Avril Lavigne Called the Doppelgänger Conspiracy Theory About Her Death “So Weird”

Canadian pop-punk icon Avril Lavigne has finally addressed that conspiracy theory. You know, the one about how the “real Avril” died in 2003 and was replaced by a doppelgänger named Melissa to carry on her legacy? The one that keeps resurfacing every few years like a sk8er boi you can’t seem to forget?

This fan theory — as in-depth as it is absurd — has been around since 2011 at least, and originated on a Brazilian fan blog. Haven’t fallen down this particular internet rabbit hole yet? Let’s recap: After the release of her best-selling debut album, Let Go, in 2002, Avril quickly went from Emo It Girl to mainstream superstar. Teens everywhere were rocking neckties, buying skateboards, and “crashing the mall” with their friends. It was the early 2000s, and punk definitely wasn’t dead.

But the theory argues that Avril’s meteoric rise to fame took a major toll on her well-being. So much so, in fact, that her record label allegedly suggested hiring a body double named Melissa Vandella to distract the paparazzi and handle upcoming appearances. Then, shortly after beginning work on her second album, Avril’s grandfather died in 2003. Devastated by this loss, and already struggling with her professional obligations, Avril supposedly then died by suicide.

Rather than announce her death (and miss out on millions of dollars to be made from future projects), the theory goes that the label allowed Melissa to step in and play the part of Avril Lavigne full-time. According to fans, hints about the cover-up and Melissa’s true identity can be heard in cryptic lyrics from 2004’s Under My Skin.

With the release of The Best Damn Thing in 2007, the differences between Avril and Melissa became even more apparent to fans. Analyzing everything from changes in personal style, arm freckle pattern, handwriting, and eye shape, to Avril’s choice of words and punctuation on Twitter, fans have built a serious case for some of kind of switcheroo.

That is until this week, when Avril finally addressed this decade-old theory directly. In an interview with Australian radio station KIIS 1065, host Jackie Henderson asked, “”Did you laugh at the rumors that went around where you no longer exist and there’s a clone of you?”

“Yeah, some people think that I’m not the real me, which is so weird!” Avril replied. “Like, why would they even think that?”

We’re glad this long-standing rumor has been put to rest, since it makes light of serious mental health concerns while also making bizarre, invasive insinuations about her personal life.

Avril did re-emerge last month with an emotional new single, “Head Above Water,” after taking a five-year hiatus from the music industry. As Avril explained in an open letter to her fans, the break was a necessary step back to deal with the impact of Lyme disease on her health.

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