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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."

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192 COMMENTS

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1.

Boomers    

I am so sick of hearing about this guy, It is probably the stupidest story ever posted.

607 days ago
2.

LISA    

And there you have it. He was duped, so when he found out, he lied to avoid being embarrassed. I don't know why 3 people would work together to do something like this to a seemingly nice guy. I hope TMZ can let this one go now ....

607 days ago
3.

manno211    

This Guy is a CLOWN, no way he wasn't part of it. Soon or later the truth will come out then BOOM GOES THE DYNAMIC!

607 days ago
4.

static    

This guy is so gullible if I were the GM of an NFL team I'd offer to pay him with Trident Layers.

607 days ago
5.

just because    

you f#%&^$# liar. i have never seen so many pacific islander asains conspire that hard....is one thing if he wasn't pacific islander but COME ON

607 days ago
6.

just because    

especially how the story goes in 1 big loop

607 days ago
7.

just because    

if he was black, white, native american, jewish, persian or dutch MAYBE i would believe he got duped

607 days ago
8.

Truth    

DUDE IS COMPLETED OVERRATED... SAW HI-LITE REELS THIS GUY IS A TERRIBLE OPEN FIELD TACKLER AN D CANNOT HIT HARD AT ALL. TOO SHORT TO BE A LINEBACKER AT ONLY 6'2" AND FAT AT 255 LBS. LOOK, DUDE IS NO JUNIOR SEAU, RAY LEWIS, OR EVEN JACK LAMBERT BACK IN THE DAY... HE OUTWEIGHS LAMBERT BY 35 LBS BUT PLAYS 10X AS WORSE. #TRUTH!!

607 days ago
9.

EarlyCuyler    

Who the F*** cares. This guy couldn't tackle a 12 year old girl.

607 days ago
10.

Truth    

DUDE IS COMPLETELY OVERRATED... SAW HI-LITE REELS. THIS GUY IS A TERRIBLE OPEN FIELD TACKLER AND CANNOT HIT HARD AT ALL. TOO SHORT TO BE A LINEBACKER AT ONLY 6'2" AND TOO FAT AT 255 LBS. LOOK, DUDE IS NO JUNIOR SEAU, RAY LEWIS, OR EVEN JACK LAMBERT BACK IN THE DAY... HE OUTWEIGHS LAMBERT BY 35 LBS BUT PLAYS 10X AS WORSE. 1ST ROUND MY ASS. NFL TEAMS - SAVE YOUR MONEY. #TRUTH!!

607 days ago
11.

Joan K    

He is a liar, period. He might be fooling a few people yet but sooner or later the whiole story will come out just like he should.

607 days ago
12.

wendy    

i wish a good scandal would happen so this story would go away.

607 days ago
13.

Kim    

Who cares! Rags won't stop on someone until they break them or destroy them. That's how they work.

607 days ago
14.

Celeb Gossip Addict    

I don't believe him. The story makes no sense.

607 days ago
15.

Georgie    

I really do hope people start to believe this kid and leave it at that. My son, who is 21 years old, has been in an online relationship for two years. He even purchased a ring from Amazon and shipped it to her for Christmas this past year and received some random gifts from her as well. He becomes very upset when we tell him it isn't real until he meets her in person. My son has only engaged in online relationships since he was 18 and my other childrenj tease him because they think its "pathetic". We have to face the fact that young people today are doing these things and they are taking these relationships seriously. in the case of my son, i totally think the person is not who she says she is. His last online relationship ended badly enough that he had to change his cell phone number and email address.

607 days ago
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