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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
121.

JOJO    

No Way!!!

606 days ago
122.

Lisa    

I'm with nonsense

606 days ago
123.

OS2Guy    

If anyone believes this guy then you're an idiot. No one is THAT stupid. He saw a chance, an opportunity, to gain the spotlight and he took it - plain and simple. And he's been caught lying. The Football League should throw him out of the game. We're TIRED of sports figures cheating and lying. He's no better than Lance Armstrong.

606 days ago
124.

OS2Guy    

This guy is an idiot - he has to be. And he's lying. You simply cannot be so stupid that you can fake an online relationship for two years, claim she is the "love of my life" and yet never met her. No one believes this guy and if you are reading this and telling yourself he was duped then it is YOU who is being duped. The Football League should dump this guy el pronto. Throw him out of sports. We're so tired of lying cheating athletes - he makes the entire AFL/NFL a laughing joke.

606 days ago
125.

dathan    

I have some timeshares I want to sell to this nut-job

606 days ago
126.

IceGypsy    

This story is getting old...who cares. So the guy hooked up with some chick/guy/monkey over the net and they turned out to be fake.. so what. time to move on.

606 days ago
127.

WreckingDoll    

Which one of your villages is missing its idiot?

606 days ago
128.

ROTTIE    

What is this long as sht about? A mthfukr not having any common sense?

606 days ago
129.

Ossie    

Who cares about this guy..... The media is making a big **** of nothing. A nobody....

606 days ago
130.

Dr. Cornelia J. Dogbarker PhD    

The reason this story is so confusing is because most of us can't relate to someone so incredibly stupid like this guy. Next thing you know, he'll come up with a fake internet name and avatar and act like he's a female therapist for humorous purposes.

606 days ago
131.

4reallikecomon    

Im tired of seeing this dude maaann!!

606 days ago
132.

KanyeWest    

This story is so boring

606 days ago
133.

Lola    

Who is this guy and why is the story all over TMZ? It's not even a good story.

605 days ago
134.

Yariman    

omg, shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up

605 days ago
135.

HH    

This story is so stupid, and so who cares..... it makes the Kardashians interesting by comparison.

605 days ago
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