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Manti Te'o

I Was Duped

and I'm Humiliated

1/16/2013 3:24 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

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Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o claims he's a victim who fell for someone's "sick joke" ... and he's really embarrassed over the scandal that's erupted over his not-really-dead girlfriend.

Back in September, Te'o told multiple media outlets that his girlfriend Lennay Kekua had died after a bout with cancer ... hours after his grandmother passed away.   The story was so emotional, it helped catapult him to fame.

But earlier today, a story broke that Lennay was a fiction -- which means she never died because she never lived.  Question is ... was Manti in on the hoax?

According to Manti ... the answer is no. The football star now says:

"This is incredibly embarrassing to talk about, but over an extended period of time, I developed an emotional relationship with a woman I met online. We maintained what I thought to be an authentic relationship by communicating frequently online and on the phone, and I grew to care deeply about her.

To realize that I was the victim of what was apparently someone's sick joke and constant lies was, and is, painful and humiliating.

It further pains me that the grief I felt and the sympathies expressed to me at the time of my grandmother's death in September were in any way deepened by what I believed to be another significant loss in my life.

I am enormously grateful for the support of my family, friends and Notre Dame fans throughout this year. To think that I shared with them my happiness about my relationship and details that I thought to be true about her just makes me sick. I hope that people can understand how trying and confusing this whole experience has been.

Manti Te'o

  • Victim
  • In on it
In retrospect, I obviously should have been much more cautious. If anything good comes of this, I hope it is that others will be far more guarded when they engage with people online than I was.

Fortunately, I have many wonderful things in my life, and I'm looking forward to putting this painful experience behind me as I focus on preparing for the NFL Draft."

Are you buyin' what he's sellin'?

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93 COMMENTS

No Avatar
31.

ray    

scam did not work, it did not win the heisman for him.

459 days ago
32.

Meg    

Of course he's telling the truth. Why Would he voluntarily make himself look so stupid?

459 days ago
33.

dtc    

He got played in a catfish situation bull****, in 2009 he said he met her after a Notre dame Stanford game, she has been on a lot off their family vacations and ****. I thought in catfish situations you met online, and hoped someday you would met in person after developing a real relationship.

459 days ago
34.

Ben Choad    

How exactly is she your girlfriend if you have never met her in person? And why did your dad mention that you had met her several times in Hawaii?
Complete BS. This guy is full of crap

459 days ago
35.

Ben Choad    

Congratulations, its only January and you have been nominated as THE C.U.N.T Muscle of the Year

459 days ago
36.

Jay Singer    

TMZ viewers are so incredibly cynical. I wouldn't want to prejudge someone who has the courage to admit that he was duped and humiliated. The majority of
people who comment here are sickos!

459 days ago
37.

Blah_Blah_Blah    

Ummmmm....Gay Maybe??

459 days ago
38.

brainscan    

Brainscan who are you to judge others? I have many names and my true name is "Nobody". Who are you to judge me false God that kills the innocent before their time? It's for you to decide who God is Nobody and who are you to judge God and his actions Nobody? I am just a man for now but I also know your flaws false God...

459 days ago
39.

mandii~sue    

He got Catfished! Ha! Awesome!

459 days ago
40.

Derrick    

What is this 1950???? How are you calling some girl your girlfriend and you never met her???? Yeah right...either you are in on it or you are the dumbest jock in history.

459 days ago
41.

Violent Pope    

That dude is a knob.

459 days ago
42.

bernergirl    

He made it up.... Read his interview before this broke! I say have him produce the receipt for the white roses! http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/01/04/3166978/for-notre-dames-manti-teo-life.html

459 days ago
43.

lynkel    

Ha hahahaha you got CATFISHED . Dont worry....ots happened to me too. But damn the text sex was good.

459 days ago
44.

jack    

He's a VICTIM definitely!!! No poll was necessary on this one! Look at him... Who would want him?
He's PUKE-A-RAMA... Icky pooh. yuck yuck

And you ask how I know this??? Because I am very beautiful and have very large boobs.

459 days ago
45.

EasilyHard    

Smells a bit closety John Travolta v oice

459 days ago
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