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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!

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Throwback kid    

Any NFL team that considers drafting him should make him take an IQ test, I have a feeling Manti Teo may be mildly retarded. This guy kept saying in interviews that she was the love of his life but we find out that they never met. He is also the worst boyfriend in the world. He never met her for holidays, birthdays, when she was in the hospital for cancer, when she was in the hospital for the car accident, didn't attend her funeral or ever speak to her family, never visited her grave. Then went on and on in interviews like he spent every day with her. He is a drama queen who has emotional problems

551 days ago


Poor guy got catfished but sadly bc of who he is everyone found out. I think there should be some kind of law punishable by jail it a fine for doing something like this. It is a type fraud right?

551 days ago

Kim Davis    

He tried to Skype but she was in a black box? What? Was she like the boy that lived in a bubble? I don't get the black box. Can someone explain?

551 days ago

Jimny Cricket    

If this guy was Pinocchio, his nose would be touching the moon by now.

551 days ago

Norman the Mormon    

Deadspin posted an article showing examples where he's still using his fake dead GF in interviews after the date he alleges he learned of the hoax. So it's all bull****. The ship keeps springing leaks. Each hole they plug, another one pops open. Just come clean Manti, say you made it all up because you're gay. It'll feel better.

551 days ago


Geez, this guy just keeps lying and lying and lying. Credibility is zero. He only came clean after Deadspin broke the story. Why didn't he say something sooner? Why did he keep milking the dead girlfriend thing months after 'realizing' it was a hoax. Sorry, the whole cover up of the cover up is a total joke. He thinks we're all 6 year old kids and we'd believe his story of being pranked for months by someone who either his cousin, friend or boyfriend?

551 days ago


Why is this so important? Why do we care? Why is the media shoving this story down our throat. Is this to wag the tail so that we don't see what's happening with gun rights and free speech?

551 days ago


Obama is taking our guns and silencing our speech and this is the story on all the major networks. This is such a stupid, non-story. The press is bored, and doesn't want to even approach things like what's going on below...

551 days ago

Big Momma    

aboluely NO WAY this guy isn't lying, all for the final year of sports and a big contract with nfl. a"love of my life" girlfriend you have never met? haha, maybe you are stupid - NOT. timing of events says it all....you ARE a liar and pious Notre Dame will defend you.

551 days ago


sounds like a episode of catfish....

551 days ago

Throwback kid    

Manti Teo is so crazy that I wouldn't be surprised when he gets in the NFL he will get married then divorced from a fake wife, then he will be complaining to friends he is sending alimony payments to an ex wife that never existed. Teo is playing center field without a mit, he is a couple of cans short of a six pack

551 days ago


I gotta ask....who gives a **** if this guy has a girlfriend o nor or if she is dead or not??? Seriously...

551 days ago


He looks like a Salamander.....

551 days ago


He's obviously gay. It's 2013 Manti just come on out of the closet it's ok.

551 days ago


Teo is a good guy. Good heart. Niave, yes, but he is real. His faith is real. People like to go after him because its easy to compare him to most other people and think what a fool. But he doesn't walk on water, he just tries to do his best. I can't fault him for that. Good Luck Teo.

551 days ago
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