Her age, her childhood, her relationship: Belle Gibson lied about far more than her health.


When two journalists for The Age first started looking into Belle Gibson, they quickly hit a roadblock.

Beau Donelly and Nick Toscano had spoken to a number of sources who told them that Gibson, who at the time had a successful cookbook and app called The Whole Pantry, was faking cancer. The problem, however, was that journalists don’t have access to a person’s medical records. There was no way for them to prove she was lying.

But after some back and forth, Donelly had a thought: “We just figured,” he told Techly, “if she’s lying about this, she’ll be lying about other things.”

It was that line of thinking that led them towards Gibson’s claims that she had donated tens of thousands of dollars to charity. Of course, the charities in question had never heard of her.

Donelly and Toscano decided to publish the story about Gibson’s false claims of charitable donations, knowing it would inevitably lead to questions about her cancer story.

Within half an hour, it did. The next day, that lie started to publicly unravel. As did countless others.

Listen: Where did Belle Gibson’s fortune go? Post continues after audio.

In the four years since, these are the other inconsistencies that have been discovered in the story Belle Gibson was telling.

How old is Belle Gibson?

If you Google this question, the generated response is: ‘About 27 years’.

The confusion comes from the fact that at the height of her fame, Gibson claimed to be three years older than she actually was.


When Tara Brown asked Gibson for her age during her appearance on 60 Minutes in 2015, she couldn’t provide a coherent response.

Despite her birth records showing she was 23 at the time, Gibson told Brown, “I’ve always been raised as being currently a 26-year-old”. She said she had two birth certificates and that her name had been changed four times.

Is Belle Gibson married?

Gibson has been linked to a man named Clive Rothwell since at least 2015, when she first received media attention.

In February 2018, Daily Mail Australia published photos of Gibson wearing what appeared to be an engagement ring, and it was widely believed she had become engaged to the South Australian man.

In court this week, however, when asked for details about her relationship with Clive, she said they were not romantically involved. In fact, despite currently living with Clive, and him paying rent, as well as her legal fees, she said she doesn’t know what he does for a living. “It’s not my business,” she told the court, after it was revealed that she owes him $90,000.

Belle Gibson leaves the Federal Court in Melbourne on Tuesday. Image via AAP.

Does Belle Gibson's brother have autism?

In an interview with the Australian Women's Weekly in 2015, Gibson said her 'troubled' childhood explained her "struggle with the truth".

She claimed she never knew her father and had to care for her mother, who had multiple sclerosis and chronic fatigue, and her brother, who had autism. She also said it was her responsibility from a young age to "do grocery shopping, do the washing, ­arrange medical appointments and pick up my brother".

Gibson's mother, however, told the publication, "Belle never cared for me, her brother is not autistic and she’s barely done a minute’s housework in her life".

Her brother Nick also said, “It’s about attention. She’s always been like this."

What did Belle Gibson's childhood look like?

In a profile for Sunday Style in 2014, Gibson, who falsely claimed to be 26 at the time, said she moved out of home at 12 to live with a classmate.


Her mother and brother, however, say Gibson actually moved in with a man in his 60s.

She has said she attended Wynnum State High School in Brisbane, until dropping out in Year 10, but has also separately claimed to have been homeschooled.

How does Belle Gibson pay for her life?

Belle Gibson is yet to pay her fine of $410,000 for making false claims about her donations to charity.

On Tuesday, she told the court her income comes from government entitlements and odd jobs on Airtasker.

When prosecutors presented evidence to show Gibson has maintained active cryptocurrency and sports betting accounts, she said she hadn't provided a cryptocurrency statement because she “didn’t think that was an investment”.

When asked if she owns her own clothes, Gibson said "yes", but couldn't recall what labels they were.

She claimed she bought the clothes she was wearing in court specifically for the hearing, for a total of $200, but couldn't recall where or when she bought her outfit.

She also couldn't explain how she pays her phone bill, because it’s "not information she spends time thinking about".

Beau Donelly and Nick Toscano's instinct had been right that a person lying about their own cancer diagnosis is likely to be lying in other areas of their life.

But they can't have expected the sheer extent to which Belle Gibson had a problem with the truth.

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