The Fatal Attraction Behind Social Media Relationship Goals – Tonie Wells Tragedy

This morning, as I was getting ready for work, I checked the news and my heart broke. I stumbled across a story about a young lady, Tonie Wells, 22, who was found dead on Wednesday at her Brooklyn home. According to reports, neighbours were alerted to the horrific scene after hearing the cries of Tonie’s two year-old daughter. Sources claim that Tonie’s husband Barry Wells is assumed to be responsible for her suspicious death, and is now in custody.

Click here for the full article.

Tonie Wells

So many things ran through my head when I initially read the articles (I’ve literally read every article and blog post that I can find about this tragedy).

How could her husband kill her? Why would he leave her (I’m not sure whether the little girl is their child together or from a previous relationship) child in the house with her mothers dead body? If there was a domestic issue before, why didn’t the police check on her? Did she not have help, or support, elsewhere? The list of things that I thought, and am still thinking, is endless.

It’s not my business to know the answer to all of those questions, it’s just my curious nature that makes me wonder, but a major thing that stood out to me, that I could comment on, was the whole “relationship goals” aspect of things.

Tonie Wells
Portrait of Tonie Wells tattooed on the back of, husband, Barry Wells.

Tonie and her husband went viral back in August because Barry had tattooed a portrait of her face on his back. The picture was posted on The Shade Room and comments were flooded with “relationship goals” and “I need a man like that”. Now, four months later, the beautiful young lady is dead and the “goals” husband is under suspicion of her murder.

Unfortunately, this kind of thing is not rare. People appear to look happy in their relationships on social media all the time, but who really knows what goes on behind closed doors? Only the people behind those closed doors, that’s who.

The Wells tragedy reminds me of the 2014 murder-suicide involving, dancer and actress, Stephanie Moseley and her, rapper, husband Earl Hayes. On social media, the couple appeared to be happy and successful as individuals and in love with one-another when together, yet the husband ended up murdering his partner and then himself because of issues that social media did not see.

Stephanie Moseley
Stephanie Moseley and Earl Hayes

People looking at someone’s relationship and thinking that they look cute together or appear to be happy is absolutely normal. I’m guilty of doing it too, I see Lauren London and Nipsey Hussle and think to myself, “Where’s my thug who’s intelligent too?” Nas made it sound appealing in ‘Made You Look’ – judge me if you want. However, to me it’s not serious enough for me to think that their relationship is goals. It’s more so the fact that I like what I see, the image, and I would like to smile like that with someone one day or have a baby with someone I love one day etc.

I’m well aware, however, that I’m different to a lot of people. I couldn’t fake my happiness because I would be on edge that someone would catch me out and also because I’m not protecting anyone, if you treat me like crap then you’ve got to kick rocks!

There are people, unlike me, who sit and literally put their heart and soul into wanting a relationship that they see on social media. So much so that they ignore all of their boundaries and accept bullshit behaviour, domestic violence and cheating in return for a few cute pictures that they can post on social media. I’m not saying that I’m better than them, people have their reasons for doing what they do, but I’m definitely headstrong when it comes to boundaries – so I’m here to shed light for those who aren’t.

NB. I’m not saying that Tonie or Stephanie intentionally portrayed false happiness, I will never know, but it happens a lot.

To a certain extent, I don’t blame people who do it – portray a happy life when they’re really not happy. I see it in two ways. Either they’re wishing it into existence by portraying the happy moments in hope that their relationship will fall in line with what they are putting out for the world to see, or they feel the pressure from those on social media who appear to be living “perfect” lives and they don’t want to feel left out. It’s so sad, especially because I can completely understand why people would do this. However, it’s not okay.


Tonie and Barry looked like they loved one another, they weren’t just in a relationship, they were married. Married and he tattooed her face on his body. Married, tattooed and they were raising a child together – with one on the way! That sounds ideal, I mean it sounds damn near perfect, but it wasn’t.


Also, a man tattooing his partners face on his body isn’t something to be overly excited about – it rings alarm bells. What would happen if you ever wanted to leave him? Do you really think a man who has your whole face, not just name, tattooed on his body is going to let you walk away easily? No chance. (If you want me to do a post solely based on signs that someone is in a dangerous relationship, let me know!)

There are so many people that I know personally who have been, and are, in abusive and dangerous relationships, yet their instagram profiles look like a movie. They hate their partners, they have bruises in abundance and they are scared for their lives daily, yet they portray perfect lives on social media. It’s not okay!

As a friend, or even an associate, I can only do so much for someone who doesn’t want the help. Calling people out for faking it is something that I always do, in private of course – I’m not going to put them on blast. That doesn’t mean they always listen, they rarely do, but at least I’m trying. If your friend is faking it but you know, or even assume, that they are in danger – TALK TO THEM!

If you ignore it, then they are not really your friend. It’s better that they cut you off themselves because you keep calling them out, and they don’t want to leave, than you finding out your friend has been killed by their partner and you, knowing something was going on, didn’t try to do anything.

For those of you who see relationships on social media and think that they’re perfect, there’s a 100% chance that that’s not the case. Even the most amazing relationship is not perfect, and no amount of Facetune and perfectly-staged “off-guard” pictures will ever make that a possibility. Don’t compare yourself to those that you see on social media because you have no idea what is going on behind closed doors – no idea!

Pages like The Shade Room should stop hyping up relationship goals too. It needs to be dropped out in 2018 because I’m sure that the fact the couple went viral would’ve added to the need to keep up an image of happy families even more.

Tonie Wells

In this case, everything looked perfect on social media yet people were aware that things weren’t ideal – Tonie’s sister and the police. Tonie’s sister allegedly stated that Tonie was scared of her husband, to the point that the sister called the police and made them aware of this and asked them to check on her – less than a week before her death. The police did nothing, they failed that poor girl and her babies. When it comes to domestic violence, police are not diligent enough at all and it’s sickening. Victims are better off going into a refuge than seeking police help, however I would advise that you contact both just to be extra safe.

How do you hear that a woman is potentially in danger, a young 22 year old pregnant lady with a toddler child, in her own home and choose to ignore it? What kind of world are we living in?

If you think that someone you know is experiencing domestic violence (which is not only physical, it is also mental and financial abuse) then you need to talk to them and convince them to seek help. If they aren’t complying because they are too scared then seek help on their behalf and explain the situation as much as you can, there are professionals who are able to disguise themselves accordingly and do safe and well checks on the victim. If you’re not sure that anything is going on and you have a feeling, you may want to watch something like Fatal Attraction (The show on TV One, not the film – you can find episodes on YouTube if you don’t live in the U.S.) You will be able to see patterns and similarities that will help you determine whether your loved one is in an abusive relationship.

Don’t pretend that it’s hard to figure out from the outside, it’s not. It’s hard to tell through social media sometimes but when the person is your friend, family member, then you should be able to pick up on unusual activity – open your eyes!

If you’re reading this and you’re in an abusive relationship then I need you to seek help. I’m not going to link any helpline or refuge sites here because if there is someone checking your history then that could cause even more danger. However, if you want to check the sites then please clear them from your search history. Also, let someone that you’re able to contact (manager at work, next door neighbour, nail lady, family member – anyone!) know what is going on and ask them to call on your behalf. If you don’t have anyone, contact me and I will seek help for you – in the safest way possible.

Abuse is not okay. You do not deserve it. You can live without them. If you stay, there is a high possibility that they may kill you. You were not put into this world for a disgusting human being to take you out of it. Seek help. Pray as much as possible. Plan your escape. Remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

You must pick wisely for yourself though, you cannot wait for someone to notice what is happening to you and then help. Think deeply. Do you want to see the light whilst here on Earth, where you can make more memories and have children and find someone better and be able to look back and see how far you’ve come etc, or do you want to see the light when you enter heavens gate because your partner, that you protected, killed you?

I don’t mean to be blunt, or appear heartless, but life is serious. Your life is serious. Domestic violence is serious too. I need you all to be careful and stay safe. Protect yourself, do not protect your abuser.

Tonie Wells

I pray that Tonie Wells and her unborn child rest peacefully. I also pray for protection and love in abundance for her young daughter who had to go through such trauma and has to grow up without her mother and unborn sibling. I pray that all of their loved ones are guided into a better place mentally and are clothed in strength by God as they deal with their loss. I pray that justice is served for all of them.

This is a bit all over the place, sorry I’m emotional, but thank you for reading.

Lots of love, Liss x

20 Replies to “The Fatal Attraction Behind Social Media Relationship Goals – Tonie Wells Tragedy”

  1. This was a great article! I found you on the discover page, and when I saw the title of the post, I didn’t know what to expect, but this was so well written, and you chose to focus on the false pretenses of social media so well by revolving it on some high profile people getting murdered. I’ve never heard of her before, but this still hit me hard, especially from scrolling through the images you posted. They seemed so happy, and I would have never thought that something so terrible would have ever happened to them by looking at the pictures. Like I said, great post love, happy holidays xxx

    Melina |

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment, I really appreciate it. It’s such a sensitive topic but hopefully the more we speak on it then hopefully some changes are made soon. Sending you lots of love and light, happy holidays to you too xxx

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Enjoyed reading. Please please please do the post about signs of dangerous relationships. Tons of folks make way too many excuses for toxic unhealthy relationships and try to justify things as “not being as bad as another scenario”. Looking forward to reading it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for reading and I’m glad that you enjoyed. I will definitely do the post then and I’ll let you know when it’s up! You’re so right and it’s so sad that people will make up excuses because they think they deserve that. So sad. Love and light xxx

      Liked by 2 people

  3. This is eye opening. Allow me to say social media has misled us. The insanity has gone a notch higher just as yiu have pointed out Liss- certain societal standards that literally don’t exist but we cling on to regardless. A good example you’ve laid out, GOALS. It is good to have objectives and visions i admit, but sometimes we get carried away. Seeking for perfection and social media approval that we forget to speak out and address vital issues affecting us. It is time we took a step back and said no to unnecessary stuff. No to domestic violence. But again no to faking things up in order to get a little recognition from online strangers and peeps.
    I stumbled upon this short article and i think it has the final saying on this subject:

    Did you know the average person spends 4 years of his life looking down at his cell phone?
    Kind of ironic, ain’t it?
    How these touch-screens can make us lose touch
    But it’s no wonder in a world filled with iMac’s, iPads and iPhones
    So many “i”’s, so many selfies, not enough “us”‘s and “we”’s
    See, technology
    Has made us more selfish and separate than ever
    Cause while it claims to connect us, connection has gotten no better
    And let me must express first
    Mr. Zuckerberg, not to be rude but you should re-classify Facebook to what it is:
    An anti-social network
    Cause while we may have big friend lists
    So many of us are friendless
    All alone
    Cause friendships and more broken than the screens on our very phones
    We sit at home on our computers measuring self-worth by numbers of followers and likes
    Ignoring those who actually love us
    It seems we’d rather write
    An angry post than talk to someone who might actually hug us
    Am I bugging? You tell me
    Cause I asked a friend the other day, “Let’s meet up face to face.”
    And said, “Alright. What time you wanna Skype?”
    I responded with omg, srs, and then a bunch of smh’s
    And realized what about me?
    Do I not have the patience to have conversation without abbreviation?
    This is the generation of media over stimulation
    Chats have been reduced to snaps
    The news is 140 characters
    Videos are 6 seconds at high speed
    And you wonder why ADD is on the rise faster than 4G LTE
    But, get a load of this
    Studies show the attention span of the average adult today
    Is one second lower than that of a gold fish

    So if, you’re one of the few people or aquatic animals that have yet to click off or close this video, congratulations
    Let me finish by saying you do have a choice, yes
    But this one my friends we cannot Auto-Correct – we must do it ourselves
    Take control or be controlled, Make a decision
    No longer do I want to spoil a precious moment by recording it with a phone
    I’m just gonna keep them
    I don’t wanna take a picture of all my meals anymore – I ‘m just gonna eat them
    I don’t want the new app, the new software, or the new update
    And If I wanna post an old photo, who says I have to wait until Thursday
    I’m so tired of performing in the pageantry of vanity
    And conforming to this accepted form of digital insanity
    Call me crazy but, I imagine a world where we smile when we have low batteries
    Cause that will mean we’ll be one bar closer – to ..

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, I’m glad that this post touched you. We’re saying no to everything negative and poisonous! Thank you so much for sharing that short article, I am going to keep reading that all over and over again because it resonates so deeply! You have just blessed me so much, I appreciate you commenting!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This sort of event is horrendous but so common – thank you for your sensitive but motivating words. I think it’s sad that relationships are now all about the instagrammable moments.

    Liked by 1 person

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