Manti Te’o, a Notre Dame linebacker, is engulfed in the middle of an elaborate hoax, where the ‘love of his life’ Lennay Kekua, who reportedly died of Leukemia in Sept, doesn’t exist and the woman in the photos has even never met Manti.
Heisman Trophy runner-up Manti Te’o said he is the victim of an “elaborate hoax” and “sick joke” in a press conference on Jan. 16. In an investigation by Deadspin, it was revealed his supposed girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, never died of leukemia, and in fact, never even existed.
Media outlets and fans sympathized with Manti when his 72-year-old grandmother died in early September 2012, and then his girlfriend Lennay reportedly died just one day later. In his next game, Manti had a record 12 tackles and lead his team to a triumphant and inspiring 20-3 win. However, it was all a ruse.
Lennay Does Not Exist
Deadspin has confirmed that there was no record of Lennay’s death anywhere — no obituary and no mention in her college newspaper. That is because “Lennay” does not exist. The photos are of a 22-year-old woman from California who has never met Manti.
What’s most puzzling are the amount of reports that say that Manti and Lennay visited each other and fell deeply in love since their first meeting in 2009. Manti did not address that these reports were false.
Manti Te’o Issues A Statement
Instead, Manti issed a statement: “This is incredibly embarrassing to talk about, but over an extended period of time, I developed an emotional relationship with a woman I met online. We maintained what I thought to be an authentic relationship by communicating frequently online and on the phone, and I grew to care deeply about her. To realize that I was the victim of what was apparently someone’s sick joke and constant lies was, and is, painful and humiliating. In retrospect, I obviously should have been much more cautious. If anything good comes of this, I hope it is that others will be far more guarded when they engage with people online than I was.”
What do you think of this elaborate prank, HollywoodLifers?
— Dory Larrabee
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