One thing is clear: Hollywood sex therapist Amie Harwick feared ex-boyfriend Gareth Pursehouse enough to ask a court to issue restraining order against him—twice.
Online court records show the former Playboy model and fitness trainer filed for a protective order in 2011, got one, and then petitioned the court for another one the following year. The second was dismissed for what the docket listed as “lack of prosecution,” which often means the person seeking it did not follow up.
The courts were closed for the federal holiday Monday so details of Harwick’s complaints against Pursehouse were not available. But the LAPD said she had seen him two weeks ago and had “recently expressed fear” of the 6-foot-4 computer programmer.
Then, early Saturday morning, Pursehouse allegedly burst into Harwick’s Hollywood Hills home and began attacking her. According to a narrative issued by police, her roommate was so terrified he jumped over a wall to run for help.
The officers who responded to the house found the 38-year-old on the ground, below a third-floor balcony, police noted. She later died at the hospital from her injuries. That afternoon, police arrested Pursehouse, 41, at his own home on suspicion of murder based, in part, on the signs of a ferocious struggle inside the home.
The homicide drew headlines not only because Harwick was a well-known therapist who made frequent appearances on podcasts and TV shows, but because she had also once been engaged to Price Is Right game show host Drew Carey. They called it off in 2018.
Carey issued a statement Monday that said he and Harwick “had a love that people are lucky to have once in a lifetime.”
“She was a positive force in the world, a tireless and unapologetic champion for women, and passionate about her work as a therapist,” he said. ”I am overcome with grief. I would like to thank you in advance for giving myself and everyone who loved Amie privacy while we try to work through this tragic situation.”
Friends and clients of Harwick publicly mourned her as a vivacious personality and passionate advocate—especially for women.
“She was just a good person, who always saw the good in everyone,” pro wrestler Jasmin St. Claire told The Daily Beast.
St. Claire met Harwick in 2003 when both were modeling for Coffin Case, a guitar case company. St. Claire opened up about problems she was having in her marriage at the time.
“Amie was talking to me about it and I thought this girl seems really smart,” she recalled. “I told her, you know, ‘Are you a therapist? You should be a therapist.’”
That was already Harwick’s plan. She was pursuing a B.A. in psychology at California State Polytechnic University, which she later followed up with a master’s degree from Pepperdine University, according to her LinkedIn profile.
She set up a practice in West Hollywood and recently told the streaming show Good Morning LaLaLand many of her clients were younger women working through relationship issues, people coming to terms with a kink or fetish, or former or current sex workers.
Kelsey Darragh, a writer for E!’s Dating No Filter, said on Twitter that she was “fucking enraged” to hear the terrible news, especially because Harwick had helped her deal with domestic violence in her own past.
“I want everyone to know how badass this woman is. She wore vintage chanel suits with bright red pumps...she made her space feel warm & feminine...she was the DEFINITION of boss bitch. & while she had a ‘take no shit’ attitude she was an incredibly empathic & thoughtful therapist,” Darragh wrote.
She added, “The system fails women.”
Laura Lux, a lingerie model and DJ, said she also had sessions with Harwick when she lived in Los Angeles. “She was such a wonderful person and i can’t put into words how much she did for my mental health. hard to believe it’s even real,” she told her 342,000 followers on Twitter.
In her bio, Harwick described herself as a former Playboy centerfold who had also produced her own workout video. In 2014, she wrote The New Sex Bible for Women: The Complete Guide to Sexual Self-Awareness and Intimacy.
In her January 2019 appearance on Good Morning LaLaLand, Harwick said sex therapy was a natural career choice for her. She said that as a teenager, she could be found carrying around true crime books and feminist zines.
“I was always interested in human behavior, like the dark side of human behavior, and also feminism and sexuality.”
Pursehouse is jailed in lieu of $2 million bail. He is due in court on Wednesday. His relatives could not be reached for comment, and it is not clear if he has an attorney.