Social media and the internet has really changed how we interact with celebrities. They were once practically untouchable to their fans. But now that we have social media, they’re able to send out their thoughts at any time of day online. There of course are downsides to this. A lot of celebrities’ reputations and careers have been “killed” by social media.
Then there are those fans who have successfully catfished famous people. Catfishing is when a person pretends to be someone they’re not to mislead and trick someone else online. What celebrities fell for the lies? Here are seven stars who have been catfished.
1. Thomas Gibson
The Criminal Minds actor has some fans out there who probably do want to reach him. But chances are they have lost their chance because the open actor has been burned publicly by getting catfished! Not only was he tricked, but some embarrassing videos came out of the situation.
He was reportedly contacted by a Twitter account that had a scantily clad woman as the profile picture and who claimed to be a fan. According to TMZ, the account was reportedly being run by a woman who lived in North Dakota who used it to have a relationship with the actor over the internet for two years!
During that time they exchanged explicit pictures. However, the woman who catfished him used photos from pornographic websites. Gibson wasn’t exactly acting innocent in this exchange because he was married. The whole relationship ended with the real woman getting contacted by Gibson’s lawyers telling her to stop contacting the actor because he had realized her photos were fake. She went on to release some of the things he sent to her like a video of him talking while in a hot tub.
2. Tracie Thoms
The Rent and The Devil Wears Prada actress has also fallen victim to catfishing. She is one of the few celebrities to actually get her case solved on the TV show, Catfish. She was approached by a fan named Reese on Twitter who then died of cancer. This made the actress suspicious that Reese never truly existed.
Turns out her gut was right! The person controlling the account was a fan named Sammie. She not only contacted Thoms but also her friend and producer, Lotti Pharriss Knowles along with Marissa Von Bleicken of The Glee Project. Sammie went as far as using video from her cousin’s funeral to prove Reese died, according to E!
Thoms started seeing holes in this fake story when she called the funeral home and tried asking for more information on Reese. The host of Catfish, Nev Schulman was able to get the two face to face to talk about the situation. “I think it was done with no real long-term goal or purpose,” Schulman said in the episode “but mostly out of a place of she’s very lonely so she chose to reach out and connect with celebrities because she always felt that was a safe place to get attention that felt more meaningful than regular everyday attention.”
3. Brad Paisley
It’s not rare for musicians to try and cheer up dying fans by visiting them in hospitals and playing music. So it makes sense why this country singer was so easily roped into being tricked. In 2012 the singer’s wife, Kimberly Williams-Paisley got an email from a woman saying that her daughter had neuroblastoma and was dying. She said her daughter’s dream was to talk to the actress before she died.
This led to Kimberly getting her husband to also correspond with the daughter and mother. The couple exchanged emails, photos, and talked on the phone with who they thought was the mother and daughter. However red flags began going up once they were told the daughter died. There were even tribute websites for the daughter to complete the lie. But when the couple wanted to send flowers, the mother refused to give them an address. She told them to offer a donation to a local children’s hospital instead.
“I watched my wife buckle when she realized this wasn’t a real girl,” the singer said according to Taste of Country. “It’s sort of like emotional terrorism.”
In the end the catfisher was caught. Hope Jackson was a Wyoming woman in her 30s who was contacting multiple celebrities with the hoax. She was convicted for theft of services and served time for it.
4. Kate Gosselin
The reality TV star was also contacted by Hope Jackson, the same woman who catfished Brad Paisley and his wife. Gosselin might not have been able to sing to an imaginary dying daughter over the phone, but she did get her kids to make cards for the fake girl and made a video for her. Luckily there was justice brought to Gosselin because Paisley went to the authorities.
5. Little Big Town
The country music group is another one of Hope Jackson’s victims. She again pretended to have a daughter dying of cancer and reached out to them. The group reportedly dedicated one of their concerts to the dying daughter. But it doesn’t seem like the hoax went any further with them.
6. Iggy Azalea
This one falls more in the grey area when it comes to determining whether it’s truly catfishing. The rapper was online and came across a fan she wanted to get to know more. She then added the fan, but it quickly was revealed that this wasn’t just any fan. It was her mother!
“There was this one fan and I’m like ‘Oh I like this fan, this fan’s cool, I’m going to add them,'” she said on Power 106 “and then she texted me and was like ‘Um, you know I’m Azalean for Life, right? That’s me.’ And I was like ‘Oh my God, I’m friends with my mother … by accident … this is SO lame!'”
7. Farrah Abraham
The Teen Mom star has been open with her personal life for quite a few years now. But the visibility might have made her and her family vulnerable. Her family was conned out of $250,000 because her mother was catfished!
Her mother, Debra Danielsen was the one who was tricked and went on to write a book about her experience. The man reached out to Danielsen on Tinder and they began having a relationship. He eventually convinced her to give him money before he mysteriously died. “The level of sophistication of these criminals is impressive,” she wrote in a blog post according to Starcasm. “Instead of using their talent and time to help make the world a better place, they use it to prey on unsuspecting people like you and me.”
Abraham also talked about the whole experience on Couples Therapy.
My mom was telling me, ‘A person I’m dating and who I was also a business partner with ended up dying in Malaysia … ‘ She was under the impression yeah that they were like going to be engaged and married when he got back from Asia. Then she signs a partnership agreement for like an oil development deal. So she like sends him 250-something thousand dollars … Did you ever meet him mom? ‘No.’ Never f*cking met him!
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