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Manti Te'o SPEAKS

I Knew It Was Crazy ... But

I'm Innocent

1/19/2013 9:33 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news



0119_manti_teo_apManti Te'o
has broken his silence ... admitting he knew having a relationship with a "girlfriend" solely online was "crazy," insisting he was a victim, and revealing that the culprit has now apologized.
 
Manti gave an audio interview to ESPN -- the photo was taken in the middle of the chat -- in which he acknowledges Ronaiah Tuiasosopo tweeted him a full confession two days ago. You gotta love it ... even the confession was online. ESPN says it was followed up by a phone call.

Manti says, "I wasn't faking it. I wasn't part of this."

Manti says he now knows -- presumably from Tuiasosopo -- "Two guys and a girl are responsible for the whole thing." He says he doesn't know the identity of the second guy or the girl. He adds he didn't know for sure until Wednesday that it was all a hoax, when Tuiasosopo admitted it to him.

Manti explained why he lied to his dad and others, when he said or intimated he had seen the fictitious Lennay Kekua in the flesh. "I knew that -- I even knew that it was crazy that I was with somebody that I didn't meet, and that alone people find out that this gir who died I was so invested in, and I didn't meet her as well ... So I kind of tailored my stories to have people think that, yeah, he met her before she passed away so people wouldn't think I was some crazy dude."

As for one of the big questions -- why didn't he at least Skype -- he says he tried to speak with Lennay through Skype or FaceTime several times, but the person on the other end was in a "black box" and couldn't be seen. He says he also tried meeting her a few times in L.A. and Hawaii, but she kept canceling. 

And this is a little weird ... Manti says Lennay once asked him for his checking account number so she could send him money. He did not provide it. Still, no suspicion.

Manti says the fictitious relationship was not a full four years -- they would take breaks, but it got intense after she said her father had died.

He says things got crazy after Lennay's fake car accident when she was in the hospital, and he could only hear her breathing over the phone -- "I slept on the phone with her every night ...the only thing that could help her sleep was if I was on the phone." 

As for why he didn't visit her in the hospital, he says, "It never really crossed my mind.  I don't know. I was in school."

As for why he didn't attend her "funeral," he says, "Her mom told them [Lennay's family] they did not want me to come," adding, "I didn't want that to be the first time that I saw her was laying in a coffin."

Manti says on December 6 -- three months after Lennay had supposedly died --  a woman called from the number Lennay had used, saying, "Manti, it's me." He says that was the first time it was apparent to him -- he had been scammed. 

Manti says he doesn't hold a grudge -- "I don't wish an ill thing to somebody. I just hope he learns.  I think embarrassment is big enough."

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192 COMMENTS

No Avatar
16.

Jacob    

Stupid story..... Not newsworthy TMZ, lame.....

578 days ago
17.

Georgie    

TMZ - I also want to add, that you may have thought you struck gold with this story but your visitors are BORED by it. Why on earth are there three or four postings on this same story? I want real juice or at the very least, some stupid/funny pictures of celebrities.

578 days ago
18.

msmoeliss    

Liar liar pants on fire.

578 days ago
19.

KicksandGiggles    

Final thoughts... He is either incredibly stupid or incredibly gullible. Either way, time to move on.

578 days ago
20.

No comment    

He refused to have it taped. Only still photos, so it couldn't be used against him later. Schaap the reported, said he was calm, yeah xanax calm. Did Schaap ask to see the ipad love letters, the phone bills. Te'o is a liar. It never occurred to him to visit hi-*-s girlfriend when she came off life support and awoke from a coma in May, nor with time of in the summer, to visit her when she had Leukemia, yet he traveled for N.D. to Hawaii, he could stop over in SoCal. B.S.!

The reason Norte Dame hired a private investigating firm rather than going to law enforcement, is because you can lie to P.I.'s, but it is illegal to lie to law enforcement. They were protecting their image (much like the Catholic Church in the sex abuse scandal).

I hope Te'o loses millions in endorsements. FREAK!

578 days ago
21.

Tom Liebengood    

Perhaps a mate for LiLO?

578 days ago
22.

MrsB    

Seriously stop already...with this story..it's not that interesting..move on plz

578 days ago
23.

lourdgoogoo    

Let me interview him and we'll see how innocent he sounds after some real hard questions.

578 days ago
24.

LISA    

This has got "Lifetime Movie" written all over it.

578 days ago
25.

Lurker    

He's still lying. D-Bag gave his imaginary girlfriend Hawaiian Punch to drink and she died. He also thought that the co-conspirator probably wanted money after he hit the NFL so Manti Te'o came clean now so he couldn't be blackmailed after he turned Pro and became a millionaire. AND he's gay. Another reason to make up a story about a girlfriend. The drama came so he would get more votes for the Heisman trophy award. LIAR LIAR

578 days ago
26.

Dennis Johnson    

He is eather a DULLARD or a LIER..........or both............I vote both.

578 days ago
27.

geekedup    

This dude is lying he was in a relationship with Ron. Te'o knew all along that it was Ron because that was his boyfriend. I wonder how much Ron will get paid to act like te'o had nothing to do with this? What's more embarrassing? Your team mates and the whole world finding out your gay? Or being fake hoaxed by your online girlfriend?

578 days ago
28.

Cheryl A.    

F off, liar. You are only admitting stuff now because you got caught. You are NOBODY, just a dumb college jock. Now that your "career" is in the toilet I am sure your grades won't let you stay in college.

578 days ago
29.

sierrarose    

Why isn't the media addressing the story of the football player who said he actually met someone passing themselves as Lennay. He said he met a woman by that name and maintained a phone relationship with her and that this was before "Lennay" met Te'o. I am witholding judgment on Te'o until all the facts are in.

578 days ago
30.

luckycat    

Oprah is next.they can talk about her long time fake boyfriend-Stedman.Lance can join the after show feast of crow and humble pie. They will the purge and start it all over again.
Public colonics are becoming too common.

578 days ago
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