If you examine both Gabby Petito’s and Brian Laundrie’s social media accounts, it appears the couple were happily in love. Sharing kisses. Bragging about each other. Cooking meals together. It’s more blossoming young romance than a horror story. However, beneath the surface of that seemingly perfect relationship, friends are divulging that the two often struggled to stay balanced.
According to People, Gabby and Brian met in high school. They both attended Bayport-Blue Point High School in Long Island. Gabby was a sophomore. Brian was a year older and a junior. They were quickly drawn to each other. But like any high school romance, they had their share of ups and downs.
Friends of the couple said they were frequently on-again-off-again. In 2016, Gabby and Brian took a break for several months before rekindling.
“I never saw any sort of physical abuse,” Gabby’ Petito’s high school friend Alyssa Chen said.
However, she went on to say something more disturbing.
“They had very high highs and very low lows,” says Chen. “But she always said he was a good boyfriend.”
A lot of speculation could be drawn from that statement. It could be a normal couple working out the kinks of growing up and transitioning into a more mature relationship. Or it could be an indicator that the two were not well-suited for a long-term relationship. Chen didn’t go into detail about what the highs and lows of the relationship were.
When the two graduated high school, Gabby moved in with Brian and his family in Florida. They each worked trying to make ends meet before deciding to buy a van together. The idea was to convert it to a small home and travel the country. It worked out well enough that they were able to do just that.
Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie Set Off National Tour
On July 2, Gabby and Brian set off on their adventure. While Gabby was trying to start a travel blog, she documented their travels with bright, seemingly loving photos of herself and Brian along the way.
At one point during their trip, they had an argument. It escalated to the point that a witness called 911 to report that he saw a man hitting a woman. When police later pulled Gabby and Brian over, the 22-year-old woman was hyperventilating and crying.
After separating them, Moab Police determined the two were arguing all morning and Brian eventually locked Gabby out of their van in order for her to calm down. Brian had scratches on his face and arms while Gabby also admitted Brian grabbed her face. She never told authorities that Brian hit her.
Since Gabby Petito’s disappearance, web sleuths are analyzing whether their happy relationship was real or whether the couple had deeper-rooted issues. While it’s probably some combination of both, Brian didn’t make things look good when he showed up in Florida with their van alone. Additionally damning in the public eye, both he and his parents refused to speak with police regarding her disappearance.
Brian Laundrie remains the only person of interest in Gabby’s disappearance. However, he’s been missing since Sept. 17. Officials are searching the Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County where they believe he went.