Who is Reesa Teesa: She went viral with her 'Who TF Did I Marry' TikTok series - now she says she has no regrets

Tareasa 'Reesa Teesa' Johnson
When Tareasa 'Reesa Teesa' Johnson shared on TikTok the story of what she says was a marriage gone horribly wrong, she hoped to help others who might be ignoring red flags in their relationships. Photo credit: CNN via CNN Newsource; @reesamteesa / TikTok

Warning: This story has social media embeds which contain offensive language.

When Tareasa "Reesa Teesa" Johnson shared on TikTok the story of what she says was a marriage gone horribly wrong, she hoped to help others who might be ignoring red flags in their relationships.

Revisiting her pain and revealing a tale that might make others question her judgement, Johnson said, would be worth it if it helped at least one person. Her eight-hour saga of heartache, shared in more than 50 compelling, five to 10-minute TikTok increments, ended up capturing the fascination of millions.

So, has it been worth it?

"It has," Johnson told CNN in an interview this week. "I've had a lot of messages from people who were telling me 'You know, I went through something very similar. Your story has helped me make decisions in my own relationship.' So, I definitely would say the overwhelming support has definitely made this worth it." 

Titled "Who TF Did I Marry," Johnson in her series of posts recounted what she says was her discovery that her former husband was not the man she thought he was.

As she tells it, the former couple met on a dating app shortly before the pandemic, moved in together to quarantine, married in 2021 and split six months later.

Johnson identified her ex only as "Legion," but he has gone public under his real name, Jerome McCoy, and has refuted her story in interviews with both TMZ and Simply Wavy on YouTube.

McCoy, when reached by CNN over the phone, claimed Johnson was a woman scorned who was unfaithful in their relationship and is seeking to reap fame and fortune from their brief marriage. 

"I left her because she cheated. It was a simple divorce. It was nothing special about it," he told CNN.

McCoy also claimed to have recently filed a defamation lawsuit against Johnson in Philadelphia. When asked why he would file suit in Pennsylvania given that Johnson lives in Georgia, he explained his attorneys are in Philadelphia and that the suit had been filed Monday in Clayton County, Georgia.

CNN was unable to locate a lawsuit filed by him against Johnson in Clayton County court records.

Johnson refutes McCoy's claims of her being unfaithful during their marriage and maintains her story is true. The former couple filed for a marriage license in December 2020, married in January 2021 and were divorced in August 2021, according to public records obtained by CNN. 

'I had no idea it was going to turn into what it turned into'

Johnson described the way she shared her story as part purge, part confessional. When asked why she chose TikTok as the platform to share her relationship diary, Johnson told CNN it was what she had available.

"I was already on TikTok," she explained. "I had previously been on Facebook, but I wasn't using Instagram that much and I don't have a YouTube page."

The popularity of her posts has surprised her. 

"I had no idea it was going to turn into what it turned into. I really thought a lot of things were working against me," she said. "Number one, I didn't have any filter or lights or any, you know, special equipment. Number two is they were 10-minute videos."

Johnson's vulnerability, along with the highly relatable experience of love gone wrong, seem to resonate with viewers all the more.

Since she started posting her story last month, Johnson has been caught up in a whirlwind of media appearances, signed with talent agency CAA and even captured the attention of some celebrities, like Ghosts star Danielle Pinnock publicly advocating on social media to play Johnson in a movie or TV series.

One of the people who says she had a front row seat to Johnson's former relationship told CNN she is proud of Johnson for going public. 

Amber Steele is a Georgia-based relator who says she worked with Johnson and her then-husband to try and find a home for them to buy.

In her series, Johnson credits Steele with helping to wake her up to potential red flags.

Steele told CNN that Johnson told the truth as it applied to her interactions with the couple and said, "It just felt off with him (McCoy) straight out of the gate."

Reesa Teesa
Reesa Teesa. Photo credit: CNN via CNN Newsource

"They were looking at expensive houses, so, you know, you try to make the deal work as a real estate agent. And so we looked at that first house and - Tareasa and I have laughed about this now - where the alarm was just blaring and we had a hard time getting in touch with the owner to get it turned off," said Steele, who added she remembers showing the couple four or five homes to potentially buy.

"We had to look at that first home with the alarm system going crazy. And I thought we should have known then. That was our omen." 

McCoy told CNN he recalled meeting Steele briefly but not touring homes with her.

Steele isn't on TikTok, but said Johnson called her two weeks ago to let her know the story had become quite popular. The agent gave Johnson permission to share her name and image with her followers.

The real estate agent has since watched the series and said Johnson was successful in her goal of imparting, "If something don't feel right, don't ignore it. Check it out."

"I think people just kind of got wrapped up in it and the drama of it," Steele said. "I'm happy for her and I'm proud of her for the way that she put it together and put it out there."