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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.

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
46.

Tim    

Here is the link to Te'os interview with Jim Rome in Oct 2012. Start listening at 4:15 and tell me whether you think he was duped....what a s*** bag!

http://ec.libsyn.com/p/a/8/e/a8e67af9be21fd9c/rome_manti_teo10-17.mp3?d13a76d516d9dec20c3d276ce028ed5089ab1ce3dae902ea1d01cd8f34d8c95c84e5&c_id=5055393

592 days ago
47.

Dan    

Sounds like this could make a great episode of Catfish ...

592 days ago
48.

Deana    

Shut up people he might not be lying. You ever seen the show on MTV called catfish? Enough said, this stuff goes on everyday. I know I met a few online years ago who were lying about who they are. I can totally believe this!

592 days ago
49.

Addie    

While I don't know if his story is true or not, these things happen because it happened to me. For 9 months I wrote to who I thought ws a grieving mother trying to get over the loss of her daughter's death (like mine). "She died" in a car accident and I found out 7 years later it was my ex-husband's wife also playing a sick joke on me. It has been terrible.

592 days ago
50.

Tom    

The Joe Schmo Show hit this one out of the park. Ratings are going to be off the charts. Now I understand how he was a Heisman finalist....SpikeTV rigged the voting

592 days ago
51.

Felicia     

Sounds like he got catfished. Pretty typical story. You have to be careful who you talk to online, people can steal others peoples pictures & pretend to be anyone.

592 days ago
52.

Jllbn141982    

When is Te'o's episode of Catfish airing on MTV?

592 days ago
53.

Pamela    

For thsoe claiming catfish it makes no sense. Catfish situations the person has never actually met the girl. First the "catfisher" had to plant a girl/be a girl at Stanford hoping she would meet him. They would have to drag at least 4 more people to play along include mom, dad, sister, brother whom Manti all admitted talking to. I understand a single lonely person doing this but why would 4 or more people play along. Come on use your brain people!

592 days ago
54.

tleeg    

Another idiot who got caught with his pants down and wont fess up...but plays the victim

592 days ago
55.

Laura    

More like, "i'm a dope, and I'm humiliated".

592 days ago
56.

Jesse    

I believe him. I almost had my life ruined over something similar.

592 days ago
57.

DLJ    


It is being reported that Te'o spoke about his "dead girlfriend" at the BCS Championship press conference on 1/3/13, even though he informed ND on 12/26 of the "hoax"..he's a lying sack of s**t

592 days ago
58.

Jen    

He was in on it....just wanted the sympaathy but now that he's caught he's playing the poor victim!!! Sad what some peeople will do for "fame".

592 days ago
59.

cheongyei    

Dude believes in lots of weird stuff if he goes to catlick schools.

591 days ago
60.

TruthandonlytheTruth    

You're humiliated because you got caught!

591 days ago
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