Top Leaderboard, Site wide
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
March 1, 2017 Disclaimer: Please read.

Statements and opinions expressed in articles are those of the authors, not Truthdig. Truthdig takes no responsibility for such statements or opinions.

4 3 2 1

Truthdig Bazaar
One Minute to Midnight

One Minute to Midnight

By Michael Dobbs

Audition: A Memoir

Audition: A Memoir

By Barbara Walters

more items

A/V Booth
Email this item Print this item

Manti Te’o Gives First Interview After ‘Dead Girlfriend’ Hoax Revealed

Posted on Jan 19, 2013
Screenshot via

Manti Te’o, left, with Jeremy Schaap.

Manti Te’o had no involvement in the bizarre hoax involving his “dead girlfriend,” the Notre Dame star linebacker insisted to ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap in his first interview since the story broke Wednesday. In the off-camera interview conducted by Schaap on Friday night, Te’o said Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, a 22-year-old acquaintance from California, confessed to the prank and apologized.

Since the news was first reported, numerous theories have been posited about Te’o's possible involvement in the year’s “craziest” story, including that he concocted it to help his Heisman chances (he was a finalist last year), that he knew it was a prank and perpetuated it once he figured the whole thing out and that he invented the girlfriend because he’s gay.

Te’o claimed in the interview that he was fully hoaxed. He said he never met Lennay Kekua, the woman he had an online relationship with, and acknowledged that he “tailored” his stories to make it seem as though the pair met before she died in September. Deadspin reported Wednesday that Kekua never existed.

According to ESPN, Te’o also revealed:

• He tried to speak with Kekua via Skype and FaceTime on several occasions, but the person at the other end of the line was in what he called a “black box” and wasn’t seen.

• He planned to meet Kekua in person several times, including in Los Angeles and Hawaii, but on each occasion she called off the meeting or sent others in her place.

• The first time he met Tuiasosopo was in Los Angeles. Notre Dame beat USC there on Nov. 24.

• A group of people connected to Tuiasosopo showed up at the team hotel, after curfew, for the Discover BCS National Championship Game in Miami. Te’o said he knew they were at the hotel because the group took photos in the hotel lobby. Someone in the group called Te’o, saying they were waiting for Kekua to join them in the lobby and asking if she was with him. Te’o then hung up. Te’o said it affected his play in the game, where Notre Dame lost to Alabama 42-14.

Although the two-hour interview wasn’t taped on camera, you can watch Schaap’s detailed account—plus audio snippets—of it below:

—Posted by Tracy Bloom.



Square, Site wide

New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

Join the conversation

Load Comments
Right Top, Site wide - Care2
Right 3, Site wide - Exposure Dynamics
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
Right Internal Skyscraper, Site wide

Like Truthdig on Facebook