These claims held for years because, well, nobody ever decided to check and see if they were true. At least, not in his home country. It wasn't until Irvine travelled to St. Petersburg in Russia and started throwing his weight around like he was top shit and referring to himself as "Sir Robert Irvine, Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order" (seriously) that Russian journalists began asking the tough questions about who this asshole actually was. After a few phone calls, they realized that just about nothing he'd ever claimed about himself was correct, beyond knowing how to cook. Like, generally speaking, he knows how a stove operates, and that's about it.
According to The St. Petersburg Times expose, first of all, the biggest role he had in creating Charles and Diana's cake was helping pick out some of the fruit that went into it, and that's just because he happened to be studying at the school where it was being made. He did actually work at the White House -- cooking for Navy personnel. Never once did anything he cooked come within smelling distance of the president or any executive staff. Hell, there's not even any record of his B.S. from the University of Leeds.
John Parker/U.S. Navy
"So, technically, I do have a BS degree."
"But the part about the knighthood, that was surely true, wasn't it?" is a phrase that zero of you are saying. Irvine claims that one was a rumor he started while drunk in a pub one night, as is the story about owning a castle. To be fair, which of us has never claimed to have a British knighthood after a few beers, not even once? Or owning just a small castle? Come on, you've all done that.
The devastating smackdown that unraveled Irvine's web of lies (which any journalist anywhere could have done, just, any time they liked, with a cup of coffee, a croissant, and a phone book) led to Irvine being fired from his TV show, and giving a public apology for lying about his entire career. And where is he now? Oh ... actually he's totally fine. He got another TV show, and still opens new restaurants like none of this ever happened. It turns out it really is that hard to un-famous someone.
Nathan Kamal lives in Oregon and writes there. He co-founded Asymmetry Fiction for all your fiction needs. Rachel P. makes up her own lies on Twitter. Follow her @plehcar.
Also check out 6 People Who Got Away With Living An (Implausible) Lie and 6 Famous Explorers Who Shaped The World (With Insane Lies).
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