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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
76.

zombie    

He and Armstrong should hang out, consummate liars that they are.

453 days ago
77.

jak    

He is young, he was duped. To say he should have known better is hindsight talking. There are a lot of people, much more experience with life, who have had similar experiences with online imposters. It is time to move on and let this kid go back to his life without the ridicule.

453 days ago
78.

Marc    

You guys should keep writing these confusing masterpieces of failed grammar. The subject matter is highly relevant and not intrusive. Now let's wait and see what happens to the buffoons of TMZ. Your move karma.

453 days ago
79.

TH    

Is the twit at 1/16/13 1:44pm too long??? 140 characters or less right??

453 days ago
80.

TH    

Is the twit at 1/16/13 1:44pm too long??? 140 characters or less??

453 days ago
81.

EasilyHard    

This story stinx like fertilizer

453 days ago
82.

TheTruthIs    

L.A. Casting Directors will begin auditions for a new Lifetime movie, “My Dead Girlfriend” on Monday. The line of invisible wannabes is expected to stretch from Sunset all the way to Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs. Locals should expect long, invisible traffic jams!

453 days ago
83.

Home Skillet    

I think Manti realized that the cat was going to get out of the bag once the NFL started vetting him in preparation for eventually being drafted, and interviewing all of his "associates." It would come to light that his GF never existed quickly during that process, so he's taken a defensive measure by exposing the story first himself. Just a hunch.

453 days ago
84.

chaozz    

TMZ beating another worthless story to death.

453 days ago
85.

verlinda    

Unless he murdered someone I am tired of the BS. I think he should have a mental evaluation.....now

453 days ago
86.

FlamingoNut    

Why the hell is TMZ getting such a hard on over this loser?

453 days ago
87.

Edith    

Stupid!!!!

453 days ago
88.

Kelly    

Why not just say "Mante Te'o is a f'ing liar" and leave it at that!? I think that about sums it up. Just a suggestion.

453 days ago
89.

FunMe    

What a bunch of crap. He is LYING. Guy is probably gay and went along so people think he is dating someone. I hope he is exposed and this story finally dies so that he sees the consequences of LYING.

Seriously, this actually keeps digging himself a deeper whole. Reminds me of Lindsay Lohan. Hey, this closeted gay probably does DRUGS, too.

Wait a second! Athletes don't do drugs. Then I remembered Lance. Never mind. This guy is doing drugs to LIE to hide the fact that he is GAY!

453 days ago
90.

Ben    

Why does TMZ latch onto all the boring stuff??

453 days ago
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