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Casey Donovan opens up to Andrew Denton about her secret torment: "I was killing myself eating"

Casey Donovan opens up to Andrew Denton about her secret torment: "I was killing myself eating"

Casey Donovan has opened up about a six-year sham relationship that left her feeling suicidal in an interview with Andrew Denton.

Speaking on Denton’s show Interview, the 2004 Australian Idol winner revealed how she became involved with a “man” for six years, only to find out that he did not exist and was invented by her best friend Olga.

The now 30-year-old said it took a long time to get over the “betrayal, the distrust, and the emotional heartache” upon finding out the truth.

“That was my world … done, basically. I wanted to die,” she said. “It got to that point where it was just — ‘What the f**k have I done to my life?’ I’d put on so much weight. I was killing myself eating. The nothingness that I was … I was just empty.”

The ordeal began on Australia Day in 2005, when Donovan was touring the country with fellow Idol finalists. The singer, then 16, received a call from an unknown man with an “ocker, surfie” voice who said his name was Campbell.

“It was this guy on the line, and he wouldn’t tell me who he was or how he got my number,” she told Denton. “I basically said, you need to lose this number.”

However, the man kept calling back, and Donovan began answering them. 

“When you’re on the road as a 16-year-old, you can’t go out to pubs and clubs with the other people. You get sent to your room. I was like, ‘This is interesting.' It became comfortable to talk to this person every day,” she recalled.

The calls continued, and Donovan became “glued” to her phone throughout the tour.

The red flags began appearing when Campbell would flake from their plans to meet in person after Donovan returned to Sydney. Instead, he would send in a “friend” named Olga in his place to see Donovan.

While her connection with both Campbell and Olga continued to grow, Donovan started thinking, “There’s something not right.”

At one point, Campbell convinced Donovan – who had no sexual experience then – to have sex with Olga and discuss the experience over the phone with him. 

“The sexual encounter with Olga … he was like, ‘Do that, then we’ll all get together and do that together’,” she said.

“I was doing everything to prove to myself that there was the slightest chance that he could have been real.”

In 2011, Donovan finally revealed her suspicions over the relationship to her manager Jason, who helped her find out that Campbell and Olga were the same person.

When Denton asked what made her stay in a suspect situation for years, she answered, “Hope. To think that no one could actually do that to another human being. To think of all the s**t I’ve been through in my life … to be at that point and to just have everything fall apart. It really hurt.”

If you are troubled by this article, experiencing a personal crisis or thinking about suicide, you can call Lifeline 131 114 or beyondblue 1300 224 636 or visit lifeline.org.au or beyondblue.org.au.