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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

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.

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!

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Official statement from Te'o:

"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."

614 days ago

Throwback kid    

I would like to see Manti Teo and Tim Tebow star in a reality show together based on the bachelor, instead if giving the girls a rose they would give them a minature football. I think poth Teo and Tebow need this, it looks like both of them are still virgins, this is very rare for a football player since the amount of girls you meet is crazy.

614 days ago

Clay the don sippin Dom P daily like John.    

Sounds like another HOOK on the SANDY beach, biiiioootch.

614 days ago

Throwback kid    

I wonder if Manti Teo is suffering from a mental problem? He seems to have borderline personality or something even deeper that makes him act out in this bizarre way to attact attention to himself. His father also seems to be unbalanced too, he wants everyone to protest the local paper because they featured a picture of Teo being run over by an Alabama player. well, Teo played horrible and missed 7 tackles, was the paper supposed to pretend he had a good game? The whole family may be mentally unbalanced

614 days ago

Throwback kid    

What a Fraud! he kept saying in interviews that she was the best person he ever met, when did he meet her in person? How did he physically meet a person who never existed?

614 days ago


You can have a "girlfriend" you never met? Give me a break. If u can't bang ur girlfriend you do NOT have a girlfriend. Wake up

614 days ago


Sounds like Manti lies to his father and everybody else. He reminds me of George Constanza--he would carry around a picture of a model and say it is his dead girlfriend, so other models would find him more attractive! Only George was funny--Manti isn't.

614 days ago


Notre Dame being Notre Dame get them off NBC

614 days ago


Dude sounds like he has some kind of mental health issue

614 days ago

The Jones    

Think your being unfair to the guy TMZ. Why would a highly decorated football player make up a story like that for publicity his list of accolades is awesome. People are regularly duped by people online, from *****ian princes needing you to deposit money to save their kingdom to people giving TMZ false stories about celebrities

614 days ago


So Notre Dame is still waiting on the investigation by the proper authorities? Something IS definitely up!

I dunno - maybe he did have an on-line thing with a girl and he never met her?

A very shy male friend of mine met a girl on-line and developed an e-love thing over the course of a year. He saved up and went to meet her (she lived in another province). She weighed much more than her on-line photo, but he was already in love with HER. He never came home after that first meeting. They dated, got married and had a child. He's healthy, happy and working. S.H.I.T. happens (and it's not always bad).

614 days ago

Throwback kid    

So he claims to have met his imaginary girlfriend in 2009 and she had her fake death in 2012? So just about the entire time Manti Teo was at Notre Dame he was never physically with a girl, only his imaginary online girlfriend? This is too weird, something is wrong here. Who came up with the story he met the girl when Notre Dame played Stanford, was it Teo or his father, because that's where this lie first starts and it sounds like Teo and his father were both in on this hoax from the start

614 days ago


He got duped by a crossdresser. Look at the girl's pic, notice the Adam's apple? Some men are prettier than women.

614 days ago


That's the first thing I thought. LOL he/she

614 days ago

JR Jake    

One thing I have learned about the 'islanders' is they are straight up through and through. They are not into B.S. and head games. He was duped like the rest of us.

614 days ago
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