Emma Perrier was already heartbroken from a past relationship when she took a chance with online dating. Her hope for romance was renewed when a matchmaking app paired her with a charming and extraordinarily handsome man named Ronnie Scicluna.
The love story took a turn, however, when she found out that Ronnie Scicluna wasn’t real.
After she was dumped by her boyfriend of eight months, Perrier turned to a dating site called Zoosk. Though she had never used a relationship app before, the 31-year-old Frenchwoman hoped that maybe it could help her find “Mr. Right”.
She eventually struck up a conversation with Scicluna: a tall, dark, and handsome 34-year-old electrician who worked in the West Midlands of England – just 100 miles away from where Perrier lives in London.
Perrier told the Atlantic that what started as innocent flirting eventually turned into constant texting and hour-long phone calls. In the months following their initial pairing on Zoosk during the autumn of 2015, Perrier would beg Scicluna for a dinner date. The electrician would always make excuses, saying that he worked too much or that he didn’t have time to travel because of his family.
Scicluna stayed evasive because he was actually a short, balding 53-year-old interior designer named Alan Stanley.
After his 22-year marriage ended in divorce, Stanley had taken up “catfishing” as a hobby – a term used to describe when someone creates a fake social media profile in order to meet and deceive people on the internet, often for romantic reasons. Stanley says that chasing women over the internet made him feel more alive – and he enjoyed the company.
But over the course of their year-long “relationship”, Perrier was dejected by Scicluna’s inability to meet up with her. Since she works as an assistant manager at an Italian restaurant in the city, Perrier confided in her coworkers and expressed her frustration over the romantic dilemma. The employees warned her that Scicluna may not be who she thought he was, saying that he could be an ugly old man – or worse, a murderous psychopath.
Though Perrier didn’t want to believe it, she uploaded Scicluna’s photo to a website that traces pictures back to their original sources on the internet.
She was devastated to discover that Scicluna’s photos belonged to that of a Turkish supermodel named Adam Guzel.
After confronting Scicluna about the alternate identity, he tried to explain that Adam Guzel was simply the name he used during a brief modeling career in his youth. By August 2016, however, the jig was up – Perrier traced some of the other innocuous photos that Scicluna had sent her to a Trip Advisor account under the name Alan Stanley.
Stanley decided to come clean and send an actual photo of himself to Perrier. He called her and explained everything about why he lied to her and who he really was.
Overcome by heartbreak and betrayal, Perrier reached out to Guzel with the intention of warning him about the thief who stole his photos.
According to the Atlantic, she found Guzel on Facebook in September 2016 and wrote: “Hello Adem, we don’t know each other but a year ago I met a guy online and that man is using your picture and pretends he is you under another name. I wasn’t sure if getting in touch with you was a good idea but I needed you to know, kind regards, Emma.”
Guzel, who had been living in Istanbul when he read the message, was furious by how Perrier had been deceived. The supermodel had received warnings of his pictures being used for such nefarious catfishing plots in the past, but for some unexplainable reason, he was intrigued by Perrier’s message.
By the time January rolled around, Guzel and Perrier had started an amiable internet correspondence. After several months of chatting over social media, the Frenchwoman took a chance and invited the Turkish man to London.
On April 1st, 2017, picked up Guzel from Heathrow airport and finally met the man of her dreams in person. Minutes later, they shared their first kiss while they were waiting for an Uber. When Jeff Maysh from the Atlantic interviewed the beautiful couple in September, they had already been living together for six months – and they were intent on living happily ever after.
And they say that it is all thanks to the “catfish turned Cupid”.
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Reprint (Photo by Emma Perrier)