Cheryl Gray, 50, met Wylie Iwan, 35, on Mafia Wars. The two never met in real life, but now she's suing him for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress because he told her he loved her, requested and accepted gifts from her, and then dumped her.
The relationship was conducted almost entirely through Facebook, though there was some time on the phone."We spent an hour plus in the morning online and three, four, five, eight hours at night every day," Gray told the Seattle Times of their conversations on a private Facebook page he created for them.
Gray is an unemployed paralegal and single mom of one; Iwan works at Applebee's and has two boys. At once point he sent her a list of gifts, and she says spent over $1200 on the affair, including Christmas gifts for him and his son, birthday gifts, Valentine's Day flowers.
Now, she wants more than $8,000 in damages.
There's an unstable distinction here between online contact and a "real" relationship. The local news report above refers to Iwan as "a guy who said he loved her, or at least wrote it online." The Times says that not only did he tell Gray he loved her, "He led me to believe for a number of months that our meeting was to explore a potential relationship between the two of us."
That meeting was a trip Gray was going to make from Michigan to the Seattle area, where he lived, for which Gray bought plane tickets, reserved a rental car and a hotel, and bought tickets to the Mariners' opening game.
A few days before the trip, Iwan said he met someone else. Gray eventually started a "hate group" about him on Facebook and "called him an online predator," he told The Times. Her version is that he defamed her in the presence of their 300 mutual friends.
Iwan has since deleted his Facebook account.