The woman who was accused of pretending to be a 6-year-old Ukrainian orphan shares her side of the story.
Following the three-night run of The Curious Case of Natalia Grace, the Investigation Discovery (ID) docuseries recounting the unbelievably true story surrounding Michael Barnett and Kristine Barnett's adoption of an adult who was accused of pretending to be a 6-year-old Ukrainian orphan, Natalia Grace is opening up in the all-new two-hour documentary, The Curious Case of Natalia Grace: Natalia Speaks.
"This is my side of the story, and I'm going to say what happened because I never got a chance to say what happened," Natalia says.
Ahead of its premiere later this summer, ET has an exclusive, extended preview at what Natalia has to say about what really happened to her after being adopted by the Barnetts and addresses the allegations the family made against her while she was still living with them.
"The things that Kristine and Michael have said that I have done is a lie. I have never done anything that Kristine and Michael have said that I have done," Natalia says in the clip, referring to the many allegations the couple has brought against their formerly adopted daughter.
In 2010, the Indiana couple thought they had adopted a 6-year-old orphaned girl from Ukraine. Not realizing she had a form of dwarfism called spondyloepiphyseal, the Barnetts became suspicious that their newest family member was not actually a child.
In addition to claiming that Natalia showed physical signs of being much older than a toddler, Michael and Kristine Barnett accused her of trying to harm them and their children. During the two years Natalia lived with them, they claimed that she tried to poison Kristine and push Michael into an electric fence.
Eventually believing that she was, in fact, an adult, they had her legal age changed from 6 to 22. And by 2013, the Barnett family moved to Canada while they left Natalia behind in an apartment in Lafayette, Indiana.
Michael and Kristine, who are now divorced, were eventually charged with abandoning Natalia before Michael was found not guilty of three counts of neglect and conspiracy to commit neglect of a dependent in 2022 while charges against Kristine were dropped in March 2023.
Natalia, meanwhile, has since been adopted by a new couple, Antwon Mans and Cynthia Mans. In 2016, they became her legal guardians. They also maintain that she is a teenager.
All of this is recounted in the three-part ID true-crime docuseries, which features interviews with Natalia's adoptive family, including one of Michael and Kristine's sons, Jacob Barnett, as well as relatives, friends and neighbors. First debuting on Monday, May 29, the series concluded on Wednesday, May 31. It will then be followed later by Natalia Speaks.
"You can ask anybody in my family now. You can ask Bishop Antwon and Cynthia Mans that -- just ask them, 'Has she ever done anything?' They will tell you who I really am. They're not going to lie and neither am I," Natalia says in the extended look at her upcoming special.
"It's frustrating. It's very frustrating to hear everything that's being said from Kristine and Michael. And because I already don't know who I am and I want to know who I am and what happened to me, but I'm hearing all this stuff that never actually happened from Kristine and Michael," she goes on to say. "I'm like, 'It's shocking and it's frustrating.' Because that's not even true. And people are believing what Kristine and Michael are saying without even hearing my side."
Natalia concludes by adding, "Y'all have heard from Kristine and Michael and what they have said. But you need to hear both sides in order to know what happened."
In the years since Natalia's story became a national media sensation, the Orphan horror movies starring Vera Farmiga and Julia Stiles have loosely based a prequel on what supposedly happened during her time with the Barnett family. Additionally, Ellen Pompeo is set to star in an eight-part scripted Hulu series from executive producer Katie Robbins and showrunner Erin Levy. Pompeo will portray Kristine while Imogen Reid will portray Natalia.
The special, Natalia Speaks, will air later this summer following the finale of The Curious Case of Natalia Grace, which aired Wednesday, May 31 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Investigation Discovery.