Belle Gibson: Now, Cancer, the Truth & All Things You Didn’t Know

Sell: The story of Australia’s greatest fraud in history.
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Belle Gibson (born Annabelle Natalie Gibson) is a disgraced wellness blogger, fraudster and alternative health advocate from Tasmania who falsely claimed to have effectively cured a variety of malignant cancers through dietary changes, natural remedies and non-mainstream medical therapies.

Multiple controversies have exposed Gibson, a mother-of-one, as a compulsive liar and scam artist.

On separate occasions the former social media personality claimed she had cancer, three heart operations, two heart attacks, a stroke, had died on the operating table and was throwing up blood.

She publicly broadcast claims that her ‘whole food based diet’ and holistic approach to health cured these severe conditions.

In April 2015, Gibson admitted she never had cancer to Australian Women’s Weekly, before making contradictory claims in a televised interview for 60 Minutes on Channel Nine where she claimed to have been diagnosed with cancer by two independent doctors.

The disgraced wellness guru’s fraudulent claims to have survived (among other conditions) terminal brain cancer by changing her diet and lifestyle steadily banked tens of thousands in ‘charitable revenue’ from well-meaning samaritans who sympathised and empathised with her seemingly incredible story.

Gibson claimed to have donated the proceeds of her award-winning iPhone app The Whole Pantry to charity, but her donations were sensationally exposed as fraudulent when two of the organisations listed as beneficiaries told The Australian they had never received the funds.

Doubt was cast on Gibson’s story in early 2015 when former friends of the ‘holistic guru’ revealed suspicions they had surrounding her credibility as far back as 2009, when she first claimed to have undergone multiple heart surgeries and even declared to have died on the operating table.

Journalists Beau Donnelly and Nick Toscano began investigating Gibson and contacted her about the many discrepancies they discovered in her far-fetched tale.

When her web of deceit finally began to unravel, Gibson quickly set about erasing all details of her unusual and contradictory claims from the internet.

Her actions have been described as ‘particularly predatory’ and ‘deceit on a grand scale for personal profit’ by leading investigative journalists.

belle gibson
(Credit: 7)

FAQs and latest news about Belle Gibson

Q: How old is Belle Gibson?

A: Belle Gibson is 27 years old.

During the height of her fame, Gibson claimed to be roughly three years older than she truly was.

In 2015, Helen McCabe, editor of Australian Women’s Weekly, obtained Gibson’s legal birth certificate from her mother which confirmed her date of birth to be October 8, 1991.

However corporate filings relating to her business contracts indicate she is three years younger than she publicly claims to be. 

Q: Where did Belle Gibson grow up?

A: Belle Gibson was born in Launceston, Tasmania in 1991.

Her family later moved to Brisbane, but according to Gibson she left the family home aged 12 to live with a family friend.

Gibson attended Wynnum State High School in Manly, Brisbane, until Year 10 when she dropped out at age 16.

In a number of interviews, Gibson separately claimed to have been homeschooled.

Gibson worked at a catering company in Queensland after leaving full time education, and social media shows she relocated to Perth, Western Australia, in late 2008 where she became involved in the skateboarding community.

In July 2009, aged 17, Gibson moved to Melbourne where she became pregnant and gave birth to her first and only child in July 2010. 

Q: Who are Belle Gibson’s parents?

A: Belle Gibson’s mother is Natalie Dal-Bello. The identity of her father is unknown, with Dal-Bello referring to him simply as ‘a sperm donor’.

After her estranged daughter was outed as a scam artist, Dal-Bello spoke to Australian Women’s Weekly to express her ‘embarrassment’ about the lies and shame Gibson had brought to the family.

Gibson’s claims that she had been forced to run the household from the age of five due to her mother’s multiple sclerosis were rubbished by Dal-Bello, who said ‘she’s barely done a minute’s housework in her life’.

Mrs Dal-Bello had not spoken to her daughter for four years before controversy broke in the media. 

Q: Does Belle Gibson have any siblings?

A: Gibson has one brother named Nick who she falsely claimed was autistic.

Nick Gibson also spoke to Australian Women’s Weekly about the scandal, admitting he was ‘really upset and disgusted’ by the lies.

‘It’s about attention. She’s always been like this,’ he told AWW. 

Q: Is Belle Gibson married?

A: In February 2018, Daily Mail Australia published pictures of Gibson from Valentine’s Day wearing a ring which suggested she had become engaged to her long-term partner, Clive Rothwell.

Little is known about Mr Rothwell except that he is originally from South Australia.

It remains unclear if Rothwell is now Belle Gibson’s husband.

Q: Does Belle Gibson have kids? 

A: Yes, Belle Gibson has one son.

Oli, born in July 2010, is now eight years old.

Q: Where does Belle Gibson live now?

A: Latest news stories do not report much detail about Gibson’s current area of residence, but according to Wikipedia she lives in Elwood, an inner suburb of Melbourne. 

Q: How many books has Belle Gibson written?

A: Belle is the author of The Whole Pantry mobile app and it’s accompanying cookbook of the same name which contained recipes she claimed were linked to her recovery from cancer.

The app offered a range of healthy meal plans which included gluten-free, Vegan and paleo recipes based on natural ingredients.

Although the app and book were initially marketed on the Apple Store, both were subsequently withdrawn from sale after details of Gibson’s fraud emerged.

The app was incredibly popular – it ranked No. 1 on the app store in its first month and was downloaded more than 300,000 times at a cost of $3.79 AUD per download. 

Before she was discredited as a fraud, Gibson registered the internet domain ‘The Whole Life’ as part of her plans to expand The Whole Pantry brand beyond health and well-being.

The Whole Pantry and The Whole Life were both registered by Gibson’s partner, Clive Rothwell.

the whole pantry

Q: Who was Jess Ainscough?

A: Jess Ainscough, aka ‘The Wellness Warrior’, was a social media influencer who was diagnosed with an extremely rare and slow growing form of inoperable cancer aged 21.

She was Australia’s best-known wellness guru.

In an attempt to prolong her life, Ainscough became an outspoken devotee of the controversial Gerson Therapy, a very specific salt-reducing diet which involved five daily coffee enemas, raw juices on the hour, every hour and an organic, vegetarian diet.

Jess Ainscough died at her home on the Sunshine Coast in 2015, aged just 29, and Belle Gibson made a dramatic appearance at her memorial service during which she sobbed uncontrollably and had to be supported by other attendees.

Gibson claimed she and Ainscough were ‘close friends’, but this assertion was discredited by Ainscough’s agent who said there was no relationship between the two women and that Jess ‘felt there was something off about her’ from the first time they met at a meet and greet in 2013. 

Q: How much did Belle Gibson earn through her fraud?

A: Gibson reportedly had a net worth of $420,000 at the height of her social media empire thanks to The Whole Pantry app and cookbook. 

Q: Has Belle Gibson done any high profile interviews?

A: Yes, after she was exposed as a fraud, Gibson sat down for a bizarre tell-all interview with Tara Brown of 60 Minutes to confront her critics and shamers head on.

During the discussion, Gibson claimed to have been misdiagnosed by a mysterious neurologist and immunologist called ‘Dr. Mark Johns’, who allegedly carried out ‘integrative medical tests’ on her which determined she had just six weeks to live.

The segment also saw Gibson presented with a legitimate scan of her brain, which proved she did not have cancer or multiple sclerosis (which she repeatedly asserted to have been diagnosed with).

 You can watch the first part of her full interview here:

And the final segment here:

Q: Was Belle Gibson’s health advice good?

A: Belle GIbson claimed to have started her wellness journey after learning about the detoxifying properties of lemons and the role of general detoxification in a healthy diet.

She then embarked on experimentation with a variety of diets and nutritional therapies, including salt, vitamin and Ayurvedic treatments, craniosacral therapy, oxygen therapy and colonics.

The vast majority of these alternative therapies have no proven link to alleviating the symptoms or risk factors of cancer.

Q: Is Belle Gibson on Instagram?

A: No, Gibson is no longer on Instagram.

She once had a following of more than 200,000 but has since disabled her account.

As recently as March 2017, she appeared to be posting from a Facebook account under the name Harry Gibson.

Q: Where is Belle Gibson now?

A: In September 2017, Gibson was fined $410,000 AUD and found guilty of misleading and deceptive conduct by Melbourne’s Federal Court.

The Court heard she made false claims about donating significant funds to charity.

Gibson is now believed to live in Melbourne.

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