A PE teacher who thought he’d found love again following a brutal divorce that caused him to hit rock bottom discovered his online girlfriend of eight months was actually his housemate posing as a another woman on last night’s Catfish UK.
Mario, who is originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin but has lived in west London for 11 years, explained that he had transformed his life following the break-up of his marriage which left him homeless and unable to see his children.
After losing nearly three stone and quitting drinking and drugs, he met ‘Hannah’ on a dating app, who he said was ‘beautiful, kind and compassionate’.
He communicatd with Hannah online every day, but the pair would never chat on the phone.
Even though they both lived in west London, Hannah would always cancel when it came to meeting Mario in person and she refused to send him voicenotes.
A PE teacher who thought he’d found love again following a brutal divorce that caused him to hit rock bottom discovered his online girlfriend of eight months was actually his housemate posing as a another woman on last night’s Catfish UK. Mario (pictured) who is originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin but has lived in west London for 11 years, explained that he had transformed his life following the break-up of his marriage which left him homeless and unable to see his children
Suspicious that she might not be who she said she was, Mario contacted MTV’s Catfish, in the hope hosts Oobah Butler and Julie Adenuga would be able to track her down.
But they discovered ‘Hannah’ was actually Mario’s housemate and former ‘friend with benefits’ Courtney ‘who was desperately in love’ with Mario.
Courtney, who is also Mario’s business partner, had been using pictures of a woman based in New Zealand – who was clueless about the scheme.
Explaining his initial suspicions to the hosts, Mario said: ‘Six years ago I went through a divorce and hit rock bottom, it was a difficult time but forced me to work on myself and I have since changed my life losing 40lbs in the process.
‘I took my divorce hard, I started drinking doing drugs, I was homeless, I wasn’t able to see my kids for nine months. I had to change. And now I’ve created a new super Mario – and then Hannah came along.’
He explained he’d tried to meet ‘Hannah’ but she kept dropping out last minute, with excuses including having to ‘babysit her nephew’ and ‘moving back in with her parents’.
Suspicious that she might not be who she says she is Mario contacted MTV’s Catfish, in the hope hosts Oobah Butler and Julie Adenuga would be able to track her down. But they discovered ‘Hannah’ (left) was actually a woman called Sarah from New Zealand and Mario was talking to his housemate and former friend with benefits Courtney (right)
Despite this, he was convinced she was real because she had given him her postcode.
After speaking to Mario, Julie and Oobah investigated Hannah’s Instagram profile.
Suspicious of some of the photos, Oobah said: ‘Why would you take a photo with a red telephone box if you lived in London, it’s just weird. You’d do that if you were visiting.’
They searched her postcode in the electoral register, which didn’t list anyone by her name – but did say this could mean she just wasn’t registered to vote.
Mario explained he’s tried to meet ‘Hannah’ but she keeps dropping out last minute, with excuses including she has to ‘babysit her nephew’ and ‘moving back in with her parents’
Mario lost nearly three stone and quit drinking and drugs after his divorce, pictured left before and right now
However, when they did a reverse image of her pictures, they found the woman in the photos Mario believed was Hannah were of a woman named Sarah from New Zealand.
Upon hearing the news that he hadn’t been speaking to the girl in the pictures, Mario said: ‘I feel foolish, do they not have better things to do with their time than waste mine?’
The trio decided to call ‘Hannah’ who immediately hung up when Oobah told them he was from Catfish. Hannah then texted Mario to say ‘Catfish have just been in touch, if I meet you, do you promise I won’t lose you?’
‘I don’t even know how to respond to that,’ Mario added, but he did agree to the meeting.
Social media photos show Mario and Courtney are still running an athletic apparel business together
Hosted by radio and TV presenter Julie Adenuga and journalist and author Oobah Butler, each week Catfish UK will be helping love-struck hopefuls get to the bottom of their online relationships and uncover the truth of who they have been speaking to
Oobah and Julie then took Mario to Wandsworth Park expecting to meet Hannah, but discovered that she was his flatmate Courtney.
‘I didn’t expect to see you today,’ Mario said after Courtney revealed herself. ‘Out of everyone in the world I didn’t expect you.
‘It’s not real, this is way too much to take in,’ Mario added.
Fans were left baffled at the outcome of the episode due to the shocking twist at the end
What is Catfish? The dating show that helps people meet their online loves
Inspired by the hit US TV show, Catfish UK aired it’s first episode on MTV on April 21 and is hosted by journalists Oobah Butler and Julie Adenuga.
The show sees hopefuls contact the hosts in order to help them meet someone they’ve fallen in love with online, but they often turn out to be someone different to who they claim to be.
The series comes after ten years and eight successful series of the US show, hosted by Nev Schulman and Kamie Crawford. While the original show has seen some people discover their online loves are real – often they aren’t who they say they are with shocking episodes revealing people Catfishing their ex-partners, family members and friends.
Some people have even pretended to be celebrities – including Bow Wow and Katy Perry – while others have been branded ‘serial Catfish’ after appearing on the show multiple times.
It’s the fifth international spin-off of the widely successful series, which has seen versions take place in Colombia, Chile, Brazil and Mexico.
The MTV show began as a spin-off of a 2010 documentary called ‘Catfish’ – created by Nev’s brother Ariel Schulman and his creative partner Henry Joost.
The documentary follows Nev, then 24, and working a photographer to meet Megan, a singer who he’s met online.
But after travelling across country to find her, he discovers Megan doesn’t exist and instead he’s been talking to a middle-aged housewife who spent most of her days caring for her two severely disabled stepsons and building a web of lies and dozens of fake profiles online.
Talking to Nev, Angela’s husband Vince tells the story of how cod were shipped along with catfish in the same tanks to keep the cod active, and ensure the quality of the fish, and says this is a metaphor on how there are people in everyone’s lives who keep them alert, active, and always thinking, which gives the documentary it’s name.
Two years after the low-budget documentary became a huge success, the Schulman brothers teamed up with MTV to make the show, with Max Joseph co-hosting the show until Kamie Crawford took over in 2020.
In 2014, the term ‘catfish’ was added to the Oxford English dictionary, thanks to the success of the show.
‘He’s my best friend, and my roommate,’ Courtney explained to the hosts.
‘We’ve known each other for almost five years now. I wanted to see what it would be like to be his girlfriend, because I am desperately in love with him,’ she added.
Mario then explained he knew about Courtney’s feelings towards him and that they used to sleep together, but he never wanted a relationship.
‘We were sleeping together and our friendship grew and grew, it just made sense to move in together. We started a business together,’ she added.
‘It was wrong, I shouldn’t have done it. But I did it from a place of love. It’s the realest thing I’ve had in my life,’ she went on.
‘I love Courtney as a friend, as family, but that’s it. It wouldn’t work,’ Mario said.
‘I don’t think we’re going to fix this today, you need to take 24 hours on this,’ Julie told the pair, before Mario went to stay at a friend’s house.
Unsure how to resolve the issue, Oobah and Julie called Nev Schulman – the original host of the US version of the show.
‘There’s obviously a lot at stake here, their lives are so interwoven, the only thing you can do is calmly facilitate a conversation,’ Nev advised.
The next day they met Courtney and Mario, with Courtney saying she wants to try to have a relationship with Mario.
‘I have a rollercoaster of emotions at the moment, but all I ever ask for is honesty,’ Mario said. ‘How can I trust you in the future? I was talking to you about Hannah and you were Hannah.’
‘I created the profile because I wanted to see a different side of you and imagine what it’s like being in a relationship with you.
‘I hope you can forgive me. I love you unconditionally and I always will,’ Courtney said.
‘It’s nice to hear someone is in love with you,’ Mario replied.
‘But it makes me feel bad because I don’t feel the same way. I forgive Hannah, but I need to move forward and move on.’
Two months later, Oobah and Julie caught up with the pair who said they were living together again after three weeks apart, and have stayed friends.
Social media photos show the pair are still running an athletic apparel business together.