Belle Gibsons is a convicted scammer who built her social media empire by faking her cancer illness. The truth about her biography facts unveiled.
Former social media influencer and blogger, Belle Gibson left fans devastated when they discovered that she had pretended to have cancer.
She operated her fake cancer journey under several names when meeting prospective business partners and in her most recent interview with The Australian Women’s Weekly claimed “her mother changed her name five times”. Gibson’s corporate filings indicate that she is three years younger than she publicly claims to be.
She is known for fabricated claims of having had multiple cancers that were self-treated through diet and alternative medicine. Fabricated claims of undergoing multiple heart surgeries and having strokes. Fraudulent claims of donating $300,000 of income to charities.
The blogger, from Australia, was given a £240,000 fine in 2017 for exploiting her followers and her con is now being explored in ITVX’s The Search For Instagram’s Worst Con Artist.
Here’s everything we know about her; what she did, and where she is now.
Who is Belle Gibson and how did she become famous?
Belle Gibson (real name: Annabelle Natalie Gibson) is a social media personality, author, pseudoscience advocate, and food and health blogger who gained prominence through Instagram.
Gibson was born in October 1991, in Launceston, Tasmania, Australia, to Natalie Dal-Bello
She has often stated in most of her interviews that she left her family home in Brisbane at age 12 to live with her classmate and later lived with a family friend.
Reports claim that during her time as a blogger, Gibson also told lies about her sibling, seemingly to make her home life seem more difficult than it was.
Gibson is a High school dropout. She attended Wynnum State High School in Manly, Queensland, until dropping out in Year 10. She later revealed she was homeschooled, too.
She worked for some time as a trainee for catering supply company PFD Food Services in Lytton, but social media reflected that by late 2008 she had relocated to Perth, Western Australia. There, she was involved in the skateboarding culture and actively participated in its online community.
Gibson subsequently moved from Perth to Melbourne in July 2009 and became a mother one year later, at age 18.
After amassing thousands of followers Gibson launched her The Whole Pantry app in August 2013 at age 21. She later launched its companion cookbook.
The platform had a whopping 200,000 users reportedly downloading the app within the first month — going on to be voted Apple’s Best Food and Drink App of 2013.
She later signed a deal with Lantern Books for a coffee table cookbook which was published in October 2014.
Amazingly the book is still for sale on Amazon with the following description: “Belle Gibson is an inspirational young mother who encourages us to nourish ourselves in a more natural and sustainable way.
“After being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer Belle found herself unsupported by conventional medicine. She began a journey of self-education to treat herself through nutrition. Her award-winning app, The Whole Pantry, is a phenomenal resource of recipes, wellness guides and personal support, and has inspired hundreds of thousands of people to change their diet and lifestyle.”
What did Belle Gibson lie about?
Throughout her career, she had amassed her thousands of followers on social media by faking two cardiac arrests and a stroke, and then alleging she had terminal cancer, per Australian News.
Fans often praised the star for her courage and many listed her as an inspiration.
Belle claimed she underwent three heart surgeries, during which she died twice on the operating table, waking up to the prognosis she had an inoperable brain tumour and just six months to live.
Her first post in the sick scheme read: “Five years ago today, I was sitting in front of a man who was about to tell me I was dying from malignant brain cancer with six months to live.”
Gibson advocated for the use of natural remedies over medication, claiming she had “countless times helped others” and had led them “down natural therapy for everything from fertility, depression, bone damage and other types of cancer”.
She also made multiple claims that she’d donated large portions of her income to cancer charities, some of which she raised with help from her Instagram followers, all of which failed to materialise.
How did Belle Gibson get caught?
Gibson’s lies began to unravel in 2014 when her book was released.
The preface for the book stated she had been “stable for two years now with no growth of the cancer”, a claim that was inconsistent with what she had told other media outlets previously.
Writers Beau Donelly and Nick Toscano then uncovered Gibson’s lies about her fraudulent charity donations, details which were then shared in their book The Woman Who Fooled the World.
Then, in late April 2015, Gibson gave an interview to The Australian Women’s Weekly, where she admitted to having fabricated all her cancer claims.
In September 2017, Gibson was fined $410,000 (£240,000) for making fraudulent claims about her donations to charity.
In May 2021 Gibson’s house was raided in an attempt to recoup the fine – which she had not paid up until that point.
A spokeswoman for Consumer Affairs said at the time: “A warrant of seizure and sale on Ms Gibson was executed today by Sheriff’s Officers at an address in Northcote.”
When the fine was initially given, Gibson told the court that she was “not in a position” to pay, TheSun reports.
Where is Belle Gibson now?
Following her months of conning fans and later being exposed, she was arrested and convicted but was released.
In 2017 Gibson was found guilty of five breaches of consumer law.
At the time, a judge said Belle may have “genuinely” believed that she had cancer and believed what she was telling her followers.
The judge added that Gibson may have suffered from “delusions” about her health.
Currently, Gibson has stayed out of the spotlight.
The full story of Gibson’s fraud is untangled in the ITVX documentary The Search For Instagram’s Worst Con Artist.
Each episode is an hour long. The first covers Belle’s rise to fame and the incredible discovery of her scheme. The second delves deeper into Gibson’s history of lies, including interviews with her brother and stepfather talking about her unusual childhood.
She does not appear in the two-part docuseries about her but older brother Nick has given a rare interview for the series.
Why did Belle Gibson fake cancer? Gibson’s former friend, Chanelle McAuliffe, appears in the ITVX documentary and shares her theory on why Gibson did what she did.
She said: “In my opinion, it was a strategy. It’s just a f***ing business strategy.”
What is Belle Gibson’s net worth?
Belle Gibson has an estimated current net worth between $500,000 and $1 million. She reportedly made millions from her app and at the time, she became one of the richest bloggers in Australia in 2021.
Although several reports peg her fortune today at between $2 million and $3 million, that is unrealistic, especially for the fact that she boldly told the court she can’t afford to refund the $500,000 in fines she owes for her fraudulent ‘Whole Pantry’ app.
In 2021, police raided the home of notorious cancer fraudster Belle Gibson with a warrant to seize her assets to repay ‘substantial debt’, per MailOnline. At the time, she was allowed to keep ‘basic comfort’ items including a fridge and television.