My ‘famous’ fella was nothing but a conman

'Famous' fella was conman

by take-a-break |
Updated on

Denise was flattered when a ‘celebrity judge’ fell in love with her. But something wasn't quite right

My 'famous' fella was a big conman
I was flattered by the attention

Switching on the TV, my eyes went googly at the hunky American Idol judge on the screen. His name was Luke Bryan, and he was a famous country singer too.

I’d been a fan of his for years, and I thought: I’d love to meet him one day.
After the show finished, I began to scroll through the Meetup app. I’d recently moved to a new area and thought it would be a good way to make some friends.
The next day, I was astonished to receive a message on the app from someone I knew.
It was Luke Bryan.
Why would a superstar want to talk to me? I wondered.
Opening the message, my heart skipped a beat.
Hello, beautiful, he wrote. I bet you’re surprised to hear from me.
I couldn’t help but feel excited, and my mind went into overdrive.
I sent a message back and we made small talk.
Once we’d got to know each other a little better, he asked for my phone number.
But I was still surprised that someone like him would be on a meet-up app, let alone want to be friends with a fan.

My famous fella was a fraudster
THE REAL Luke Bryan Credit: Instagram @lukebryan ©Instagram @lukebryan

What do you want with me? 
I asked honestly.
I’m having some problems at home and need to talk to someone he replied. But please be discreet.
I knew I needed to keep our interactions to myself because he was such a famous face.
I felt sorry for him, so I gave him my number and we began messaging through WhatsApp.
To make sure he was real, I asked for proof.
When he sent me selfies that I couldn’t find online, I felt more reassured.
And every time he told me what he was doing, I went on to Luke Bryan’s official Instagram page to check it was true.

I knew he was married to a woman named Caroline Boyer and they had five kids, three of which were adopted.
When he told me he was having marital problems, I checked his social media.
But he’d just posted a picture on his Instagram of him and his wife beaming at each other.
They looked so in love.
That’s just a PR stunt, we’re going through a divorce, he wrote when I questioned him.
I’m sorry to hear that, I replied.
I was honoured that a big star like him was confiding in me.
A few weeks in, his friendly banter turned flirty.
I was a 55-year-old grandmother and flattered to be getting the attention of a gorgeous 45-year-old celebrity. So I happily reciprocated.
But whenever I asked him to talk on the phone or FaceTime, he said it was against his management’s orders.
I was frustrated, but at the same time, I knew being in the public eye meant he was being watched like a hawk.
One day, he made a confession I didn’t expect.
I love you, Denise, his message read. I’m so glad I found you.
I couldn’t believe it. Luke Bryan was in love with me!

My famous fella was a conman

Eventually, I told him I loved him too.
He wasn’t just a singer, he was also a songwriter.
So when he sent me some poems that he’d written for me, I felt like the luckiest woman in the world.
Please keep my divorce to yourself, I don’t want people to know yet, he messaged.
Of course, your secret’s safe with me, I replied.
But was it all too good to be true? There was a niggling doubt in my mind.
I’d heard of catfishing, so I showed my son-in-law John the pictures that Luke had sent me.
‘It looks legit to me,’ he said.
It gave me all the reassurance I needed to pursue the relationship.
Then, Luke made a surprising request.
Please can you send me some money? he messaged one day.
I thought it was odd. He was a millionaire after all.
Why do you need money? 
I replied.
My wife has frozen my bank account, he explained.
I told him that I wasn’t exactly flush for cash. I was reluctant, because I needed every penny. But he managed to persuade me.
I need to buy birthday presents for my boys, he pleaded.
Being a mum and a grandma myself, it played on my heart strings.

I started sending him a gift card once a month with a few hundred pounds on. He’d given me a third-party address to send it to.
My uncle and his wife Patricia live there, he told me.
I thought it was odd that I couldn’t send the money straight to him, but I knew that if the media caught wind of it, everyone would find out about his divorce.
One day, I’ll give you everything you want. Money, diamonds, you name it, he messaged. You could even come on tour with me.
He was painting the dream life and I was really falling for him.
So when he told me he wanted to take our relationship to the next level, I was over the moon.
I want to marry you after the divorce is final, his message read.
The next night when he appeared on my TV screen 
again, I sighed in admiration.
‘I can’t wait to be your wife,’ I muttered to myself.
I’d never had much money, so being able to give my family a better life was something I’d always dreamt of.
I felt so lucky to have met Luke.
We’d been dating for several months when, one day, I got a strange text from a friend.
I’m so sorry to hear you’re in hospital, I’ll send you £100 now, it read.
What do you mean? I’m sitting on the sofa, I replied in confusion.
When he explained that he had received a Facebook message from me asking for money, I smelt a rat.
The message had referred to the kidney surgery I was getting soon.
I’d told Luke about it, and I knew he was desperate for money.
He must have hacked into my Facebook account, I thought.
When more of my friends told me they’d had the same message, I was furious.

When I questioned Luke, he stopped responding to my messages.
Then I came home to letters from the bank saying they had closed down several accounts that had been opened in my name.
It appeared that cash had been deposited into them, but the bank suspected it was fraudulent activity.
And I had a feeling I knew who was responsible.
I’m not sending you any more money, I messaged Luke.
I was so angry that he’d taken advantage of me.
Rather than explain himself, he simply sent an image back.
It was a photo of his divorce certificate.

My famous fella was a conman
His fake divorce certificate

He was trying to prove he loved me, but as soon as I clocked eyes on it, my heart sank.
It was so obviously a fake, it was almost laughable.
It looked like a child had made it.
That’s when it hit me and I thought: I’ve been scammed.
I blocked him straightaway.
We’d been together for six months and I’d had big hopes for our future.
To say I was devastated was an understatement.
Then it dawned on me that altogether, I’d sent him over £3,500.
When my son-in-law John did his research and found out that the man I’d been talking to was actually in Nigeria, I couldn’t believe it.
I never thought I’d fall for a con artist, but I did.
I reported it to the police, but because he’s in another country, they’ve said there isn’t anything they can do.
Now I want to warn others to make sure you FaceTime whoever it is you’re speaking with online, to be certain they’re legit.
There are still lots of fake Luke Bryan profiles out there and it scares me that women are still being fooled.
In the end, my famous fella was nothing but a two-faced fraudster.

Denise Vick, 56

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