Celeb news: Australian Idol winner had a six-year relationship with a boyfriend who didn't exist.

OK whoa. This is a seriously bizarre story, but it’s got all the dramatic elements: a reality TV star, an imaginary boyfriend, an online hoax, and the dashed dreams of a young singer.

Remember Casey Donavan? The 16-year-old girl with an incredible voice who won the second season of Australian Idol, back when Mark Holden was famous and we all still watched it? Well, she’s 25 now and she’s got a heartbreaking story to tell.

To trigger your memory, here’s her incredible audition tape for Australian Idol.

Casey’s revealed that she was in love with a man known as ‘Campbell’ for six whole years, only to find out that he doesn’t actually exist. In an excerpt from her autobiography Casey Donovan: Big, Beautiful & Sexy, she recounts this truly shocking hoax.  

Her ‘relationship’ with Campbell began when she was touring with the Australian Idol finalists back in 2004. She got a phone call from a secret admirer, who claimed that he got her number from a friends of hers. She was pretty skeptical, but ended up staying on the phone with him for an hour.

This was Campbell’s first contact with Casey.

Casey and Campbell became phone buddies, chatting on their mobiles while Casey was filming Idol. The first time Campbell was supposed to turn up to meet Casey, he sent a woman called Olga instead.

It’s about to get confusing, stay with us.

Let’s recap. Casey (real person singer) befriends Campbell (who at this point is just a mysterious voice on a phone). Campbell sends Olga (a real flesh-and-blood woman who exists) instead of visiting Casey himself.

This is just the beginning of Campbell’s (remember – just a mysterious voice on a phone) lies. Every time he agreed to Casey, he comes up with another excuse and often sent Olga in his place.

“He had to go to Queensland to look after his sick aunt, his car wasn’t working, his cousin died, his sister was pregnant, someone broke into his house, he had to go up the coast to see his godson, he was out of town on business,” writes Casey, of all Campbell’s excuses.

Every time “Campbell” broke a promise to meet Casey, Olga turned up to comfort her. Campbell even cajoled Casey to sleep with Olga. And that’s about the time rumours began to circulate that Casey Donavan was a lesbian. It prompted her to release a statement to media, saying: “I do like boys. I’m very open about my sexuality — I like guys.”


Keep in mind that this “Campbell” is preying on the delicate self-esteem of a 16-year-old girl who’d never been in a relationship or romantically involved with anyone. She never met him in person, but she believed in his existence because she didn’t have the confidence to question it.

“All I felt was dirty, uneasy and used. I was so ashamed of the person I had become, always considering Campbell in everything I did,” Donovan confesses in her book.

At this stage, you must have a lot of questions. Why didn’t Casey demand to meet Campbell? How could this possibly last for six years? Who is this random chick called Olga and what’s her deal?

Well, what happened next clarifies that a little.

Casey finally found a SIM card belonging to “Campbell” on Olga’s bedroom floor. By which time she felt strong enough to get Campbell out of her life.

When Casey finally told this whole story to her manager Jason Williamson, he immediately worked out exactly what’s probably obvious to you right now: That Campbell and Olga are the same person.

Casey confronted Olga, who has sustained the “Campbell” lie for six whole years. “At first she tried to defend herself, but once there was silence she started to cave in and her true colours began to show,” Casey writes. “In the end, Olga did confess that she was Campbell. I finally heard it from the devil’s mouth. But she never came close to explaining why she did it. I still don’t have that explanation.”

The effect this whole episode had on Casey is heartbreaking, understandably. “I spent six years of my life loving someone who never really existed, being ‘supported’ by a best friend who was deceiving me from the beginning, pulling all the strings. I know everyone gets their heart ripped out every now and again but that … That just took the cake for me!”

Casey’s been focusing on her career since all of this went down, protecting herself and learning to trust again.

We really hope she’ll find someone strong and loving and wonderful to share her life with.

Has this ever happened to you or someone you know? 

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