Country superstar Brad Paisley and wife, actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley, recently revealed that they had been victims of a cancer scam. The stars fell prey to a woman who claimed that her daughter was dying of neuroblastoma, an often fatal cancer.
"She said that her daughter had begged her to get in touch with me," Kimberly told ABC News. "It sounded very sort of real, but she wasn't dying to get a hold of me. You know, that was kind of the beginning of the manipulation."
The couple exchanged emails, texts, and phone calls with the woman known as Carrie and her daughter named Claire. Carrie also sent the Paisleys photos of Claire and her journal, which had several entries that referenced them and songs she reportedly sung for Kimberly. Brad actually made a phone call and sang to the young girl he believed was dying.
"You're singing to someone's dying kid," Brad said. "And in the middle of it, there's no way that's not real. How can that not be real?"
Carrie's story began to fall apart when she claimed that Claire died; the Paisleys wanted to send flowers to the girl's funeral but Carrie refused to give them an address to do so. Then Carrie sent an email that worried Kimberly and gave her "a physical reaction. Every red flag went up that I couldn't ask a simple question."
After doing some research, the Paisleys discovered that Claire was actually a child in Southern California who actually suffered from neuroblastoma and kept an online blog. The Paisleys were outraged at the manipulation, but sadly the story did not end there. "Nightline," an investigative show on ABC, did more research on Carrie's story and found that she had also managed to manipulate other celebrities, including Kate Gosselin and Natalie Grant.
"That's the sickest part of it to me," Brad said. "That is the part that when I start to talk about that, that's when I get really mad… that there were real kids, that there were real photos involved."
"Nightline" managed to track down the woman who posed as Carrie; the special episode airs Wednesday, Nov. 6, on ABC.