Hoaxes & Rumors

Pearl Carter and Phil Bailey Story: Real or Hoax?

Pearl Carter and Phil Bailey Story: Real or Hoax?

A bizarre story that went viral in 2010 described a grandmother and grandson who fell in love and planned to have a baby together. Now we’re taking a look back at the story of 72-year old Pearl Carter and 26-year old Phil Bailey to determine if it was real or a hoax.

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The story was likely a hoax.

The story went viral after New Idea magazine posted it on April 29, 2010. The article was entitled, “I’m in love with my grandson and we’re having a baby” and described a relationship that developed between a long lost grandmother and grandson who had never met, but fell in love once they were reunited. The story contained quotes from the brimming couple about their plans to have a baby with a surrogate mother, and even included a photo of them with their hands on the surrogate’s belly.

Some versions of the article claimed the couple was from Indiana, but it’s unclear where this information originated.

The original URL for the story is no longer valid, but you can still see it at the Internet Archive here.

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No Corroboration

Perhaps because New Idea magazine is a known media source, few news sites questioned the story’s veracity and simply republished it – even after New Idea had removed the story from their own website. In the years since this story was published, there have been no follow-up articles, no new photos of the couple, no updates – nothing at all. So consider the following:

  • The original story was removed from the website less than a week after it  was published.
  • There are no other photos of this couple aside from the three originally published.
  • There are no other interviews with this couple.
  • There were no follow-up stories or updates about them.

For the reasons above, it is likely that the Pearl Carter and Phil Bailey story was simply a hoax, which is why it was removed. If the story was real, then we must also believe that New Idea not only didn’t publish a follow-up to this viral story, but actually removed it without explanation.

Contacting New Idea

We reached out to New Idea magazine regarding this article. We received a reply to our first request, asking us to direct the question to a specific email address. That request was never answered.


Below are the three photos which have circulated with this story. Is this a real-life grandma/grandson relationship, or did someone lift some candid family snapshots and create a sinister new back-story for them?

Pear Carter and Phil Bailey Pear Carter and Phil Bailey

Pearl Carter & Phil Bailey

Search History

The Google Trends chart below shows the search history on this story. As you can see, it has had several surges in interest over the years, presumably as internet “fact” pages continue to repeat the bogus story.

Bottom Line

The Pearl Carter and Phil Bailey story was almost certainly a hoax. Our best guess is that New Idea magazine realized they had published a hoax, and simply removed the story without explanation, perhaps to save face. By the time it was removed, however, the story had spread across the internet – with all links pointing back to the New Idea Magazine story that was deleted.

Do you have any additional information about this story or these photos? Drop us a comment below!

While the story above was likely a hoax, you may be interested in the very true story of a 21-year old man who married his 77-year old step-grandmother back in 1978!


Updated January 8, 2015
Originally published June 2013

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