Miami police are investigating the recent death of model and influencer Jeff Thomas as a suicide and will be talking to Peter Thiel, the billionaire tech entrepreneur who, according to a new report, “kept” Thomas in a romantic relationship by providing him with an expensive car and a $13 million Hollywood Hills home.
Thomas fell to his death from his Miami apartment tower on March 8. The Intercept reported that the Miami Police Department’s probe into his death will include interviewing Thiel, citing a report from police and two sources with knowledge of the investigation.
The Intercept’s report about Thomas’ personal relationship with the married Thiel is based on an interview with Thomas, which reporter Ryan Grim said took place in November and which is part of a larger profile about Thiel that is still in the works.
Prayers for the loss and heartache that the family of Jeff Thomas are feeling right now. 🙏🏼
If you or someone you know needs help TEXT 988 or CALL 800-273-TALK. pic.twitter.com/RQSLtN8ZIM
— Seth Travis (@sethtravis) March 11, 2023
Thomas apparently spoke to The Intercept to share his concerns about Thiel’s “hypocrisy.” The Bay Area-reared Thiel, who was married to investment banker Matt Danzeisen, supported Trump’s presidency and has become “increasingly aggressive” in showing support for Republicans’ culture war, which includes efforts to undermine the rights of LGBTQ people, The Intercept said.
“I don’t side with him on a lot of political things, but I understand him,” Thomas told The Intercept in November. “I’m trying to influence him in ways to show him my heart, and show him how it affects myself, certain individuals, himself.”
In the interview, Thomas also opened up about his relationship with Thiel, a Stanford law school graduate who co-founded PayPal and was an early investor in Facebook. Thomas said they met back in 2015 or 2016 at the Coachella music festival, where Thiel threw one of his “legendary parties,” Thomas said.
Thomas said that he and Thiel, who married Danzeisen in 2017, started a relationship during the early stages of the pandemic, The Intercept reported. Thomas said he wasn’t quite Thiel’s boyfriend, but more like a “friend” who was there for him, “when needed, you know, whatever he needed.”
Thomas also described it as a “kept” situation that made him uncomfortable, The Intercept reported.
“It was stressful, he wanted me to get the nicest car, the nicest house,” Thomas said. “He wanted to kind of show his power, to kind of show that he had me in his dollhouse.”
But Thomas justified enjoying the house and car, explaining that it was his compensation for being available.
“If I’m gonna give up the relationships I have and give up my dreams right now, during COVID, or dating other guys or pursuing people, then I’m going to get a $300,000 car and I’m going to get a $13 million home,” Thomas said. “So those are the things that I see fit for me to give up my freedom.”
The $13 million home was a mansion in the Hollywood Hills, according to The Intercept. Thomas said he hoped that being associated with Thiel and living in such a home could help him launch a career in real estate.
Prior to his death, Thomas was a successful model with 120,000 followers on Instagram, where he regularly posted photos of himself, often revealing glimpses of his sculpted physique, the Daily Mail reported.
Thomas lived in the 57-floor tower in Miami where he died, the Daily Mail said. He had relocated there after moving out of the house in the Hollywood Hills, according to The Intercept. Thomas told The Intercept that the situation had become “toxic,” in part because Thiel was gearing up to support Trump’s run for president in 2024.
Thomas, though, stayed in touch with Thiel and attended his New Year’s Eve party at his compound in Biscayne Bay. According to The Intercept, Thomas told people close to him about his relationship with Thiel, but they declined to comment for The Intercept’s story.
In a Facebook post, Thomas’ brother Skylar Ray Thomas implied that the death was the result of suicide and said that his brother had battled addiction and mental health issues, the Daily Mail reported.
“As you have followed through the years, Jeff traveled the world and lived life to the fullest,” Skylar Ray Thomas wrote, according to the Daily Mail. “What you may not know, is Jeff struggled with addiction and mental health challenges, which ultimately led to his tragic passing.”
But interviews with the Daily Mail, Thomas’ cousin and his agent both rejected the idea that he took his own life.
“This was not a suicide,” Thomas’ cousin, Meghan Rae, told the Daily Mail. “To report otherwise is a complete disregard to his character and who he was.”
— Page Six (@PageSix) March 18, 2023
‘I just can’t believe it’s true that he intentionally did this. He may have fallen while he was taking a selfie,” the unnamed agent told the Daily Mail. She said Thomas was a humble man who had a great sense of humor and who did not take himself too seriously. She also said she had recently talked to Thomas, who was sharing his plans to start a new business, though he didn’t know what that new business would be.
If you or someone you know is struggling with feelings of depression or suicidal thoughts, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers free, round-the-clock support, information and resources for help. Reach the lifeline at 988 or see the SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.
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