackinday said: "That was a pretty common slogan for him to say, and yes, I would repeat it back to him."
Sua then asked whether the couple ever acted upon those comments.
"I did actually ask him to play out a rape fantasy one time but it never came to fruition," Mackinday replied.
She described rape fantasy as a personal "role play" and "fetish" in which a "very specific set of guidelines and rules would be set down and laid out before the acts are actually done, for safety reasons and consent reasons.
"I wouldn't want to have an actual rape happen."
The trial is due to start on February 27.