Brad Paisley and wife Kimberly Williams-Paisley learned the hard way that people aren't always who they say they are. In an interview with ABC's Nightline on Wednesday, Nov. 6, the couple revealed for the first time that they recently fell victim to an elaborate, twisted hoax involving a woman who claimed her young daughter was dying of pediatric cancer.
It started last fall, when Williams-Paisley allegedly received an email from a woman, "Carrie," who said that her 8-year-old daughter, Claire, had asked her mom to reach out to the Nashville actress. The email stated that neither Claire nor her family wanted anything from the star; they simply wanted to pass on Claire's message about how much she loved The Christmas Shoes.
"It sounded very sort of real," Williams-Paisley, 42, explained. "But she wasn't dying to get ahold of me. You know, that was kind of the beginning of the manipulation."
The actress made contact with the family not long after. She and Carrie exchanged several emails, phone calls, and texts; Carrie also sent photographs of Claire and snippets of what she said was the little girl's journal. Williams-Paisley's husband even got on the phone to sing to her.
"You're singing to someone's dying kid. And in the middle of it, there's no way that's not real," the country singer told Nightline. "How can that not be real?"
They soon found out. After Carrie told the Paisleys that Claire had died, they asked for an address to send flowers. She wouldn't give them one and even wrote an email saying she didn't need their prayers.
That raised "every red flag" for the couple. And things unraveled from there. As Nightline revealed on Wednesday, the photos of the girl known to the Paisleys as Claire were actually photos from a blog belonging to someone else's sick child in Southern California.
The Paisleys weren't the only victims, either. Kate Gosselin and members of the band Little Big Town were also duped in similar hoaxes.
"We really wanted to come out and talk about it publicly just to draw attention to what can happen so that people are aware," Williams-Paisley told Access Hollywood at the Nov. 6 CMAs, which her husband co-hosted. "When they put their kids online, pictures of their kids online, things like this can happen."