90 Day Fiancé is arguably one of the most unique reality television shows on the small screen right now. It’s been a big success with audiences since it debuted on the TLC Network – leading to the creation of a franchise. And on one of those programs, fans were both captivated and shocked by a story involving a man called David Murphey.
The reality show has a distinctive hook that helps it stand out among the others. During each season, women from different countries pack their bags for America and move in with their respective partners. But a countdown begins the moment that they arrive in the country.
The women are handed a 90-day engagement visa when they touch down, and the show then follows each pair over the course of that period. However, the ladies have to leave the U.S. and go back to their old homes if they don’t tie the knot within the time frame.
Thanks in part to the unique setup, the show quickly developed a loyal following after it first appeared in January 2014. At the time of writing, it’s been running for seven seasons and boasts several spin-offs, too. One of those is titled 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days, and this iteration of the program recently contained a story that fans couldn’t turn away from.
But let’s first focus on the show’s concept a little before we take a closer look at what transpired on this particular occasion. For you see, while 90 Day Fiancé deals with the countdown to the weddings, the aforementioned spin-off is a little different. Before the 90 Days is about duos who have developed a relationship over the internet but haven’t actually met each other in the flesh.
The program then follows each couple as they finally meet in their partner’s home country overseas. At that stage, they try to build a bond away from their computer screens. And if the pairs are happy with one another, they will apply for the K-1 visa.
As of the time of writing, 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days has run for four seasons since its 2017 debut. At the start of the most recent season – which kicked off in February 2020 – viewers were introduced to a then-60-year-old computer programmer called David Murphey from Las Vegas, Nevada.
David explains on the show that he intended to retire soon. During the introductory segment on 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days, the computer whizz says that he intends to put his house on the market and use that money to buy a high-end RV.
In the clip, David says, “I’ve done well for myself, but soon I’ll be retiring and I’ll be traveling all the time. But I still have a lot of stuff to sell before I actually purchase the RV.” After this, we’re then given a glimpse of his house, where he reveals that his prized collection of unicycles won’t be put up for sale.
“I can’t wait to start this new life by living in the RV full time, and I want to share that with someone,” David continues. “I love my cats, but I definitely want to be married. The cats don’t replace that. I think that I’ve met [the] girl [who] I want to marry, and I’m ready for it to happen.”
As viewers soon discover, the girl in question is a then-27-year-old Ukrainian woman named Lana. The pair connected with each other through a paid online chat platform. However, David goes on to make a stunning admission to the show’s cameras regarding the length of their apparent relationship.
David explains, “I’m leaving in a few days to go to Ukraine [and] meet my girlfriend Lana for the first time. I’ve been chatting with [her] for seven years, and even though [we’ve never met] in person, we feel like an old married couple! I think I talk to Lana probably four hours a day.”
On the show, David also reveals that he takes his laptop out to various locations during these talks with Lana. In his mind, that brings them closer together, despite the distance between them. But the computer programmer goes on to reveal another surprise as he’s running down his routine.
“I have video chatted [with] Lana on the site, but there is no audio,” David says. “It’s visual only. You can see the person, you can see them smiling, you can see them reacting to what you’ve written. You can’t speak to each other, but sometimes I just want to see her. She’s just so beautiful to me.”
David notes that he has to pay a lot more money to utilize that part of the chat room’s system. Apparently, even the text chat is behind a paywall. He parted with around $100,000 to converse with Lana over their seven-year bond, according to the Daily Mail.
Unfortunately for David, his attempts to connect with Lana in the flesh didn’t go as planned. The Las Vegas resident flew to Ukraine on four separate occasions hoping to meet his online partner. But she ducked out of it each time, which left people questioning if she was even a real person.
The show then captures what happened when Lana agreed to meet David at a restaurant. Prior to that, she’d stood him up at a train station, and the same thing happens again on this occasion. He eventually leaves the establishment – clearly heartbroken by the situation.
But David refuses to give up. As it turned out, he’d obtained Lana’s address the previous year, so he decides to travel there to confront her. Once he arrives, though, David quickly realizes that the information is false, as a man answers the door and has no idea who she is.
In the show, David then contacts a private investigator in Ukraine to look into Lana. When that happens, the computer programmer is soon told that she has multiple accounts on different dating websites, where she uses alternative names. Yet, he finds that incredibly hard to believe.
While speaking to the private investigator through a translator, David insists that the profiles don’t belong to Lana. He says, “Her pictures could be stolen and used by other people. Other false websites can steal her pictures, they are not her accounts. I’m gonna bet these are all fake websites.”
David’s response leaves the translator in a state of surprise. And with a tinge of frustration in his voice, he continues, “Let’s be real here, you don’t know [Lana], I do. You’re listening to [the private investigator], and he’s just giving false information. This is all being made up now.”
The private investigator replies to David through the translator, saying, “[With] women in the country I’m from, this is very common. So of course, there are scammers. It is their income. And the fact is that you had four chances for [Lana] and you to meet. It’s not happening.”
Nevertheless, David still pressed ahead in his mission to meet Lana throughout the season. The situation then came to a head in an episode that aired in May 2020. By that point, David has received word that Lana will see him in Kiev’s Independence Square.
At this stage, David is understandably anxious. As he explains to the camera, “It’s been seven years in the making [and] thousands of hours of chat. I’m beyond ready. But my excitement is being tempered by my nervousness of what that first meeting is going to be like.”
“There’s no room for error on this,” David insists. “I told [Lana] to meet me under the monument [in Independence Square]. Everybody knows Independence Square. Everybody knows the monument. There’s only one place that can be. If she doesn’t show up this time, I’m not coming back. I can’t go through this again.”
David and the viewers at home finally discover the truth after a tense wait. As it turns out, Lana is very much real, and the cameras catch sight of her as she approaches her online partner. Once the computer programmer sees her, they then embrace each other with a warm hug.
But as the cameras continue to roll, the language barrier quickly becomes apparent. Lana can’t speak much English, so there’s quite a bit of awkward silence between her and David in the initial stages. Her body language is also fairly difficult to ignore, as she doesn’t appear to reciprocate one of the other hugs.
Nevertheless, Lana insists that she really did want to meet David after seven years of talking. She tells the camera crew, “I felt he is my soulmate – sort of. David is a very attractive man. Better than what I expected. [I like everything about him], except his leather coat!”
As for the meeting itself, David and Lana only spend a couple of hours in each other’s company. She appears to back off when the former speaks about his decision to hire the private investigator. The Ukrainian woman tells the show that she purposely supplied her love-struck partner with incorrect personal details.
But David and Lana continue to interact on the show. The pair are seen meeting up for a second time at a bowling alley, where the Las Vegas resident makes a proposition. He asks her, “If I get a strike, if I get all [the pins] down in one ball, [can] I get a kiss?”
Lana agrees to the computer programmer’s terms – albeit somewhat reluctantly. As she tells the reality show, “I like spending time with David, but I still think it’s a little early for a kiss on the lips.” Meanwhile, the latter admits that he had an ace up his sleeve before starting the game.
David reveals, “I used to be a professional bowler – 40 years ago when I was in my 20s. So, I know that I can get strikes. Things are getting better and better [between me and Lana], but [I’ve] got to do whatever I can to get a strike so I can get a kiss from her.”
Following several failed attempts, David finally registers a strike in his lane – much to Lana’s apparent dismay. The pair play coy for a moment and then share the briefest of kisses and a quick hug. But few people could’ve predicted what happened next, as David prepared to head back to America a bit later.
David planned to propose to Lana before departing for Las Vegas. He eventually pops the question at the airport – leaving his partner stunned and at a loss for words. She says yes after a few moments, which prompts the couple to share another embrace in front of the show’s cameras.
“I have my girl now!” David beams after handing the ring over to Lana. “I really have her. Everybody thought that she wasn’t going to be there to meet me. Not only was she there, but she’s now mine!” As for his fiancée, she shares her reaction once he heads off to the departure lounge.
Lana tells the camera crew, “I am very happy because David proposed to me. We can finally start the process of getting a visa and be together in Las Vegas. Now we can use the phone for talking more often, and [we] will be able to leave the dating site finally.”
“I don’t know how I’ll tell my family that I’m engaged,” Lana adds. “Because this all happened really unexpectedly and fast.” However, while she and David both appeared to be elated, some of the show’s viewers questioned the authenticity of the events in Ukraine. In fact, one individual offered up a theory via the 90 Day Fiancé Instagram account.
The social media user believed that David might’ve paid Lana money to finally meet him after the four failed attempts. In their mind, they found it difficult to buy into her dramatic arrival. Meanwhile, some other fans pondered if TLC had played a bigger role in the story too – suggesting that the network manufactured the whole thing.
For his part, David offered an update on his relationship with Lana during a later episode in June 2020. According to him, their romance had cooled off significantly once he’d returned home. And by the time he sat in front of the cameras, it had been almost a week since they’d last exchanged messages.
David says in the clip, “[Lana] told me a couple weeks ago that all she wanted was a white picket fence and a simple life with me – traveling in the RV. She loves that idea, but right now, today, I think we’re not together. That’s not saying we won’t be together in the future, but we’re not together [now].”