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Manti Te'o

GF's Death was a HOAX

1/16/2013 2:01 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

0116-manti-teo-lennay-kekua
Notre Dame superstar linebacker Manti Te'o -- a 2012 Heisman Trophy finalist -- may have helped to trick the media into believing he had a girlfriend who died back in September ... when in fact, she never existed ... this according to Deadspin.com. 

The tragic storyline captivated the nation during Notre Dame's incredible 2012 season -- with countless stories from dozens of major media outlets detailing how Manti persevered after the death of his GF Lennay Kekua and had the season of his life.

Problem is, according to Deadspin, there is no hard evidence proving Lennay Kekua ever existed ... and no official records confirming a person by the name of Lennay Kekua passed away when Manti claims she died.

According to Deadspin, Manti and "Lennay" communicated through social media sites ... but the report suggests that "Lennay" was not a real person -- her account was controlled by someone purporting to be her.

Deadspin says the photos "Lennay" used to identify herself on social media sites were of a Southern California woman who has never met Manti Te'o.

The article also suggests Manti has a connection with the person suspected of acting as "Lennay" on Twitter -- and even goes as far to suggest Manti was in on the hoax because he knew the sob story would generate publicity.

FYI -- Manti is expected to be a high pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.

So far, Manti has not commented on the story. We also tried to reach out to Manti -- but our efforts have been unsuccessful.

update_bar
2:26 PM PT -- Notre Dame has released the following statement ...saying Te'o is merely the VICTIM in the hoax and not a participant. Here's the statement:

"On Dec. 26, Notre Dame coaches were informed by Manti Te’o and his parents that Manti had been the victim of what appears to be a hoax in which someone using the fictitious name Lennay Kekua apparently ingratiated herself with Manti and then conspired with others to lead him to believe she had tragically died of leukemia."

"The University immediately initiated an investigation to assist Manti and his family in discovering the motive for and nature of this hoax. While the proper authorities will continue to investigate this troubling matter, this appears to be, at a minimum, a sad and very cruel deception to entertain its perpetrators."

But something doesn't add up ... because Te'o's father had gone on record during the season saying Manti told him he and the GF would often meet up in Hawaii.

So was the father lying? Or was Manti lying?

Something ain't right.

For more sports stories, check out tmzsports.com!
81 COMMENTS

No Avatar
1.

DaveT    

firster

562 days ago
2.

Thonas77    

Catfish

562 days ago
3.

Adrienne    

he's been cat fished!

562 days ago
4.

jason    

Email Nev, he'll get to the bottom of this

562 days ago
5.

Bmorecurlyguy    

Tmz stop reporting on sports please leave that to professionals and not pervert photographers and cheap intern writers

562 days ago
6.

Zghying    

a female Dave on Wheels

562 days ago
7.

cat    

i totally agree!!! something isnt right....

562 days ago
8.

Redskin_Chick    

This story is just weird. Like someone already said, it reminds me of the show on MTV called Catfish.
I hope he wasent in on the hoax.

562 days ago
9.

Pudding Tang    

note: Johnny Manziel did not require a hoax to deservingly win the Heisman.

562 days ago
10.

Thrilla    

How were they GF/BF if they have never met? If they had met, then that nearly proves that he was in on it.

562 days ago
11.

Majestik    

Inspector Dax, Inspector Dax, need an answer call Inspector Dax.
.
So, go do something worthwhile TMZ, actually see if you find the woman that is pictured there and get her photo call down in transcript.

562 days ago
12.

KicksandGiggles    

TMZ, please leave this to Dateline. Its not celeb news. Are you guys getting litigation herpes and scared to report real celeb news? Or are you just too lazy to find some? Seriously, tell us.

562 days ago
13.

GOLLY    

She was his beard.

562 days ago
14.

Black    

He was behind it the whole time and the university all for publicity .

562 days ago
15.

Paula    

HAAAIILLLLL NO. This cannot possibly be true. I was at the gym on a treadmill and almost ran off the machine when this came on our local news (South Bend area).

562 days ago
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