Text messages between Elizabeth Holmes and her former lover and Theranos co-founder Sunny Balwani have been submitted as evidence at her fraud trial and reveal how she called him tiger’ and ‘my king’, thought investors were injecting cash into their ‘destiny’ and argued over how she would ’emotionally transition’ when they broke up in 2015 as the company headed towards ruin.
The texts are among thousands of exhibits that were made public on Monday by the US District Court in the Northern District of California, where Holmes is on trial for fraud.
Prosecutors say she and Balwani knowingly lied to win millions of dollars in investment to prop up Theranos, a blood test tech company, despite knowing that the technology was flawed.
They go from optimistic declarations of love in 2014 – ‘This is our year. We can never forget it tiger… for our kids never forget who we are’ – to panicked discussions in 2015 about internal staff complaints, FDA clearances and the ‘challenges’ ahead.
In July 2015, the pair discussed Balwani leaving the company. Their romance had started to fizzle but he continued working at Theranos for a year.
In the texts, he complained to her: ‘I worked for 6 years day and night to help you. I’m sad at where you and I are. I thought it would be better.
‘I know u r angry in ur way. And upset with me for not doing everything you wanted me to do.’
He then warned her about ‘challenges’ ahead and said ‘U need me’.
She said she understood and was ready for them but he replied: ‘Unfortunately you don’t and it brakes [sic] my heart.’
Elizabeth Holmes, left in court last month, is on trial for fraud. Prosecutors have submitted texts she exchanged with Theranos co-founder Sunny Balwani, her former secret lover, in 2014 and 2015
In December 2014, Holmes texted Balwani calling him ‘tiger’ and telling him it was ‘their year’
In July 2015, Balwani discussed leaving the company but not until it broke even. The romance had soured by then and the pair were focused on saving the company. He warned her about ‘challenges’ ahead which he said she was underestimating
July 28 2015: Balwani tells Holmes they need to ‘commit’ to each other and ‘get out of this hell so we can live in paradise we both have’
In another message from July 2015, Balwani tells Holmes to ‘be strong’ and that he loves her
‘U are underestimated the challenges ahead and being childish,’ he said in one of the messages.
The company was operating on a loss and Balwani didn’t want to leave until they recouped some money.
‘I am not leaving until we break even. We will do this together and I will be by yourself [sic] until then.
‘Can’t leave like this,’ he went on, warning Holmes that he ‘didn’t like’ the ‘PR direction’ she was heading in.
November 2013: The pair discuss winning investment of $15million which Balwani describes as ‘free cash’
November 2014: The pair discuss investments from ‘Greg’ and Alice Walton, the daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton who is the 12th richest person in America with a net worth of $67billion
November 2014: Holmes and Balwani were in a secret romance and building Theranos despite mounting staff problems. They frantically texted throughout the day, often sending one-word messages to each other about their strategy
In January 2015, an internal negative review was left by employee in the company’s Newark lab. Balwani said he was going to ‘nail down this mother f****er’. In subsequent texts, he tried to narrow down a list of employees who might have left the anonymous review
April 2015: The pair continue discussing work and the media. Balwani told Holmes they still needed FDA clearance. Holmes said those on the outside ‘are just jealous’ of what the pair were building
April 2015: The pair worry about a Wall Street Journal reporter who planned to visit the Theranos HQ and sample the technology. They worried about whether it was going to work. Balwani said ‘seems like this guy is looking to write something negative’. The Journal published a story in October which said Holmes had declined interviews for five months. The article also raised questions about the technology being used
September 2015: Holmes tells Balwani that she is ‘sitting here trying to stay focused on every detail’. Cracks in the management of the company had started to show
In October 2015, the pair discussed business over text. The romance fizzled around this time but they carried on working together as problems started to arise
In other, previous exchanges, before the romance soured, Balwani complained about a negative internal review that was written anonymously by an employee.
In November 2014, Balwani told Holmes he’d secured an investment of $50,000 from Alice Walton, the daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton who is the 12th richest person in America with a net worth of $67billion
‘CC’d you on terrible negative review from someone from Newark lab probably lugs lab.
‘Working on getting that removed.
‘I am narrowing this down on CUA. Down to 5 people. Will nail this motherf****r’ .
Holmes replied: ‘I saw it. We’ll get them’.
In another, they worried about a Wall Street Journal reporter visiting their lab to try out Theranos blood test technology.
They discussed the result he would get and how he wanted to write ‘something negative’.
In later texts, the pair fretted over FDA regulations and discussed making the company less about healthcare and ‘100 percent tech’.
October 2015: One of the last texts submitted in the court records is Balwani telling Holmes that he is worried about a comment she made regarding the technology
Balwani left Theranos abruptly in 2016. Both he and Holmes have denied fraud.
Part of her defense is to claim that he abused and manipulated her.
Now 37, Holmes was 18 when she met Balwani on a Chinese-language immersion trip in 2002. He was 37 at the time and the pair started dating. She dropped out of Stanford in 2003 to work on Theranos full-time.
Holmes is now married to hotel heir Billy Evans and the pair have a baby son.