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Manti Te'o

'No Way Involved in Hoax'

Says Cancer Victim's Family

1/17/2013 11:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0116-getty-manti-teo
Manti Te'o's emotions were too real ... too authentic ... to have been lying about the fate of Lennay Kekua -- this according to the family of a 12-year-old cancer victim who met with the Notre Dame star after the death of his supposed girlfriend.

TMZ spoke with Brian and Louise Smith -- who received a letter from Manti back in October when he learned their 12-year-old daughter, Bridget, was suffering from cancer.

In his letter to the family, Manti said he knew what they were going through, since his girlfriend had just passed away from cancer.

After Bridget passed away, Manti met with her parents and they shared an emotional moment together.

Louise tells TMZ ... Manti was full of humility and kindness when they met ... and only cared about how they were doing in light of the family tragedy.

Louise says he seemed like such an honest, real person  ... "It's very hard for me to believe he made this up. I don't believe it for a second."

"There's no way this guy knew anything about this hoax."

Louise also says ... after the family received the initial letter from Manti, she reached out to Te'o and asked if she could share the details of the letter with the media.

Louise says Manti replied, "That's up to you ... it was for you and your family. You do with it what you wish."

Her point -- Manti was not about the publicity, but felt a real connection over what he thought was a real loss.

Are you buyin' what he's sellin'?

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56 COMMENTS

No Avatar
16.

SpongeRob    

W h o GIVES a F u c k .. It's obvious that the guy got Catfished ... And he was ashamed to admit it .. Poor dude .. Naive and a fool

462 days ago
17.

MzDee2012    

Wait. So he didn't have a girlfriend who died from cancer? Wow I don't believe he made that up. No reason to.

462 days ago
18.

His Prince Michael    

Manti, be strong brudda. The haters have always been there.
Remember: Dogs bark, and the train rolls by.


The House of David 2 Chronicles Victory, is HERE:
http://www.all4webs.com/x/w/love4yahweh
http://www.flickr.com/photos/72265268@N08

462 days ago
19.

DaveT    

Amazing how the public is so interested in this, the TV channels are full of news about this situation, I've read and heard the word "hoax" more in the last few days than in my entire life.

462 days ago
20.

Joey    

THERE WAS NO CANCER VICTIM BY THAT NAME AND THERE IS NO DEATH CERTIFICATE EITHER
GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR DUMB IRISH A$$

462 days ago
21.

Shhh    

https://mobile.twitter.com/MTeo_5/status/144463598566113280 ^^obvious connection

462 days ago
22.

Linda Moore    

Get off his back! He was a victim here! Leave him alone. Why is this even a story on TMZ? Why are people so eager to assume the worst about someone??? Aghhhh!!! Watch "Catfish" .... this happens all the time. Poor guy!! LEAVE HIM ALONE!!

462 days ago
23.

Toilethead    

I believe that he wasn't involved. I think he was simply stupid and got taken.

462 days ago
24.

Mike    

This story sounded like total BS and I thought Te'o was just pulling a big scam until I heard he was a Mormon.

Some of those Mormons like in Hawaii and Samoa are really hardcore about their religion and about not having sex before marriage.

Maybe this guy grew up sort of evangelical Christian like Tim Tebow and he is a virgin and all that. Te'o didn't want to be tempted by "sinful women" luring him into having sex so he didn't go to many parties or anything like that on campus.

They said he just sat in his apartment or dorm during college and watched a lot of TV and did stuff on his computer when he wasn't playing football or studying.

Hard to believe that a football star at Notre Dame would be doing this but some of these Mormon guys are a bit like innocent little boys who have been sheltered from girls most of their life. Who knows, maybe he believed that he'd go to hell if he had a real college girlfriend who expected to get some sex and so forth.

This is certainly a strange, embarrassing story for Te'o and Notre Dame. Some evil biatch in Hawaii or somewhere was screwing with this VERY naive Mormon guy for her own little sadistic pleasure. This goes way beyond "punking" someone.

Whoever this girl is reminds me of that girl Jodi Arias who stabbed her Mormon boyfriend 27 times because he said she was not "marriage material" because she was having kinky sex with him all the time before marriage.

462 days ago
25.

anony    

HOW WOULD THEY KNOW? THAT'S RIGHT--THEY WOULDN'T!

462 days ago
26.

Meg    

The guy feels stupid. He's the only victim here. It's not like he got anything out of it. He gave this family comfort- everything happens for a reason

462 days ago
27.

Linda Moore    

Why is everyone is eager to blame Manti?? This happens all the time with online dating. He's the victim here...good grief, people have you never watched "Catfish"?? Get off his back and leave him alone!

462 days ago
28.

Too short    

I'm confused...We're supposed to believe that not only did this college-aged (male) star athlete have a strictly on-line relationship with a 22 year old woman, but that he stared only at a picture of her? It's 2013! Skype, Messenger, etc...they all have video. Was he only just "talking" to her over a phone/computer? If he was duped, as he claimed, would it not immediately raise a red flag that your girlfriend, who is the love of your life and the most beautiful woman you've ever met, (his words), won't let you "see" her while speaking with her? Come on...

462 days ago
29.

KCINDY    

Mani, hire Diana Ross to sing " I am Coming Out" before the media puts you on full blast. College Football "linemen" have "present" everyday girlfriends. And are known for doing chicks two at time!

462 days ago
30.

Throwback kid    

Teo can't even remember what date his make believe girlfriend died? He gives different days in different interviews. His Irish teammates knew he was a fraud but went along with what he was saying, it was the feel good story of 2012 but has turned into Manti's nightmare of 2013

462 days ago
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