On the Tuesday, December 22 episode of MTV’s Catfish, several well-known reality TV stars were featured. Survivor’s Russell Hantz got the ball rolling with hosts Nev Schulman and Kamie Crawford because he’s friends with Big Brother’s Michael “Cowboy” Ellis and he was worried that Ellis was being catfished.
Here’s what went down.
A Woman Named Julia Tried to Talk To Hantz First and Ellis Next
Russel had a hunch that something was a SUPER fishy about his good friend Michael's love interest 👀 Could we have another #Catfish on our hands? Find out TONIGHT, at 9pm on @MTV 😱 pic.twitter.com/w8jgHJHCII
— Catfish (@CatfishMTV) December 22, 2020
Hantz reached out to Schulman after he saw a picture of Ellis’ new girl Julia and recognized her as a woman who had tried to chat him up online.
Hantz wrote, “Several months ago a girl named Julia reached out to me. She was flirty for a while, but it never went anywhere and I never thought much of it until recently when my friend Michael told me he had fallen hard for a girl he met online. Then I realized it was the same Julia. Michael has been talking to her for four months, but she just wants to text. No video calls. He’s ready to uproot his life for her and even give her a kid. … I don’t want to see my friend get played and knock some sense into Michael and see this girl for who she is, a catfish and a liar before he does something he regrets. All the best, Russell.”
When Schulman and Crawford spoke to Ellis, he confessed to having serious feelings for Julia and even considering moving to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to be with her. She told Ellis she’s a 28-year-old virgin who always wanted to become a nun but changed her mind because she wanted to have kids.
“I can’t wait to be a mother and have a big family,” she wrote to him in a message.
“You really are heaven sent. I just can’t wait until I can see you in person,” Ellis wrote back.
But they never met in person. Julia wouldn’t even do a video call and only spoke with Ellis on the phone one time.
When Ellis agreed to let Schulman and Crawford investigate Julia, he talked about how he was going through a divorce — “she broke up with me through a text” — and he lost his mom in January of this year, so it’s been a hard year. He just wanted Julia to be real and he confessed that if she’s not, “what would hurt [him] the most was if it was [his] ex-wife.”
Enter James Huling and Explicit Photos
When Schulman and Crawford started investigating Julia, they found her photos attached to a young woman recruited to play basketball at an unnamed community college in 2010-2011. The photos definitely match, but is that the same woman who is talking to Ellis?
They found two Facebook profiles for this “Julia” with the matching photos, and through that they found out that the second profile has some mutual friends with Ellis too — fellow Big Brother contestants James Zinkand and James Huling.
They messaged both Jameses and Huling got right back to them, popping onto a Zoom video call. Huling said he’s been talking to this girl online for a while but never on the phone. He also said that it was a flirtatious relationship between them and she even sent him explicit photos.
“She sent me some photos that are from the neck down,” said Huling, adding that they spoke as recently as a couple of weeks before this episode was filmed.
Then Schulman and Crawford messaged Julia’s sister Christin, whose Facebook profile was linked to the phone number Julia gave Ellis. Schulman spoke to Christin and they started to suspect that Christin was pretending to be her sister to chat with these reality TV stars.
When Ellis learned about Huling getting explicit photos from “Julia,” he started crying and told Schulman and Crawford he felt like there were bricks on his chest.
Eventually, Schulman and Ellis both texted Julia’s number asking if she could clear up a few things. Schulman explained to her what was going on and asked her to jump on a Zoom with them, which she did — but she blocked her video and Crawford observed that it sounded like Christin, the sister.
Ellis assured her that he wouldn’t judge her and she finally revealed herself — and it was really Julia, not the sister! She said a lot has happened to her in her past that made her hesitant to be on the phone or on video calls with him. She said that she started dating women too and she was afraid he would judge her.
Ellis said he wouldn’t judge her, but he wanted her to be straight with him about her relationships with anyone else. When asked about the explicit photos Huling mentioned, Julia admitted to it but said it was a few years ago. She said nowadays, it’s a casual flirtation and she’s just a reality TV fan, but her relationship with Ellis is deeper than it is with anyone else.
She then opened up about a previous sexual assault she experienced and how it makes her take things super slowly with people, especially with men, and it made her afraid to be vulnerable with Ellis. But she admitted to having romantic feelings for Ellis. He said he has some questions for her, but he wasn’t judging her.
Catfish airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on MTV.