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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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608 days ago


Let it go people !

608 days ago

Bossy Potato    

Such a liar.

608 days ago


How can a college kid be so stupid? Too many hits in the head from football?

608 days ago


You people seem to forget. SEVERAL DAYS AFTER he supposedly got a call and found out that it was a hoax, he stood in front of everyone with those dumba@# leis around his neck and mumbled about losing his grandparents and HIS GIRLFRIEND TO CANCER. He did all of this to get a leg up on the other Heisman candidates. When he didn't win, he had to put the whole stupid story to bed. Hmmm...what bad luck his cyber gf had. First a horrible accident. Then leukemia. Then a funeral on the day of ND v. Michigan so this tool couldn't go. And NOT ONE reporter thought to check any of it.

608 days ago


Ok, either: 1) I'm a complete dumbass 2) I'm the biggest liar ever 3) I'm gay and can't admit it

608 days ago


So call me maybe

608 days ago


Who cares.. So tired of hearing about this loser..

608 days ago


TMZ latches onto the dumbest stories sometimes and then feels the need to write about it 10 times a day. Who gives a f*** about this? It's not even remotely interesting.

608 days ago


Saw on news where u could see a naked picture of Te'os girlfriend. When u click there its just a shower running with no one in it. Stupid but funny. Te o better get used to embarrassment. Being Te'od...being a complete fool.

608 days ago


Is this guy a Kardashian? Cos, I couldnt give a crap less.

608 days ago


I haven't met you, and this is crazy, but here's my number, so call me maybe.
Wait, you died months ago. *GASP* You've been buried alive! I'm coming for you baby!

608 days ago


I call BS! This is a college football player at a school with a 48% female population and carries on an online and phone "relationship" with a girl since 2009 and he didn't think anything was suspicious? What about his idiot teammate who said he met her? This guy has more issues than this!

608 days ago



608 days ago


All B.S. This turkey thought sympathy would lead to a Heisman. Sorry guy...

608 days ago
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