Michael O’Connell took back wife Jessica Vega after “trying to hate her” for faking cancer

This April 25-year-old Jessica Vega was arrested for faking leukemia (with a six-months-to-live diagnosis) in order to scam her community in Montgomery, New York into paying for her dream wedding to Michael O’Connell (who was also in the dark, and thought he was marrying a dying woman.) After Michael found out, he freaked and left her twice. But now, after desperately trying to hate Jessica, he’s back with her. Michael told ABC News: “I tried to hate her, it was an act.” Jessica immediately added “You can’t help who you love.”

The lie didn’t start as a scam to get people to pay for the wedding, it started as a way to emotionally manipulate Michael went the couple (who have two kids together) were going through a tough spot in 2010. They were on a break when Jessica told Michael she had leukemia, and only had 6 months to live. He immediately took her back and proposed. The word spread through their community that Jessica was dying and wanted to have her dream wedding, so people donated the rings, her embroidered dress, wine, food, and services like hairdressing. $13,000 in cash was also donated to pay for the wedding and their Caribbean vacation.

The couple wrote their own vows, so Jessica lied throughout them to keep her “story” authentic. “I want you to know the day I’m no longer physically here I will always kiss you goodnight.” She had also cut her hair, and forged a doctor’s letter to show Michael to convince him.

After their honeymoon, though, Michael suspected that his wife was healthier than she claimed. He called her doctor’s office, where he was informed that she didn’t have cancer, in fact she had never had cancer. Furious, he went to the Times Herald-Record of Middletown, a local newspaper that covered the story.

Vega has now spent 50 days in jail, has paid back everyone who gave her anything (with the help of her father,) and now says she is deeply sorry for everything’s she’s done.

Would you take back someone who lied like this to you, your family and friends, and the whole community about something as serious as cancer, and knowingly accepted money and gifts?