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  4. Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes is awaiting her 11-year prison sentence. Here's a timeline of her relationship with her co-defendent and ex-boyfriend, Sunny Balwani.

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes is awaiting her 11-year prison sentence. Here's a timeline of her relationship with her co-defendent and ex-boyfriend, Sunny Balwani.

Elana Klein   

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes is awaiting her 11-year prison sentence. Here's a timeline of her relationship with her co-defendent and ex-boyfriend, Sunny Balwani.
Elizabeth Holmes and Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani.Philip Pacheco/Getty Images; Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
  • In 2002, Elizabeth Holmes, then 18, met Sunny Balwani, then 37, in Beijing, China.
  • Balwani became her long-term boyfriend and, later, the COO of her startup, Theranos.

Elizabeth Holmes and Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani engaged in a years-long workplace relationship that ended when he left their company, Theranos, in 2016.

As the former CEO and COO of Theranos, respectively, Holmes and Balwani are now notorious for their failed medical startup that collected hundreds of millions of dollars from investors under false pretenses.

In January 2022, following a four-month trial, Holmes was found guilty on three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy, and she was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison, with three years of supervised release. She was scheduled to report for her sentence in April, but it was delayed by appeals to her conviction.

After Balwani was found guilty on 12 counts of fraud and conspiracy in July 2022, he was sentenced to almost 13 years in prison, with three years of probation. His sentence was also delayed by an appeal, but in April, he reported to a low-security federal prison in California to begin the sentence, Insider's Sarah Jackson and Áine Cain reported.

Here's a timeline of their relationship.

2002: Elizabeth Holmes, then an 18-year-old college student, met millionaire Sunny Balwani, then 37, while they both studied in Beijing, China.

2002: Elizabeth Holmes, then an 18-year-old college student, met millionaire Sunny Balwani, then 37, while they both studied in Beijing, China.
Beijing, China.      Martin Puddy/Getty Images

Despite their different upbringings — Balwani was born in Pakistan before moving with his parents to India and then the US, while Holmes mostly grew up in Houston, Texas — their paths converged while they were enrolled in Stanford University's Mandarin Program.

Holmes was about to start her freshman year at Stanford University at the time of their meeting, according to The Cut, citing "Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup," by journalist John Carreyrou.

Balwani, on the other hand, was in an MBA program at the University of California, Berkeley.

A few years earlier, in 1999, he had joined a software-development startup, CommerceBid, as president, and the following year, it was acquired by another company, Commerce One, for $225 million. The company swiftly went bust, but Balwani was able to walk away with $40 million, The New York Times reported.

At the time of meeting Holmes, he was married to Japanese artist Keiko Fujimoto, but she filed for divorce in 2002. At first, Balwani and Holmes were just friends.

2004: Around the time Holmes dropped out of Stanford to work on her tech startup, Theranos, full-time, their relationship became romantic.

2004: Around the time Holmes dropped out of Stanford to work on her tech startup, Theranos, full-time, their relationship became romantic.
Holmes dropped out of Stanford, left.      David Madison/Getty Images; Kimberly White/Getty Images

In 2003, Holmes founded Theranos, a medical technology company that sought to create a device that would quickly and accurately test patients' blood using only a small fraction of the amount of blood drawn in a traditional blood test.

Soon after she started the company, Holmes abruptly left Stanford to develop and run Theranos.

While it's not clear exactly when her relationship with Balwani became romantic, Insider previously reported it appeared to be around the time she dropped out of Stanford.

Also around the same time, Balwani enrolled at Stanford to study computer science, but he would ultimately also drop out in 2008.

2005: Balwani and Holmes moved into their first home together in Palo Alto.

2005: Balwani and Holmes moved into their first home together in Palo Alto.
Homes in the San Francisco Bay Area.      Sundry Photography/Getty Images

By the summer of 2005, they were living together in a condo (not pictured) in Palo Alto, Insider previously reported, citing the "Bad Blood" podcast.

In a recording shared by ABC News of his 2017 deposition with Securities and Exchange Commission attorneys, Balwani said the two lived together for a majority of their relationship.

2009: After dropping out of Stanford, Balwani lent Theranos millions of dollars to keep the company afloat, and he became its president and COO.

2009: After dropping out of Stanford, Balwani lent Theranos millions of dollars to keep the company afloat, and he became its president and COO.
Sunny Balwani in 2019.      Stephen Lam/Reuters

In 2008, Theranos' board wanted to replace Holmes with someone more experienced. But, promising to bring on Balwani, she convinced its members to let her stay.

Balwani lent Holmes' then-financially insecure company $13 million, according to Crunchbase, and about six months later, he became the president and COO of Theranos.

Tapes of the couple's 2017 deposition shared by ABC News reveal that the they did not disclose their romantic relationship to Theranos investors.

Although the two intended to keep their romance a secret from their staff as well, ex-employees interviewed in HBO's 2019 documentary "The Inventor," said the couple didn't do a great job at hiding their relationship — Balwani and Holmes showed up to work together every day.

Carreyrou, the then-Wall Street Journal reporter who eventually broke the story of the company's fraudulent practices, told Business Insider in 2019 that one of his sources "painted the portrait of this fraud being run by a couple."

2013: The couple bought a $9 million home together in one of America's wealthiest neighborhoods.

2013: The couple bought a $9 million home together in one of America
Former home of Elizabeth Holmes and Sunny Balwani in Atherton, California.      Google Maps

According to a 2022 New York Post report, their shared home contained "five bedrooms, seven bathrooms, a stone courtyard, swimming pool, French provincial architecture, a gated entrance, crystal chandeliers, manicured gardens and a one-bedroom guest house."

The property is in Atherton, California, which has consistently been named one of America's most expensive zip codes. Other tech execs, such as Sheryl Sandberg and Eric Schmidt, have also lived in the neighborhood.

The couple bought the property as Holmes continued her public meteoric rise. The following year, in 2014, Forbes named Holmes, then 30, the world's youngest self-made woman billionaire, worth an estimated $4.5 billion.

Balwani, who bought Holmes out of her share of the Atherton property in 2018, sold it in 2022 for $15.8 million, according to the Post, citing The Information.

2016: Balwani left Theranos amid scrutiny from the FDA, SEC, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the couple broke up.

2016: Balwani left Theranos amid scrutiny from the FDA, SEC, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the couple broke up.
Elizabeth Holmes and Sunny Balwani in 2019.      REUTERS/Stephen Lam

In 2015, The Wall Street Journal published a report by Carreyrou revealing that Theranos was struggling with its tests, marking the beginning of the company's downfall.

In the spring of 2016, Balwani — who had a reputation within the company of being its "enforcer," Carreyrou told Insider in 2019 — left Theranos. The company referred to his departure as a retirement.

In 2018, Carreyrou took to Reddit, where he told users, "When it started becoming apparent to [Holmes] that she would have no chance of persuading people she was really trying to change the company's culture and fix its problems, she threw Sunny under the bus."

"[Holmes] fired him and broke up with him. His departure was dressed up in a press release as voluntary retirement, but it wasn't," Carreyrou wrote.

2017: Holmes met Billy Evans, her current husband and the father of her two young children.

2017: Holmes met Billy Evans, her current husband and the father of her two young children.
Elizabeth Holmes and Billy Evans in 2023.      Philip Pacheco/Getty Images

Soon after Theranos' downfall, Holmes began dating Billy Evans, who comes from a wealthy family in the hospitality industry, according to People.

The couple met at a party in 2017 when Evans was 25 and Holmes was 32.

"To say we immediately fell in love isn't an overstatement," Evans told The New York Times in 2023.

The couple secretly got married just two years later, in 2019. They now have two children together. Holmes gave birth to their first child in July 2021 while she awaited her trial, and their second arrived in 2023.

2018: Both Balwani and Holmes were indicted on crimes related to malpractice at Theranos, and the company shuttered.

2018: Both Balwani and Holmes were indicted on crimes related to malpractice at Theranos, and the company shuttered.
Elizabeth Holmes in 2018.      REUTERS/Stephen Lam

In March 2018, Holmes was charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with what it called an "elaborate, years-long fraud." According to the SEC, Balwani, Holmes, and Theranos collected over $700 million from investors under false pretenses that their machinery was not only functional, but groundbreaking.

Although she agreed to pay a fine of $500,000 and accept a 10-year ban on serving as either an officer or director of a public company, Holmes declined to confirm or deny her culpability, according to The Washington Post.

Then, in June 2018, a federal grand jury indicted both Holmes and Balwani on nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Both pleaded not guilty.

According to CNN, the US Attorney's office said the couple knew that Theranos tests had "accuracy and reliability problems," and that they were well aware that their technology "could not compete with existing, more conventional machines."

Immediately before the indictment was publicized, Theranos announced that Holmes would be stepping down as the company's CEO.

In September 2018, the company ceased operations.

2021: Holmes alleged that Balwani abused her psychologically, physically, and sexually throughout their romantic relationship. He denied those claims.

2021: Holmes alleged that Balwani abused her psychologically, physically, and sexually throughout their romantic relationship. He denied those claims.
Elizabeth Holmes and her boyfriend, Billy Evans, in 2021.      Jane Tyska/Digital First Media/The Mercury News/Getty Images

In December 2021, during Holmes' fraud trial, she claimed that her relationship with Balwani was abusive.

According to CNBC, her attorneys said in court filings that Balwani inflicted a "decade-long campaign of psychological abuse" against Holmes.

"Balwani's control [over Holmes] included monitoring her calls, text messages, and emails; physical violence, such as throwing hard, sharp objects at her, restricting her sleep, monitoring her movements; and insisting that any success she achieved was because of him," Holmes' attorneys wrote.

In Holmes' testimony, she said, "[Balwani] would get very angry with me and then he would sometimes come upstairs to our bedroom and force me to have sex with him when I didn't want to because he wanted me to know that he still loved me."

Referring to her accusations as "false and inflammatory," Balwani "categorically" denied allegations of abuse, according to Reuters.

Holmes also submitted texts between the former couple as evidence of Balwani's control over her actions. But, in 2021, forensic psychologist Ziv Cohen told Business Insider, "I think this is weak tea for building a case of emotional abuse that would make someone not responsible for their behavior."

2022: Balwani was given an almost-13-year prison sentence.

2022: Balwani was given an almost-13-year prison sentence.
Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani and his legal team in 2022.      David Odisho/Getty Images

In December 2022, Balwani was sentenced to just under 13 years in prison. While Holmes was convicted on four counts of fraud, Balwani was convicted on 12 counts of fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

The New York Times reported that Balwani's longer sentence is largely due to his responsibility, and ultimate failure, to ensure the success of lab operations. He oversaw Theranos's lab despite his lack of experience in medical science, according to The Wall Street Journal.

"Mr. Balwani had significant autonomy in running the lab. He made decisions that directly impacted the information that was communicated to patients," said Jeffrey Schenk, the lead prosecutor in the case, told The New York Times in 2022. The lab was the source of "some of the greatest harm," according to Schenk.

He began serving his sentence in April 2023, although he is appealing his conviction.

2022: Holmes was sentenced to over 11 years, although she remains free.

2022: Holmes was sentenced to over 11 years, although she remains free.
Elizabeth Holmes with her mother, Noel Holmes, and husband, Billy Evans, in 2023.      Philip Pacheco/Getty Images

In November 2022, Holmes was given an over-11-year sentence to federal prison for defrauding hundreds of millions of dollars from her company's investors.

After completing her prison sentence, Holmes will be subject to three years of supervision.

In February 2023, Mercury News confirmed that she and her legal team are making an active effort to postpone her prison sentence, in part by citing the fact that she has "two young children."


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