Avril Lavigne is alive.
On the 15th anniversary of the pop star’s hit single "Complicated," a conspiracy theory claiming that she died in 2003 and has been replaced by a lookalike has resurfaced. If you aren’t familiar with the theory, this blogpost dating back to 2011 from a Brazilian site should bring you up to speed. The basic idea is that Lavigne, who was at the peak of her career at the time, committed suicide after her grandfather’s death in 2003. Rather than coming to terms with what had happened, Lavigne's record company used Melissa Vandella – Lavigne's doppleganger who was supposedly hired to pose as Lavigne for paparazzi – in her place to profit off of her celebrity.
As the story goes, Vandella then went to record "Under My Skin" as Lavigne ("From here it was no longer the real Avril," the blog post reads, “but ‘Avril Lavigne’ under the skin of the other singer") and left subtle hints along the way about what had really happened. That, along with pictures of how Lavigne’s face and handwriting had changed, was all the proof they needed.
There's just one problem. As Buzzfeed explained in an article titled "Here's How I Accidentally Made An Old Avril Lavigne Death Hoax Go Viral," that Brazilian post made it clear at the beginning that it was created to show "how conspiracy theories can look true." And yet, despite that disclaimer, the theory quickly spread like wildfire thanks to the Buzzfeed writer sharing the conspiracy theory as a joke with his fellow Americans following a visit to Buzzfeed Brazil.
Which brings us to today. Late last week, Twitter used @givenchyass brought the conspiracy theory back to life with a long thread explaining it all. It begins with this tweet, which has over 100,000 retweets and 160,000 favorites:
avril lavigne is dead & was replaced by a look alike: a conspiracy theory thread pic.twitter.com/9eearQ2rte— 🅴 (@givenchyass) May 13, 2017
And quickly divulges into this:
here's a video I made comparing an avril song from 2002 to an avril song from 2014 pic.twitter.com/1KFZJ8cHnD— 🅴 (@givenchyass) May 13, 2017
Again, none of this is true – Lavigne is active on social media and revealed that she has an album coming later this year – but the details and photos from that blogpost continue to resurface and act as fodder for those who want to believe it. For that reason, this probably isn't the last we’ve heard of this conspiracy theory.