After admitting that she lied about having terminal brain cancer in a tell-all interview in April, Australian social media celebrity and wellness expert Belle Gibson is now backtracking and saying she at one point did believe she had cancer.
“I lived for years with the fear that I was dying,” she said in an interview with Australia’s 60 Minutes. “I wasn’t living in a space where I didn’t know that this was my reality.”
Gibson told interviewer Tara Brown that she was given the diagnosis of having an inoperable brain tumor in 2009 by an immunologist and neurologist who ran a series of tests during a home visit. However, according to 60 Minutes, no record of this doctor exists.
“I believed he was a real doctor,” said Gibson, who wrote about how she beat the odds of surviving cancer through natural therapies and eating whole foods on her Whole Pantry social media accounts, website and app, as well as in her cookbook.
“I’ve not been intentionally untruthful,” she said of misleading her followers. “I’ve been openly speaking about what was my reality.”
While Gibson claims she only found out the truth about her cancer – or lack thereof – within the past year, medical records obtained by 60 Minutes show that she underwent a brain scan in 2011 that showed she was cancer-free. Despite this, Gibson went on to launch her Whole Pantry brand in 2013.
RELATED VIDEO: Beyoncé’s Heartfelt Message to Her Backup Singer Battling Cancer
Doubts about Gibson’s story began to emerge in March, when it was revealed that she never made contributions to charities as she had promised. She told Brown that she is still planning on making those donations, but she said her accountants are working on figuring out her finances.
“I still stand by those promises,” she said.
Gibson also explained why she has been lying about her age – she stated she is 26 but is actually 23.
“I believe that I’m 26. I have two birth certificates and I’ve had my name changed four times. The identity crisis there is big, but that was my normal when I was growing up,” said Gibson, who said she does not know her father and is estranged from her mother and brother.
Gibson said she had every intention to tell the truth about her lack of cancer to her followers, but the media beat her to it.
“Once I started to figure out where I stood, and what reality actually was, and I had received the definitive ‘No, you do not have cancer,’ then that was something that I had to come to terms with,” she said. “I was feeling a huge amount grief that I had been lied to, and I had been taken on a ride. It took me a while to unpack that. And once I was strong enough, I was ready to come out and speak to my community about it, and I had a definitive date, and that date was only 10 days before the media broke it.”