A South African mom who went viral weeks ago for reportedly giving birth to 10 babies was lying, according to new reports. In fact, she wasn’t even pregnant.

The Gauteng Provincial Government said it went through an investigation to check if there was any truth to the woman’s claim.

  • “None of the hospitals in the province, public and private, had any records of such births at their facilities,” the government said.
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Per the New York Post, the woman, Gosiame Thamara Sithole, was taken in for a 72-hour psychiatric evaluation, which was later extended by an entire week.

  • “It has now been established by medical practitioners that Ms Sithole did not give birth to any babies in recent times,” Gauteng Provincial Government said in a statement, according to Today.com. “It has also been established that she was not pregnant in recent times.”

The pregnancy claims made headlines across the world. The Pretoria News broke the story, which was later picked up by BBC News and, yes, even the Deseret News (I wrote that story).

At the time, a South African official confirmed the births, according to BBC News. However, a separate official said they did not know about the babies.

As I pointed out, there was some debate about whether or not the babies were real. The Indian Express also cast some doubt. BBC News said the  Guinness World Records planned to investigate the pregnancy.

Piet Ramped, the editor of the Pretoria News, apologized for the story, per the New York Post.

  • “I am sorry for the reputational damage the aftermath of the story has caused for the group, the company and my colleagues in general,” he said in an email, according to News24.
  • “They had no reason to lie to me about the pregnancy. For me, it was a story of celebration. Hence, I never demanded documentary proof of the pregnancy, such as scanners and clinic cards, for instance, as I would normally do with an investigative story,” he wrote, according to News24.

Social media reacted to the news, sharing their disbelief and non-disbelief over the development.

Correction: This article previously said a South American official spoke to BBC News. It was actually a South African official.