Back in 2015, a 33-year-old woman named Emma Perrier downloaded a dating app called Zoosk in an effort to mend her broken heart. She had just broken up with a man 11-years her junior, and was now looking for something more serious. Eventually she stumbled upon a dashing gentleman called Ronaldo “Ronnie” Scicluna, a 34-year-old plumber living in the UK. She sent him a message.
Skip ahead a few months later, and the two have exchanged hundreds of messages and, eventually, "I love you's." Things were getting serious, but every time Emma proposed meeting up in real life, Ronnie found an excuse not to. If you've ever watched an episode of MTV's Catfish, you probably know where this is going. Where is Nev Schulman when you need him?
Soon Perrier got more and more suspicious (because, duh), so she decided to run reverse image search on Ronnie's pictures. That's when she discovered that "Ronnie" was actually Adem Guzel, a Turkish actor and model. It turns out that a a short, balding, 53-year-old divorcee named Alan Stanley was using Guzel's pictures to trick women into talking to him. He even admitted that Emma was not his only victim, and that he catfishes women regularly.
Very, very not cool.
For the second time in a year, Emma was completely heartbroken.
Even after admitting to deceiving her, Alan Stanley still tried to pursue a romantic relationship with Perrier, this time as himself. Needless to say, Emma was not into the idea.
Now this is where most catfishing stories end, but Perrier made a decision that turned this cautionary tale into a love story with a happy ending.
In September 2016, Perrier messaged Guzel to warn him that Stanley was using his pictures to lure women online. Guzel told The Atlantic that this was not the first time this has happened to him, and he usually doesn't respond when people reach out. He was living in a village in Turkey with poor internet connection at the time, but something drove him to answer Emma's messages anyway. Later that day, the two decided to video chat, and that is how their long-distance romance began.
After over six months of talking online, Guzel eventually moved out to London to be with Perrier. Because Turkey is not yet in the European Union, Adem can only stay in London for six months, and cannot work doing that time. But Perrier and Guzel's love story is so miraculous that if they can defeat the odds and get together in the first place, surely they can find a way to make it work.
Even Alan Stanley, the man who posed as Guzel for so many months, now wishes the couple well: "I think it’s brilliant Emma and Adem have met," he said. "It’s almost like fate."
To read The Atlantic's full piece on Emma and Adem, click here.