“Two things about Belle Gibson are hard to believe,” began a story in a popular lifestyle magazine. “The first is that she’s only 26 years old, and the second is she has terminal brain cancer.”
The first of these details has now been disproved. The second is under a cloud after contradictory claims about the Melbourne app developer and health blogger’s medical history were exposed.
This time last week, Gibson was a social media starlet and the darling of Apple. The 23-year-old was enjoying international acclaim for her recipe app, The Whole Pantry, and a new book by the same name was weeks away from international release.
Gibson markets herself as a picture of clean living. Vivacious and wholesome, she has been her own best advertisement. And her 200,000-strong online following has hung on every word and image released through her carefully managed social media pages.
But privately last week she was bracing for the backlash that would come after her philanthropic claims were finally tested.