Seven women each thought that they were texting and interacting with the man of their dreams, but they soon discovered that the guy they were all building a relationship with was actually a gay woman from Texas.
The victims of the elaborate "catfish" — the term used to describe a situation in which a person poses as someone else — decided to sit down together to confront Kayla, the woman with whom they had corresponded, in an uncomfortable appearance on "Dr. Phil."
The women were given the chance to question the 24 year old who had tricked them into believing that she was a young Mormon man looking to foster a relationship with each of them, proceeding to ask why she had so strategically duped them.
Kayla, who said she has struggled to rectify her Mormon faith with being gay, apologized to the group and said that she adopted the identity of a man in an effort to explore and deal with her conflicting emotions.
"It's for the simple fact that being gay and being Mormon is hard. Your church tells you, 'We love you, but we don't love who you are,'" she said. "I'm sorry that I dragged you guys into my mess. Whether you believe me or not, that's up to you."
She added, "I went about figuring out my life in the wrong way."
Kayla's relationships and interactions with these women — some of whom are students at Brigham Young University in Utah — ranged from a month to two years, though she insists she did not have any negative intentions.
"I didn't have any evil intentions in this," Kayla told Dr. Phil. "I created an online persona so that I could figure out who I was and figure out if I was gay or not or if I wanted to be a part of the religion of not."
She added, "I never thought that it would go this long."
Kayla had reportedly taken the identity of a man named Keagan from Montana, using the names Hunter Anderson and Hyrum Young, depending on whom she was speaking with.
Keagan had no idea that his identity was being used and was given the chance to meet the women and apologize on "Dr. Phil," the Daily Mail reported.
Some of the victims had previously spoken out in an interview with KSTU-TV, describing the pain that they felt after learning that the man they thought was an attractive male member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was actually a woman.
"Having someone do that to you makes you question things, it makes you question yourself," one of the women named Hillary Hayes told the outlet, explaining that she and Kayla began chatting in late 2013. "I was so confused and I felt so lost. Somebody that I had shared so much with was, everything he told me was a complete lie."
(H/T: Daily Mail)