At the peak of his career, Manti Te’o of the University of Notre Dame was dealing with a personal loss. He was upset enough that he explained his devastation to the press. He disclosed that his girlfriend from Stanford University, California, had leukemia and had died.
It was a hard blow for the athlete, as their romance was intense. He loved her so much that he would fall asleep on the phone, then talk and wake up with her (remotely) the next day. Not only had she been ill, but she had also survived a severe auto accident, during which he would call her hospital room and was told (by “relatives”) that her breathing increased at the sound of his voice.
Thousands gave their condolences to Te’o, and some even donated to leukemia charities after hearing his touching story of love and loss. Flash forward to the facts, Manti Te’os girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, never existed.
The question remained, just who was Lennay Kekua really and how had Manti fallen for her?
Manti Te’o Girlfriend: A Catfish Story
It’s tragic when anyone dies before they reach a ripe old age and football defenseman from Notre Dame, Manti Te’o, was brokenhearted. A devout Mormon, Te’o had college success in his chosen sport and even appeared on a Sport’s Illustrated cover.
However, he was more concerned with his gorgeous online girlfriend passed away from Leukemia. He posted online about his grief for the passing of Lennay Kekua, for whom he had cared for deeply.
It took a reporter from Deadspin looking into the tragedy a few months later, to uncover the truth. Lennay had never existed and certainly hadn’t died. The reality was that a man named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo had pretended to be a woman named Lennay.
It had all started in 2011 when Te’o was on Twitter. He received a message from a beautiful dark-haired woman named Lennay (screenname @lovalovaloveYOU). However, the photos on that Twitter account were stolen by Ronaiah, to create a fake account and trick Manti.
A woman living in Torrance, California has since been identified as the one the photos belonged to, who did not know how they were being misused and didn’t appreciate being used to personify a dead woman.
The shocker was that Manti knew Ronaiah in real life! They were acquaintances, friends who wished one another things like, “Happy Birthday” online. Ronaiah had assumed the identity of a woman, to act out and indulge in his crush on Manti.
Though Ronaiah reached out to Manti and eventually apologized for the hoax after he was caught, it’s safe to assume the two are not BFF’s now! Ronaiah has since appeared on the Dr. Phil show to explain his actions. He claims that much of his lying stemmed from his struggle to accept his sexual attraction to men.
Are you wondering if something similar is happening to you? If Manti had used Social Catfish reverse image search, he would have to know the truth a lot sooner! Visit Social Catfish and find out for sure!
While finding out the truth may not stop your heart from breaking, all of our clients report relief that they are no longer being tricked. Know who is really behind the scenes of your online love’s computer or cell phone.