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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."

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

No Avatar
31.

ThatHarlemKat    

He's an effin LIAR. NO ONE is that stupid. An All-American football star at Notre Dame dates a women he never meet and for 4 years? In an age where even crackheads have iphones, he never once even seen this girl!? He would have to be the most stupid person in the world. His BS just out of hand. Nothing more to see here, lying idiot.

552 days ago
32.

Jenn    

He's better off admitting he's part of the hoax...'the truth' just makes him sound like a complete idiot.

552 days ago
33.

kitnplayn    

Ya know, considering they are milking this for every bit of media they can get from it, it's starting to look like maybe Notre Dame is in on the hoax too. In fact, maybe they even planted it, because they keep implying that they want to hush it up, but they are the ones that are keeping it going. I wouldn't trust any freakin' American to tell the truth about anything, even on a Sunday.

552 days ago
34.

Diana     

I don't care if he had a fake GF or talks to his Teddy Ruxpin everynight. The real story here is how various major newsgroups ran with the story of sick girlfriend or 8 hour phone calls......etc without checking any of the facts. We should be condeming the press for its lack of jounalistic integrity.

MANITS GF WAS AS REAL AS THE SUPPOSED PROTESTS THAT KILLED FOUR AMERICANS 3 months ago in Benghanzi. Why isn't the media catching any blame.

552 days ago
35.

Gsharon 710    

I seem to remember a person who is on television, smart, educated, rich, and good-looking, who only came out of the closet about his sex preference when someone started to blow his cover. We all do things at one time or another to save face. Let the innocent of silliness throw the first stone.

552 days ago
36.

Loretta Love    

YAWN,,,

552 days ago
37.

Sassy    

"He adds he didn't know for sure until Wednesday that it was all a hoax, when Tuiasosopo admitted it to him."




This past Wednesday, huh? But then Manti says he knew way back on December 6th when "Lennay" called him. He also said he held back telling till around 12/26 for the sake of the team. Now it's he wasn't sure till Tuiasosopo tweeted this Wednesday. What the hell?! Sounds a little like too much layering on of The Sad Gullibles.

I'm now officially done with this story of 3 people (not one lonely girl/guy, but 3 people!) wasting their time to dupe some college kid for whatever kind of gain ... IF that's even true.

Thankfully, no one really died. Time to move on.

552 days ago
38.

LISA    

Will someone just please give this guy a lie detector test? This story gets more bizarre by the minute. I don't believe anyone at this point, I just want it to be over.

552 days ago
39.

DeeMaree    

Please let it be done. It's done now right? I think I have it. Hoax, he lied, more hoax, he lied, hoax died of cancer, he continued to lie, hoax rose from the dead, omg he realized he had been had, so-big surprise -he continue to lie. Deadspin breaks the story, then we are tortured-excuse-informed of the details. He continues to lie until today?? Got it.

552 days ago
40.

Mokie    

A football team should try and sign him up for one billion dollars in monoply money.

552 days ago
41.

speakMYbrain    

HE IS LYING

552 days ago
42.

Vince    

Why compound one lie with another?? You are busted..man up and deal with it .....

552 days ago
43.

CAT187    

I don't belive this fool for **** !!!i think he's gay !!!!!

552 days ago
44.

Toilethead    

I believe him. I think he was simply stupid.

552 days ago
45.

Latch Johnson    

***cough cough blush!t (clears throat)***

552 days ago
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