1. Kailani’s Divorce Heartbreak
The hosts found themselves in Menifee, California, meeting up with Kailani at the urging of her best friend, Melvin. Apparently, Kailani had been talking to “Sam” online — the same suspected catfish that Melvin had been romantically talking to a few months prior.
Quickly after meeting Kailani, Nev and Max were hit with her tragic backstory. Prior to starting an online relationship with “Sam,” Kailani was caught in a storm of heartbreak and infidelity. After only being married for six months, Kailani had discovered her new husband was cheating on her. Not only that, but he secretly got engaged to someone else. Calling herself “23 and divorced,” Kailani lamented that she bonded with Sam initially because he would “stay on the phone with me while I cried, every night. … He told me he loved me, and I told him I loved him, too.”
2. Welcome to Red Flag City, Population: 2
Shortly after diving into Kailani’s story, Nev and Max were confronted with a litany of red flags. Apparently, every time she tried to see him, Sam would say he had too much homework. Kailani defended herself, saying, “I believed he was real because of all the pictures he sent me.” After closely examining Sam’s Snapchats to her, Nev said, “He must be using a third party Snapchat uploader. … It’s a good fake.” Nev even commented on how convincing Sam’s Instagram account was, and added that Sam had a “nice butt.”
The first of many twists came when Kailani revealed to Max and Nev that she already told Sam about the Catfish investigation. Max and Nev jumped on this by asking Kailani to get Sam on the phone. Once on the line, Sam told Nev, “I don’t want you guys involved.” Kailani pleaded, “If you love me, why can’t you just give me a few hours of your day?” He then insisted, “I’m in the middle of studying,” and hung up. Ouch.
3. Nev and Max Discover the True Identity of the Man in the Pictures
On their way to an Italian restaurant (of all places) to dig into their research, Max admitted to Nev of Kailani, “She’s so desperate for one thing to work out that she will take this guy that is the most obvious catfish. She’s in denial.”
After struggling to find matches for his pictures via online searches, they discovered a giant clue — an account with the exact same photos under the name “Dominic.” While Sam’s Instagram account had been “SammyHilfigerr,” the actual account belonged to someone named “Domi_Hilfiger.” Coincidence? Definitely not.
On top of discovering the photogenic man’s identity, another bombshell dropped quickly afterward. One of Sam’s Facebook friends, Adriana, got in touch with Nev and Max. She revealed that Sam had reached out to her, attempting to start an online relationship. When the duo revealed all of this information to Kailani, she was upset.
Nev told her, “He was talking to some other girl, giving her the same kind of story while he was talking to you.” After FaceTiming with the real Dominic, Kailani was heartbroken. In tears, she admitted, “My husband never apologized to me. … So I would really appreciate an apology from [Sam].”
4. When Sam Met Kailani
The next day, Max and Nev rushed back to Kailani’s house after getting a call that Sam was on his way there in an Uber. As an Uber pulled up, a short, young-looking man stepped out, wearing a hoodie. When Kailani asked her apparent online significant other how old he is, he said, “I’m 19.” He pleaded with Kailani, saying the pictures were the only thing he lied about. Sam continued, “This isn’t an excuse, but, like, in high school, I got made fun of a lot because I have feminine features …” When Nev confronted Sam with, “You knew what she was going through,” Sam responded, “And that’s why I couldn’t really tell her.”
Sam pleaded to Kailani, “I do love you.” He defended his online relationship with Adriana, saying, “I cared for her as a friend.” After Kailani went inside, Sam started to cry and said, “I never wanted to hurt her. Even though I knew what I was doing was wrong.”
5. Sam’s Transgender Revelation
Sam then asked to meet up with Nev and Max privately the following day and revealed a huge truth. A nervous Sam revealed, “My name is Sam, but my birth name is Samantha. I’m going through the process to turn into a male, but my family doesn’t know because they wouldn’t accept it. … My mom, she wanted me to be really girly. She would say, ‘I have a daughter, not a son.’” Sam continued, “I didn’t tell Kailani because I sort of wanted to protect myself. … I did create the profile to test waters and stuff … to see if that was something I really wanted., to be a male. … She made me feel accepted. … My feelings for her are strong, and they’re real.”
After Sam came out as trans to her, Kailani said, “You should have just been yourself because I would have just accepted you for you, either way.” Kailani continued, “I’m not mad at you. … I might need some space, but I do want to be your friend.”
Max summed it up beautifully when he said, “You guys really helped each other — through a bad marriage, through transitioning. That’s really what’s important.”
Two months later, Kailani revealed she was no longer talking to Sam but did have a new boyfriend who works for UPS. Sam revealed that he’s in the process of signing up for EMT paramedic classes and has been slowly coming out to his friends.
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Catfish airs on MTV Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET.
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