Casey Donovan, who rose to fame in 2004 when she won Australian Idol at only 16 years old, has detailed the exact moments leading up to her heartbreaking discovery that her six year relationship was in fact a hoax.
For a quick recap, when Donovan was 16 years old and touring the country with the Australian Idol finalists, she received a phone call from a person called Campbell, who explained they were given her number through a friend of a friend. They struck up a friendship that quickly transitioned into a romance.
The talented singer fell madly in love with Campbell, and they eventually became engaged. However, unbeknown to any of her friends and family, Donovan had never met Campbell.
Every time they organised to meet, he made up an outlandish excuse and a woman called Olga turned up in his place.
The situation took an even more bizarre turn when, during a phone call at a later date, Campbell instructed Donovan to have sex with Olga, whom she had developed a friendship with. Although she was angry at first, she eventually relented.
Despite the peculiar situation, Olga and Donovan became “best friends”.
After a six year relationship, Donovan found out that Campbell was Olga.
The singer wrote candidly about the experience in her autobiography Casey Donovan: Big, Beautiful & Sexy, and on Sunday published an edited extract of her book to The Sydney Morning Herald, expounding precisely how she learnt that she was being catfished by her best friend.
As she explains, the Australian Idol winner was performing the last song at one of her concerts, singing one of her favourites, Aretha Franklin’s (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.
Donovan was emotional during the song, as she had just broken things off with Campbell (at this point still unaware that she was being catfished).
When she came off stage, her manager, Jason, could tell something was not right. When he asked, the singer revealed her break-up to him as well as the fact she had actually never met Campbell.
In complete shock, Jason began asking multiple questions of his client.
Reliving the moment, Donovan writes: “My stomach turned. I felt sick. ‘Yes, I’m serious.’ I paused. ‘Olga is the only one who knows that I’ve never met him,’ I say, referring to my best friend. ‘The only one who knows the truth.'”
When Jason suggested that Campbell could be Olga, Donovan admitted she had thought that before, but didn’t know how to approach the situation. So, Jason took matters into his own hands and decided to go to the house that Campbell had claimed was his own, and knock on the door.
“Jason had a bee in his bonnet about this and he wanted to get to the bottom of it. It was what I needed – another perspective from someone who was strong enough to make me take action,” Donovan recalls.
“Jason and I sat in the car, watching Chris [Jason’s partner] walk to the front door. While we waited, I said to Jason: ‘If he doesn’t live here, I’ll feel like such an idiot. More than once I’ve dropped Christmas gifts or ‘I’m sorry’ gifts at the front door, and he’d always call and say thank you. If he doesn’t live here, where did they go? Surely Olga didn’t drive here just to pick them up.'”
As it turned out, there was no Campbell that lived at the house, which wasn’t even a house at all, but a group of units.
On top of that, she found a SIM card on Olga’s bedroom floor that matched Campbell’s number, leading her “best friend” to eventually admit that it was her all along.
The 30-year-old has said that this trauma was a catalyst for her subsequent sex addiction, explaining she used it as a coping mechanism.
You can read the full excerpt at The Sydney Morning Herald.
Casey Donovan’s book, Big, Beautiful & Sexier, is out now in book stores across the country.