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Reesa Teesa breaks the internet and turns heartbreak into million-dollar payoff

Tareasa Johnson, aka Reesa Teesa, shared a 50-part series on TikTok titled, ‘Who TF Did I Marry?’; her story of her ex-husband’s pathological lies connected with over 400 million viewers

Tareasa Johnson broke the internet with her 50-part TikTok series titled, “Who TF Did I Marry?” Like many women, Johnson dreamed of meeting a man whom she could fall in love with and ultimately share the rest of their lives together. After waiting for years for her Prince Charming, Johnson believed she’d finally found the man that would become her partner for life. Instead of being swept off her feet and preparing for the long-awaited wedding and family to follow, Johnson instead found herself constantly questioning her significant other and dealing with disappointment. Unfortunately, the man she believed was the answer to her prayers ended up being the biggest mistake of her life. His outrageous lies and emotional abuse took such a toll on her and so diminished her self-esteem that she eventually found herself drowning in a sea of self-doubt and sadness. An executive assistant for a law enforcement agency in metropolitan Atlanta, Johnson came to a breaking point and made the decision to exorcise her pain by sharing her story publicly.

Johnson’s TikTok handle, Reesa Teesa, is a mashup of childhood nicknames that friends and family affectionately called her. Surprisingly, she wasn’t TikTok savvy a year ago. She slowly started playing with the platform and sharing small stories. Initially, she never would’ve imagined sharing the pain she was experiencing with an audience, but after struggling with the heartache privately, she realized sharing it could possibly be therapeutic.

“I was carrying so much guilt, shame and humiliation already,” Johnson says, “I didn’t think sharing it with others would make much difference.”

On a whim, Johnson decided to share the story with her TikTok audience. Once she made that decision, she committed to sharing the story in its entirety.

“Some of the lies he told me were so outrageous I knew it would be hard to understand. I had to start at the beginning. Getting it out made me feel better, but there was still so much that I didn’t share,” Johnson says.

Johnson referred to her ex-husband as “Legion” in the TikTok series. She explained how she fell in love with him after meeting him on a social media dating site.

“On our first date, he mentioned wanting to marry me and have children. I thought that was a good sign because those are the things that I wanted. I would never have said that, because I thought if I admitted I wanted those things that a man would run. For this man to tell me he wanted exactly what I wanted on our first date felt like maybe I’d found what I was looking for,” Johnson explains.

As the relationship progressed, Johnson realized Legion’s “love-bombing” behavior was a set up to get her hooked before he settled in to his pattern of pathological lies and deception. His lies were dangerously over the top and sabotaged their future as a couple. After she realized he was lying to her about buying their home, she married him hoping against hope that things would change.

Reesa Teesa breaks the internet and turns heartbreak into million-dollar payoff
Reesa Teesa (Photo by DaeRae Media Group)

“Looking back I can see him lying about buying the house should’ve been my sign to leave; it was a glaring red flag, but in the moment I was hoping things would get better. I want people to know that I’ve taken accountability for my part in all of this. At this point, I’ve gotten over him but I’m still working through the fact that I played a part in my own heartbreak, I still have healing to do,” she admits.

Johnson believes one of the biggest factors that contributed to her heartbreak was being too focused on getting the husband and baby and not much else. She recalls a visit with her gynecologist and being asked about her plan to have children. That conversation jump-started her anxiety surrounding her biological clock and finding happily ever after with a husband and family of her own. The anxiety over starting a family made her so apprehensive that rather than take stock of what was really happening in her relationship, she decided to turn a blind eye to Legion’s shenanigans.

Besides lying about purchasing a home, Legion lied about family members, familial deaths and even left Johnson alone to deal with a miscarriage. Johnson says that is the most hurtful lie he told during their relationship because she alone dealt with the pain of losing the baby she was so excited to welcome. She would later learn that the entire story he fabricated to excuse him for not being by her side was completely false.

Johnson’s story supports the adage that something good can come out of pain. Her TikTok story resonated with over 400 million viewers who connected with her unique storytelling and tuned in, some for eight hours straight, to hear how her story ended.

“I tried to make it as detailed as possible, so people would know there was no way I’d have this much detail if I was making this up,” she laughs.

Besides the financial residuals of going super viral on TikTok, Johnson became an overnight commercial sensation. She was contacted by “Good Morning America” and the “Tamron Hall” show to share her story with a national audience.

“This was a huge difference from my normal life. I am someone that does the same things every day. I go to work nine-to-five, I see the same people, shop at the same stores all the time. My life was very simple before this,” she says.

In addition to her international popularity, Johnson was signed to the A-list talent agency, CAA. She has been tapped for several development projects that could potentially allow her to assist others with telling their personal stories.

“After this experience, I understand if someone wants to share their story but wants to keep their anonymity. I totally get that. I want to be able to help people that may not want to sacrifice their privacy but still want the therapeutic benefits of sharing their story,” Johnson says.

Currently on a whirlwind speaking tour and continuing to create content, Johnson is looking forward to the next chapter.

Reesa Teesa breaks the internet and turns heartbreak into million-dollar payoff
Reesa Teesa (Photo by DaeRae Media Group)

“Right now it’s hard to keep up with everything but I realize it’s because this has created change for the next phase of my life,” she says.

Johnson says change isn’t easy but she knows this is a God-appointed move for her. Her ability to captivate and engage an audience has surpassed what any other social media influencer has been able to do.

“This has been especially hard because there isn’t anyone for me to ask for advice or suggestions, because 400 million views from something like this hasn’t been done before,” she says.

A bona fide disrupter, Johnson will deliver the keynote address on storytelling for CultureCon On Campus at Clark Atlanta University on Friday, April 12.

Photography by DaeRae Media Group

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