The California school principal who jumped to his death at Disneyland after leaving a chilling suicide note decided to end his life because of a “toxic” relationship with his “abusive” wife, his daughter said in a shocking new interview.
Christopher Christensen, 51, who had been the principal of Huntington Beach, Calif., elementary schools for 22 years, took the fatal leap Saturday — two days before he was due in court on child endangerment and battery charges.
In a new interview with the Daily Mail, 26-year-old Brittany Christensen, one of his three children from a previous marriage, claimed his current wife, Marlena, had been the abusive partner and accused her of tearing up the family.
“[Marlena] has been very difficult in our family for about the last year, and we haven’t had any contact with her,” Brittany told the news outlet.
“I’d just now started regaining contact with [Chris] over the last two weeks, and it’s been really great. He’d been trying to figure out how to leave her,” she said. “In my opinion, it seems like this, in his mind, was his way out of his relationship.”
Christensen had pleaded not guilty to the child endeangerment charges after his Nov. 15 arrest and was released on $10,000 bail.
n a lengthy Facebook note, he blamed the “flawed” legal system for upending his life and sought to play down his marital troubles with wife Marlena, saying the couple “love and adore each other,” adding that their relationship was “amazing … up until recently.”
He explained they recently got into a “heated argument” in front of his stepdaughters, Katelynn and Kara, but insisted that he had not “hit, slap, or hurt” his wife or the young women.
“Unfortunately, Marlena’s anger got the best of her that night and she called the police, which landed me in jail that night. Yes, me! A man who has never hit or harmed ANYONE in his life!” he wrote.
Brittany claimed Marlena — who had been married to Chris for three and a half years — had been “abusive to our entire family for five years,” adding that her account to law enforcement was “riddled with lies.”
The daughter also shared with the Daily Mail a series of text messages Marlena allegedly sent her after an argument in April.
“You’re a horrible disgusting excuse for a daughter and sister. Go find your Dad, play the hero. But it’s me he will be missing [in] the morning,” Marlena reportedly wrote, according to the outlet.
Brittany also alleged Marlena caused $6,000 worth of damage to her car after the argument, during which her dad tried to split from his wife.
The daughter said she filed a police report about the incident at her Costa Mesa home.
“It was unresolved because she didn’t admit to anything, but we had footage from her doorbell camera leaving the house in the middle of the night and then coming to my apartment (where my dad was staying for the night) and taking his car,” Brittany told the Daily Mail.
“So when we woke up, my dad’s car was gone (parked at Marlena’s house) and my car had been keyed on every panel,” she said, adding the wife “has shown a consistent pattern of manipulation and inappropriate behavior towards my family for some time now.”
Brittany said that despite her late father’s comments about things being “great” in the marriage, “their relationship in actuality has been toxic and wearing on both of them.”
The grieving daughter added: “In my opinion, it was a slow chipping away at my dad’s soul for much longer than just two weeks and I wish at this stage she could have left my family alone.
“She’s done a lot, personally to my family recently, to myself, to my husband. So there’s a lot going on in this that is very complicated,” Brittany told the outlet.
After Christensen’s death, Marlena wrote on Facebook that “none of you know the full story. I’m living in a nightmare and trying to grieve.
“Chris was the love of my life and I am crushed at what happened. I didn’t make him do this and it’s not my fault. I am not sick I just know in my heart what’s true,” she wrote.
Christensen spent Thanksgiving at his 85-year-old mother Karen’s home, but did not bring his wife, according to the Daily Mail.
“He seemed kind of depressed after he served me and my other son the Thanksgiving meal. He laid upstairs for an hour or two not saying or doing anything. He seemed very depressed,” she told the outlet.
“But I didn’t think he was thinking in terms of killing himself. I just couldn’t believe it,” Karen said, adding that she didn’t think her son’s relationship with Marlena was healthy.
Karen’s husband, Jim Christensen, who died in 2020 at the age of 85, had been the music director for Disneyland’s Main Street Electrical Parade.
He also served as music director and conductor of the Disney All-American College Orchestra from 1984 to 1992 at Epcot’s American Gardens Theatre, Theme Park Insider reported.
Karen revealed her older son, Kent, also committed suicide in 2017 at age 57.
Marlena’s ex-husband told the Daily Mail on condition of anonymity that she had no history of making false claims, adding that he knew of no previous domestic violence allegations against Christensen.
Marlena did not respond to the outlet’s requests for comment.
Efforts by The Post to reach her on Wednesday were not immediately successful.
Brittany claimed her father’s charges were expected to be reduced to a misdemeanor count of disturbance of the peace.
His case was dismissed after his death, the Daily Mail reported, citing Orange County Superior Court documents.
SOURCE: NY Post
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