- Danielle Fishel said she was catfished by a man she exchanged letters with in 1993.
- According to Fishel, the man pretended to be a young girl who lived with her brother and sent pictures of himself to her.
- Fishel said he "started showing up at my school and telling people he was there to pick me up."
Danielle Fishel opened up about a scary side to fame on Monday's episode of the "Boy Meets World" rewatch podcast "Pod Meets World."
At about the 45-minute mark of the episode, while she and cohosts Rider Strong and Will Friedle talked about their experiences getting fan mail in the 1990s, Fishel told a story about being catfished as a preteen.
She said that around 1993, she began corresponding with someone she presumed to be a young girl through written letters — they bonded over their shared love of gymnastics. "I felt very close to her," Fishel recalled. Fishel would've been about 12 years old at the time.
The "Girl Meets World" star, who explained that her mother was aware of the correspondence and tracking what she wrote to the fan and what the fan wrote back, said her pen pal claimed that her parents died when she was younger and that she lived with her older brother. Eventually, pictures of the pen pal's brother were included in the letters.
One of the letters included the girl's phone number. Fishel said her mom told her "this girl seems like you guys would be friends," so she called the number. But every time she'd call, she'd only get a voicemail with the brother's voice on the machine and no mention of the young girl. She'd leave her phone number, but no one would ever call her back.
Eventually, she realized that her pen pal "was a guy pretending to be a girl," she said, recalling that her mom figured out the scheme after "we got a letter from her brother saying that she had died."
The correspondence then turned even more predatory because, Fishel said, "He started showing up at my school and telling people he was there to pick me up."
The podcast conversation shifted before Fishel could finish the story, so it's unclear what happened after the man showed up at her school or whether he ever faced any criminal charges.
After hearing Fishel's story, Strong admitted that he would "meet up with" girls who contacted him before his "Boy Meets World" fame to play video games. He presumed it was around the time he appeared on the popular '90s sitcom "Home Improvement" as a guest star.
"You just have to create boundaries. It's so hard," he said of being famous.
New episodes of "Pod Meets World" are released weekly.