Despite suspicions in the "Big Brother" house and elsewhere, Dina Lohan, who finished fourth Wednesday on season 2 of "Celebrity Big Brother," is not being catfished but is genuinely in a relationship with former Long Islander Jesse Nadler.
"I didn't even see the episode that night," Nadler, 53, told Newsday, referring to the Feb. 7 episode in which Lohan, 56, of Merrick, tells her TV housemates that she has had a long-distance boyfriend for five years whom she had never met in person and with whom she had never video-chatted. "I Tivo'd it and hadn't seen it until the next morning when my phone and computer were blowing up. Friends of mine said I was being called a catfish," a colloquial term for someone in an online relationship who is not who they claim to be.
"I didn't like that those girls in the house were calling me a catfish," he continued Thursday, referring to singer and "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" star Kandi Burruss, 42, and singer and "Braxton Family Values" star Tamar Braxton, 41, who on Wednesday night won the reality show competition. "I'm a regular standup guy. So I got on and I tweeted to a couple of people."
His first tweet — to Burruss, in which he said, in part, "I'm Real … and Not a Cat Fish — I Love that @dinalohan" — is time stamped Feb. 6, a day before Lohan's announcement on the episode. "I don't know how that date got there," Nadler insists, "but I didn't do anything till after the show aired."
He subsequently tweeted to the CBS "Big Brother" account on Feb. 7 that he was genuine, adding that he did not video chat since "I'm Old School … I Don't Facetime … Don't Text … Hell … I Still Play Old Records instead of Cd's But One thing is True … I Love that Dina." A Feb. 8 tweet to Nev Schulman, host of MTV's "Catfish: The TV Show," which investigates suspicious online relationships, went largely unnoticed until Schulman wrote Wednesday that he had "found @dinalohan’s boyfriend."
Nadler, whose full name is Jesse Douglas DiGregorio Nadler, was born in Manhattan but raised on the Long Island Sound in Connecticut in his early years, summering with his parents in Westhampton Beach.
The family moved there around 1980, buying a house "on the bay side of Dune Road," Nadler said. He went on to graduate from Westhampton Beach High School. In 1985, he said, he and a friend were on the cover of Newsday as local citizens during Hurricane Gloria.
After briefly attending Suffolk County Community College, he left Long Island in the late 1990s, living for short periods in South Florida and New Orleans. "The biggest mistake I ever made was leaving Westhampton Beach," said Nadler, who owns shares in commercial real-estate investments in the tristate area and for several years has lived in Tiburon, California, just north of San Francisco. He has a side business there, Adonis Choppers and Harley's [sic] selling vintage motorcycles.
After getting in contact with Lohan through Facebook and communicating cross-country for years, he said Thursday he looked forward to returning to Long Island and finding a condominium apartment "on Dune Road between the two bridges. I want to be in the town where I lived and where my high school buddies are. I have a lot of friends in Westhampton Beach."
Dina Lohan's ex-husband, Michael Lohan, tweeted his approval of Nadler Wednesday. "The 'catfish' has been caught...but he's not a fish at all," Michael Lohan wrote. "Actually a great guy.. Just spent an hour on the phone with him … Blessings Dina!" Replied Nadler, "You are a Great Guy — Lobsters at the Palm … the Second I Get Home — We Need a Ride to Montauk Point … Together- Talking Stocks … and Watching the Ocean-."