BRANDON, Man. — Wes Stobbe had never read a gossip tabloid beyond glances in the grocery checkout line, and was gobsmacked when his mother-in-law handed him a copy of one with his face on the front page.
"Olivia Newton-John's Runaway Lover Found Alive!" read a headline in a Nov. 27 edition of the National Enquirer.
Stobbe, a 63-year-old business owner and woodworker in Brandon, Man., recognized his shirtless frame seated at a picnic table near their vacation home in Sayulita, Mexico. Inside were more photos with him and his wife.
"My first reaction was just to laugh out loud. I couldn't believe it," Stobbe recalled Wednesday.
He said most people in his family were able to identify him in the grainy, blurry pictures — even his three-year-old grandson.
"He looked at it for just two seconds and said, 'That's you, Pops.'"
The Enquirer and several other tabloids, including Star magazine, named the man in the photos as Patrick McDermott, a 48-year-old cameraman presumed drowned in California in 2005.
Newton-John, the famed singer and actress perhaps best known for her role as the spandex-clad Sandy in the 1978 movie musical "Grease," had dated McDermott off and on for several years.
Stobbe said there are some physical similarities between him and McDermott, especially their flowing locks.
But he wears glasses.
And he definitely never dated Newton-John.
"It has crossed my mind to maybe get a hold of her and set her mind at ease," said Stobbe.
"I am not Patrick McDermott and, as far as I know, he didn't faked his death and is living in Mexico."
The Canadian Press