A Kentucky woman had her life turned upside down by a catfish.
In a video for the YouTube channel Catfished, McKayla—who was only identified by her first name—detailed her experience meeting someone claiming to be Stranger Thing's Dacre Montgomery in an online forum for artists over a year ago. The two communicated during that time and McKayla fell in love, eventually divorcing her husband to pursue the romance.
"This guy messaged me he was under a different username, me and him get to kind of talking and then he admits that he is an actor," McKayla said in the May 17 YouTube video. "He tells me that he's Dacre Montgomery—that's like one of my favorite actors—and me and him just really hit it off. But of course I'm suspicious from the get-go until he starts doing things that make me believe that he is who he is."
She explained that she and the person she believed to be the 28-year-old actor bonded over their frustrations with their respective partners. (Dacre has been dating Liv Pollock since 2017).
"That's one thing that we actually bonded over," McKayla shared. "He was venting to me after a few months about his partner saying she's very controlling of him, he doesn't get to do the things he wants to do. And I kind of empathize with that because my ex-husband was that way."
She added that they confessed feelings for each other after a year, with "Dacre" asking McKayla to "keep it quiet because I'm still with Liv."
McKayla reiterated that while she was skeptical of her suitor's identity, but he eventually convinced her by sharing poems written in a similar style to the actor's poetry collection DKMH: Poems published in 2020.
The person had also given her a heads up that Dacre would reprise his Stranger Things character Billy—who died in season three—for a surprise cameo in the season 4 episode "Dear Billy." She explained that he told her of the cameo the evening prior to the episode's air date, something she felt only those connected to the show would know.
E! News has reached out to Dacre's reps for comment but has yet to hear back.
McKayla also revealed that in addition to messaging with her catfish, she also sent them over $10,000 throughout their relationship, with "Dacre" telling her Liv controlled their bank accounts, making it difficult to withdraw money. The impostor also eventually gave McKayla an ultimatum—she'd need to choose him or her husband.
"I said, "Look there's no competition, you treat me better,'" she said of her decision. "So I told my you know I told my ex-husband, 'listen I said it's not working out, you're not letting me be me, you're not letting me be free. I said I think you need to leave so he left. Within two months he was gone."
The owners of the Catfished YouTube account, whose channel description says they "help people find lost loved ones and verify if someone you've met online really is who they say they are," were able to prove to McKayla that the person she had been communicating with was not in fact Dacre.
Dubbing her catfish a "romance scammer,' they explained that this type of scammer as someone who will spend "hours and days researching an individual" in order to take advantage of their vulnerabilities and create a connection "before attempting to extract money from them."
And when it comes to those who might question how McKayla could have fallen for this scam, she had a few words to share.
"Love makes you do crazy stupid irrational things, I promise," she explained. "And trauma does one heck of a thing to a person. If you're someone like me, you're afraid of abandonment and you're a real big people pleaser and you're very co-dependent. These scammers, they just kind of come in and they leech off that."