Brad Paisley may have been all smiles as the host of the CMA Awards on Wednesday (Nov. 6), but just a few months back, he and his wife, “Nashville” star Kimberly Williams-Paisley, were left reeling with the knowledge they’d fallen victim to an online hoax.
The couple opened up on Wednesday’s episode of “Nightline,” revealing that they’d been on the receiving end of a devastating “Catfish”-esque situation. It all began when a complete stranger e-mailed the couple, presenting themselves as a mother in need. The perpetrator told the couple of her daughter who was dying of cancer, saying her only hope was to share her story.
“It sounder very sort of real,” Kimberly says. “But she wasn’t dying to get a hold of me. You know, that was kind of the beginning of the manipulation.” The former “According to Jim” star spent the next two weeks communicating with the mother via e-mails, phone calls and text messages. She also received photos and a phone call from the supposed ill child, whom the couple believed to be named Claire.
With the constant stream of communication, Brad became similarly convinced that everything was on the up and up. “In the middle of it, there’s no way that’s not real,” he admits. “How can that not be real?”
Things changed, however, when the mother suddenly broke the news that Claire had passed away. Kimberly asked for an address to send flowers, a request that went ignored. The mother then shot off an angry e-mail to Kimberly, saying, “I don’t need you to pray for me!”
With that, the couple went about investigating just who they were speaking with, learning it had been a work of fiction all along. As for those photos of Claire they’d received? They belonged to an innocent party in a different state.
As ABC News reports, the Paisley’s weren’t the only celebrities who fell victim to the strange hoax. Kate Gosselin, members of the country group Little Big Town and several Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders were all targeted with similar stories.