ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — A high-priced contract can’t buy Mario Williams’ love, leading the Bills defensive end to sue his ex-fiancee, demanding she return a $785,000 diamond engagement ring.
In a lawsuit filed in Harris County, Texas, district court on May 3, Williams alleged that Erin Marzouki broke off the engagement in January and never had any intention of marrying him. In accusing Marzouki of absconding with the ring, Williams alleged she used the relationship as a means to get at his money.
Williams is entering his second season with Buffalo. In March of last year, the Bills signed the free agent to a six-year, $100 million contract — the richest awarded to an NFL defensive player.
In response, Marzouki filed a counter-suit on Monday, calling Williams’ claims “ridiculous” and “patently false,” and accused Williams of breaking off the engagement.
Marzouki said, Williams made it “abundantly clear in writing” that he wanted her to keep the ring after their last of many breakups in December. And, she said, Williams also communicated his wishes in text messages to her father and brother.
A hearing is scheduled for Friday.
The legal action paints a far different picture from the happy couple that posed for photos inside the Bills’ media room shortly after Williams signed with the team. Before reaching the deal, the 2006 No. 1 draft pick had Marzouki fly to Buffalo to tour the city and become comfortable with the possibility of making it home.
The court documents also provide a unique glimpse into a high profile NFL player’s personal life.
They outline how the two began dating in October 2007, when Williams was playing for the Houston Texans, and Marzouki was a team employee.
The two, however, can’t agree on what date Williams proposed.
In documents filed by Williams’ attorney, Monica Orlando, the player said he proposed on Feb. 19, 2012.
In documents filed by Marzouki’s attorney, Anthony Buzbee, she lists the day as being on or about Feb. 20, 2012.
Marzouki makes numerous references to Williams having cold feet.
She alleged, Williams broke up with her several times, including a few days after the proposal, when the two were vacationing with family in the Bahamas. Marzouki said, Williams became upset, broke off the engagement and flew home on a privately chartered plane.
Marzouki said, she returned to Texas and gave Williams back the ring. The two, she said, then reconciled in June at which time Marzouki said she urged Williams to “be serious about marriage.”
In accepting the ring, Marzouki said she warned Williams she never would again return the ring regardless of what happened.
Marzouki characterized Williams as someone who “seemed torn” between entering a long-term commitment.
“It appeared to Marzouki that a part of Williams wanted to be married and start a family,” the documents said, “while another part of Williams wanted to continue to live the life of a wealthy bachelor, who could do whatever he wanted, with whomever he wanted, whenever he wanted.”
And then there are details about the custom-designed ring, which Williams purchased in December 2011. It’s made of platinum and features a GIA certified radiant cut diamond weighing 10.04 carats.
Williams said he lavished even more gifts on Marzouki. He provided Marzouki with a credit card, on which he alleged she incurred $108,000 in charges. Above that, Williams noted that he spent more than $230,000 on “luxurious items” on his former fiance.
He accused Marzouki of common-law fraud.
“(Marzouki) dated (Williams) solely as a means to get his money,” Williams said. “When (Marzouki) promised (Williams) that the diamond engagement ring would be returned to plaintiff in the event that the parties did not marry. … Instead (Marzouki) intended to break off the relationship and abscond with the diamond engagement ring.”
Williams argued that under Texas law, Marzouki is obligated to return the ring.
Marzouki denied taking off with the ring or having any intention of selling it. She said it is being kept in a safety deposit box.
As for the credit card charges, Marzouki said much of that was spent on furnishing and decorating Williams’ homes in Buffalo and Houston.
Williams briefly discussed the lawsuit on Tuesday for the first time after taking part in a Bills voluntary minicamp practice.
Referring to it as “something that happened and it is what it is,” Williams doesn’t believe it will be a distraction to his play on the field.
“When I’m here, this is my haven, this is my family and this is the most important thing for me, being around these guys,” Williams said. “It’s all about us, it’s not about anything else. Anything personal is personal. You don’t mix that with what we’re trying to accomplish here.”