red tape

Court Declares Man Who Ghosted Wife Dead

Constantin Reliu. Photo: Adrian Arnatu/AFP/Getty Images

Remember that Grace and Frankie episode where Frankie is declared legally dead even though she’s very much alive? This story is like that, but instead of a charming buddy comedy about septuagenarian best friends played by Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, it’s a real-life bureaucratic nightmare out of Romania.

Per the Guardian, a Romanian court ruled that 63-year-old Constantin Reliu is dead, with no possibility to appeal that decision — even when he appeared in court himself, still alive.

The mix-up first started when Reliu went to Turkey for work in 1999 and “cut off all contact with his family.” His wife, assuming that his lack of communication meant that he died in an earthquake that same year, got a backdated death certificate for him in 2003.

Because his work documents expired this year, Reliu was deported back to Romania, where his country’s immigration officers told him they had it on record that he had been dead for 15 years. And by then, the court decided, he was too late to appeal — making for the most flagrant misuse of “literally dead” of all time.

Court Declares Man Who Ghosted Wife Dead