Woman whose face was shown on Affordable Care Act website says she suffered cyberbullying

The woman whose face was once featured on the Affordable Care Act's website says she suffered "cyberbullying" when it launched.

In an ABC News exclusive report , Adriana, who asked that only her first name be used, said she was speaking out now to defend herself after weeks of ridicule.

"They have nothing else to do but hide behind the computer. They're cyberbullying," Adriana told ABC News' Amy Robach. "I'm here to stand up for myself and defend myself and let people know the truth," she said.

On Oct. 1, 2013, when the ACA's website launched to enroll Americans in health insurance through federally run exchanges, it was Adriana's face that greeted them.

Dubbed the "enigmatic Mona Lisa of health care," her face was soon mocked, Photoshopped, altered. She became the subject of late-night jokes, partisan hatred and intense speculation.

"I mean, I don't know why people should hate me because it's just a photo. I didn't design the website. I didn't make it fail, so I don't think they should have any reasons to hate me," Adriana told ABC News.

Speculation swirled that Adriana might not be a legal resident of the United States, and therefore not even eligible for the health care exchanges. Adriana said she was a wife and mother who lived in
Maryland with her 21-month-old son and husband of six and a half years. Her husband is a U.S. citizen, as is his her son. Adriana said she had lived in the U.S. for more than six years, was currently a permanent resident and was applying for citizenship.

She said that while she knew her photo would be used on the healthcare.gov website, she was stunned at the negative reception.

"Like I said it was shocking. It was upsetting. It was sad. We were having a hard day when we read all this," she said. "And in a way, I'm glad that my son is not old enough to understand, because you know whatever happens to you, it hurts them too."

The saga of the photo started innocuously enough. Seeking free family photographs, Adriana emailed a contact at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency responsible for the Affordable Care Act's rollout, about having photos of her and her family taken in exchange for allowing the photos to be used to market the new health care law.

She learned over the summer that her photo would be on healthcare.gov's main page, but she didn't realize it would become so closely associated with the problems of the glitchy website.

About two weeks ago, her photo was removed from the site and replaced by several icons. "That was a relief," she said.

"They took the picture down. I wanted the picture down, and they wanted the picture down. I don't think anybody wanted to focus on the picture."

Adrian's photo was removed because "Healthcare.gov is a dynamic website," not because she requested it, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services said.