A COUPLE have had their own fairytale ending after a catfishing scheme unexpectedly ended well.
On Thursday, The Atlantic published an in-depth piece on Emma Perrier, a London-based woman who was catfished - then ended up finding love with the man whose photos were used to scam her.
Catfishing, a term used to describe luring someone into a relationship by adopting a fictional online persona, has become so common it even inspired the MTV show Catfish, where hosts call out the cruel people who do it.
Perrier's viral story made headlines earlier this year, but The Atlantic fleshed out the stranger-than-fiction tale in glorious detail. Here are some highlights.
In 2015, Perrier, then 33, was recovering from a terrible breakup that left her watching The Notebook on repeat - until she met a strapping young man named "Ronnie" on matchmaking app Zoosk.
Unfortunately, Ronnie never existed. He was a character dreamt up by Alan Stanley, a 53-year-old who decorates retail stores and regularly baited women into online relationships without ever meeting them in person.
Stanley attempted to defend himself, telling The Atlantic "Everyone catfishes these days".
"Ronnie" and Perrier continued the relationship for six months, exchanging "I love you" without ever meeting in person.
Perrier ended up using Reverse Image Search, an iPad app that searches the internet, to find the original source of Ronnie's pics. Turns out those images belonged to one Adem Guzel, a male model from Turkey.
In September 2016, she messaged Guzel, and they ended up FaceTiming and began their own long-distance relationship.
Even after Stanley 'fessed up to his scheme, Perrier continued their online relationship - while also seeing Guzel. In November 2016, Perrier and Stanley decided to meet up in person in London, where Perrier took him out to dinner.
Stanley "insinuated" that Perrier tried to stay the night at his hotel, which she denied. They even exchanged Christmas gifts that year.
Perrier cut Stanley off in January 2017, when things between her and Guzel got serious. Two months later, Perrier invited Guzel to visit her in London.
When Guzel arrived in London in April, they kissed at the airport and fell in love.
"Three minutes later, I felt like I [had known] her a long time," Guzel told The Atlantic.
Stanley claims he's found love on his own with "a European lady, younger than me, younger than Emma."
Ironically, Guzel - also an actor - is auditioning for an Aladdin play, where he'd portray a street urchin who uses magic to pretend he's a prince so he can snag a princess. (The Atlantic describes it as "the original, Arabian catfishing story.")
This article originally appeared on The New York Post and has been republished here with permission.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.