Nadine Ascencao, 24, said Tamerlan made her wear an Islamic hijab and pray to Allah and slapped her when she wore Western clothes.
But she was so blindly in love with the handsome boxer who had taken her virginity, she did her utmost to make him happy.
Nadine said: “I went to his mosque a couple of times and even looked into converting to make him happy. I thought, ‘This is crazy’ — but I still did it for him.
“Tamerlan had taken my virginity and said he loved me because I was pure and hadn’t been with any other guys. I was in love and scared he’d leave me if I didn’t do what he said. Looking back I had a lucky escape.”
Tamerlan, 26, who with 19-year-old brother Dzhokhar killed three people and injured 260 when they exploded two bombs at the Boston marathon, started dating Nadine in 2006 when she was 17.
During their three-year relationship she watched him change from a cannabis-smoking, party-loving teenager into a violent extremist.
She said: “One minute he’s this funny, normal guy who liked boxing and having fun, the next he is praying four times a day, watching Islamic videos and talking insane nonsense.
“He became extremely religious and tried to brainwash me to follow Islam. Tamerlan said I couldn’t be with him unless I became a Muslim. He wanted me to hate America like he did.
“He wouldn’t let me watch TV or listen to the radio. He’d say, ‘TV is the project of Satan’ and claimed Satan sent us messages through commercial music.”
The couple even stopped having sex after he said it was wrong because they were not married.
Tamerlan, a Chechen who emigrated to the US with his family in 2002, became obsessed with Nadine’s clothes. She said: “He hated my tight trousers and made me wear long skirts. Towards the end I was wearing a hijab.
“He once ripped a pair of my jeans and hit me in the face with them. Tamerlan told me I should only talk to Muslim girls, not other ‘slutty’ girls.” Besotted Nadine moved into a flat in the house where the Tsarnaev family lived to be near Tamerlan.
And she was heartbroken when she learned he was secretly seeing another girl. Her rival was Katherine Russell, a student who was to become Tamerlan’s wife after converting to Islam. Crafty Tamerlan was soon playing the two women off against one another.
Nadine said: “He once made me learn a verse of an Islamic prayer and if I got it wrong he’d say, ‘Well Katherine can do it’.”
Tamerlan even attacked Nadine when he found her heading off to a friend’s pool party wearing cut-off jeans and a crop top.
She said: “He was shouting and screaming at me. He slapped me across the face really hard.”
Nadine called the police and Tamerlan was arrested and spent a night in the cells. Once out on bail he begged Nadine’s forgiveness.
But as soon as she dropped the charges Tamerlan dumped her and moved in with Katherine. Nadine’s relationship was over and within six months Katherine was pregnant with Tamerlan’s daughter.
Nadine put Tamerlan behind her and barely gave him a second thought until the early hours of April 19 when the FBI turned up at her home asking questions about her ex.
A few hours earlier officers had killed Tamerlan in a shoot-out in Watertown, Massachusetts.
Brother Dzhokhar, who is now in custody, was still on the run.
Nadine, who asked The Sun to obscure her face in photos for fear of reprisals, said: “When they said Tamerlan was dead, I didn’t cry.
“I was more shocked Dzhokhar was involved. He was a nice kid.”
(Courtesy the Mirror)