Danielle Fishel recently revealed that after first finding fame on Boy Meets World at age 12, she had a very scary experience with a fan who she thought was a young girl her own age.
On this week’s episode of Pod Meets Worldthe podcast the actor does alongside her former costars Rider Strong spirit Will Friedle, they addressed some frequently asked questions from their listeners, including one asking which of them used to receive the most fan mail. Strong was the unanimous winner as he played the young heartthrob on the show, Shawn Hunter, the best friend of the main character Cory Matthews, played by Ben Savage. Rider said that by the third or fourth season of the show, however, he became “uncomfortable” with the “overwhelming” amount of fan mail he received. He added that he was also worried he was letting fans down by not being able to respond to them all.
Fishel, who played Topanga Lawrence, then shared her own scary experience with a fan, explaining, “When we first started getting fan mail, I also read them all and responded to them all. I got a letter in ’93 from a young girl and she included pictures of herself in it, and she was in gymnastics.” Fishel was also a gymnast before she became an actor. She continued, “She wrote me this handwritten letter that she was a fan, and I wrote her back and she sent me another letter and we started this correspondence back and forth. I felt very close to her, and one of the things she talked about regularly was that both of her parents died when she was young and she lived with her older brother.”
When she received a second letter from the fan, Fishel said the girl had included pictures of her brother who was a “good-looking guy,” but “several years older.” She said the fan would also repeatedly tell her that she didn’t know what she’d do without her brother as she didn’t have any parents. The fan also included her phone number so that Fishel could call her. She added, “My mom is participating in me writing back. She’s reading all these letters as well and she’s aware of what I’m writing and she’s reading what this girl is writing to me, and my mom is like: ‘[It seems like] you would be friends.’ So I call her and I get her voicemail, but it’s not here. It’s her brother’s voicemail because it’s his house. They live in an apartment together, but her name isn’t anywhere on the voicemail.”
At this point, Strong realized, “She doesn’t exist! She doesn’t exist—some guy pretending to be a girl, you got catfished!” Fishel confirmed that was the case, explaining, “The way it all came out is because I kept calling her, and I left my phone number and she wouldn’t call me back. Then we got a letter from her brother saying that she had died, and my mum woke up in the middle of the night and was like: ‘She never existed, it’s always been him!'” And from there things only escalated, she said , “He started showing up at my school and telling people he was there to pick me up.” Fishel didn’t share how that situation came to an end, but Strong labeled the whole thing her “first stalker experience.”