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As Senate runoff nears, Herschel Walker's ex-girlfriend details abuse

Cheryl Parsa, who had a five-year relationship with the football legend, says he once pressed her against a wall, grabbed her throat, and threw a punch that missed.
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As the U.S. Senate runoff between Sen. Raphael Warnock and football legend Herschel Walker reaches its final hours, an ex-girlfriend of Walker is sharing details of what she says is his abusive behavior toward her.

Cheryl Parsa, 61, told NBC News on Sunday that she was in a five-year relationship with Walker in the 2000s. During an argument in 2005, she said, Walker pressed her head against a wall, grabbed her throat, and cocked his fist to throw a punch that missed and struck that wall.

Walker's campaign has not responded to multiple requests for comment.

Last week, the Daily Beast first told Parsa's story.

She said she confronted Walker, also 61, in 2005, after she found him with another woman at a Dallas residence.

"He told me, you want to see a man," Parsa said in an interview. "I'll show you a man."

At that point, she said, Walker pressed his forehead against hers, which also pressed her head against a wall, and spoke so intensely that she was struck with his spittle.

"He had his hand on my throat, my chest, and then he leaned back to throw a punch," Parsa said. "And luckily, I was able to avoid that. And the punch landed on the wall instead of me."

Three of Parsa's confidants told NBC she told them about the incident before Walker ran for the Georgia seat.

In 2008, his ex-wife, Cindy Grossman, said she was a victim of domestic abuse during the duo's marriage.

"He got a gun and put it to my temple," Grossman has said of the incident. "He said, 'I'm going to blow your [expletive] brains out."

The candidate has said he has battled mental illness in the past. In October's debate with Warnock, he said the matter is under control.

"I continue to get help if I need help," he said. "But I don't need any help. I'm doing well."

In a 2013 interview with Spectrum Sports, he said, "I've got personalities that do a lot of things, including a guy who wanted to kill someone."

In his 2008 book, "Breaking Free: My Life with Dissociative Identity Disorder," Walker said he was diagnosed with the condition defined by multiple, distinct personalities.

Publisher Simon & Schuster teased the book: "Herschel realized that his life, at times, was simply out of control. He often felt angry, self-destructive, and unable to connect meaningfully with friends and family."

The Democratic Party-aligned, Senate Majority PAC-affiliated group Georgia Honor last week began running television spots in the state that include Grossman's allegation and other claimed threats of violence from Walker.

The ads follow a report in October that Walker, who has been staunchly anti-abortion, paid for an abortion for a woman in 2009. The former player staunchly denied the claim, saying he's never given a woman money for an abortion or paid for one in any form.

In a subsequent challenge to Walker's credibility, his 23-year-old son, Christian Walker, tweeted two months ago that his father once "threatened to kill us."

He said "every family member" of the three-time Heisman Trophy winner has said he shouldn't run for the U.S. Senate seat. The abortion controversy prompted Walker to confirm Daily Beast reporting that he has three additional children previously unknown to the public.

Walker responded to his son's criticisms via Twitter: "I LOVE my son no matter what."

Some Republican leaders suggested negative headlines about the former player are part of a Democratic effort to spread untruths in favor Warnock.

Sen. Rick Scott of Florida said an October statement that the abortion payment story was part of a Democratic “smear machine.” Walker has steadfastly denied he ever paid for an abortion.

Parsa said she's speaking out for women — and to bring more attention to domestic violence. It's not a role she expected.

"Who would have ever thought he would be running for Senate ... and I would feel this compelled to come forward?" she said. "I never really thought that I would be in this situation."