by Free Britney at

Thomas Gibson is addressing the embarrassing catfishing video that surfaced online over the weekend, claiming he and his wife are actually separated.

A source close to the actor tells TMZ that he wasn't pulling a fast one on his wife Christine Gibson by conducting an online relationship with a catfisher.

They're separated, in fact ... and not even recently.

It's an unusual setup, but Thomas and Christine Gibson still live together for the sake of their children, but haven't been "together" since early 2011.

That's six months before he started messing around with one of his Twitter fans, who posed as a porn star and began trading pics and videos with him.

The two carried on a "relationship" for two years - the Thomas Gibson catfish video (above) was filmed last winter - before he realized he was being had.

The Criminal Minds star's lawyers told the woman, whoever she is, to cease communication recently. Do you believe the actor's explanation?

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by Free Britney at

Criminal Minds' Thomas Gibson was apparently the victim of a Catfishing prank ... which came to light after the actor sent back an epically embarrassing video.

From his hot tub.

The story behind the video obtained by TMZ goes like this:

A woman from North Dakota contacted Thomas Gibson on Twitter in 2011, using a racy photo she took from an adult site and saying she was a big fan.

She proceeded to carry on a two-year "relationship "with Gibson, exchanging multiple explicit pics and videos, most of which she ganked from porn sites.

The Catfish plot worked, as the actor was smitten.

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