Notre Dame star faked online girlfriend who ‘died’ of leukemia

Manti Teo Lennay Kekua

A former Notre Dame football star whose story of triumph over tragedy inspired millions was exposed as a fraud Wednesday. Manti Te’o, the runner up for the Heisman trophy, told the media his girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, 22, and his grandmother died within hours of each other in September.

“I miss ‘em, but I know that I’ll see them again one day,” he told ESPN before Notre Dame was blown out by Alabama in the college football’s BCS National Championship in Miami on January 7.

The gifted linebacker became the face of the BCS title game as he spun his web of lies about Kekua. He made national headlines when he said his “girlfriend” suffered serious injuries in a car crash a month before she died of leukemia in Hawaii.

The national media — and in particular, the sports networks, tripped over themselves in their rush to uplift Te’o as a symbol of hope over adversity, or whatever.

Had the news organizations done their homework, they would have learned that Te’o's grandmother did in fact die in September, but there is no Lennay Kekua listed in Social Security records or anywhere else. That’s because she doesn’t exist anywhere — except online and inside Te’o's head.

Te’o’ — a pathological liar — now claims he is the innocent victim of an elaborate hoax, despite the fact that he told reporters he met Kekua and she was “the love of his life.” Te’o claimed he stayed on the phone with Kekua for 8 hours while she lay sleeping in her death bed.

In a sappy article for a South Bend, Indiana newspaper, a reporter described Te’o and Kekua’s fairy tale romance. How they met after a football game in Palo Alto, California, in 2009, and how they stared into each other’s eyes as love took hold of their heart strings.

“Lennay Kekua was a Stanford student and Cardinal football fan when the two exchanged glances, handshakes and phone numbers that fateful weekend three seasons ago,” the article said.

Even Te’o's father seemed to confirm her existence:

“They started out as just friends. Every once in a while, she would travel to Hawaii, and that happened to be the time Manti was home, so he would meet with her there. But within the last year, they became a couple.”

Strangely, after Kekua “died”, Te’o chose to play in the Orange Bowl rather than attend her funeral; because that’s what she would have wanted him to do, he claimed.

Teo’s web of lies unraveled in spectacular fashion when Deadspin magazine published an article exposing Te’o as a fraud.

Unlike the national news organizations who choose ratings over accuracy, Deadspin’s writers did their homework. They called funeral homes and a cancer hospital in Carson, California, where Te’o said Kekua went for cancer treatments.

Their search turned up nothing. They ultimately reached the conclusion that Te’o's fake girlfriend was an elaborate hoax — a ruse to wring sympathy out of the Heisman voters.

“Te’o's story that he is completely innocent in this does not really ring true to us,” Timothy Burke, who broke the story for Deaspin, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper Wednesday night.

“What do you do when you first want to know something, you Google it, right?” Burke said on CNN.

“There’s no evidence of her existing in any way, other than, you know, after she had allegedly died. And we thought that was a little weird.”

The search ended when Deadspin’s writers found the woman in the photo that Te’o claimed was his girlfriend. The woman is very much alive, but she has never met Te’o.

She does know a good friend of his, though.

The woman, whom Deadspin referred to as “Reba” to protect her identity, said she was contacted in September by a high school friend who asked her to take a photo holding up a sign. It was for a friend who was in a serious car accident, he said.

That photo later turned up in the profile of a Twitter account for a Lennay Kekua.

In a statement for ESPN, Te’o continued his pathetic lies:

“To realize that I was the victim of what was apparently someone’s sick joke and constant lies was, and is, painful and humiliating.

“It further pains me that the grief I felt and the sympathies expressed to me at the time of my grandmother’s death in September were in any way deepened by what I believed to be another significant loss in my life.”

On Wednesday, after the story exploded in headlines all over the world, Lennay Kekay came to life — in the form of a Twitter account that was previously connected to the man Deadspin believes is Te’o's homosexual lover.

A tweet sent from the @LennayKay Twitter account said: “.. a lot of truths and myths need to be addressed here, and they will be at noon PST tomorrow.”

Yeah, sure.

Photo: Mike Ehrmann / AFP / Getty Images



 


91 Responses to “Notre Dame star faked online girlfriend who ‘died’ of leukemia”

  1. 1
    free says:

    pathetic

  2. 2
    Bird says:

    Chile I just watched this story on Good Morning America and they didn’t even try to explore it in detail before they went into a full story about how people get duped by online romantic interest.

    What I need someone to tell me is if they boy ever said publicly that he never met this love of his life in person. If not, why? A Heisman candidate has a plethora of top quality booty being thrown at him on a daily basis. Why would he need to pursue a relationship with someone online that he has never seen in person. I won’t profess to know the whole story, but I got a funny feeling this nigra is full of shat.

  3. 3
    cheeks8683 says:

    So many questions…..

    Why would an all-star athlete have to look for a girlfriend online?

    Why didn’t ANYBODY check their sources before running the story? If his “girlfriend” really died the first thing to do is contact her friends and family?

    Why did he lie seeing as he is a recognized public figure?

    CATFISH!!!! People are taking this ish too freaking far!

    Morning all :wave:

  4. 4
    cheeks8683 says:

    More questions….

    So she suffered from injuries caused by acar wreck then died of cancer?!!!! Ummm….That just sounds made up….

    I “heard” that he thought up this make believe relationship because he is covering up the fact that he is gay….But I need to confirm my sources first :coffee:

    Annnnnd his family went along with it!!! Talking about ol’ girl visited them in Hawaii #weboflies

  5. 5
    Bootcampgirl says:

    I don’t want to read all that up top this morning :wail: I did hear a snippet about it this morning…

  6. 6
    Sandra Rose says:

    @ Bird, Teo and his boyfriend told so many lies with twists and turns in the story that it’s difficult to explain without going into great detail. Basically, he’s gay and he faked an online girlfriend. He even faked other accounts to interact with the girlfriend. He’s a classic pathological liar who craves attention. Watch how the lies continue for maximum exposure. :no:

  7. 7
    Milky says:

    :facepalm: @ this story if this was a black man they would have been figured out it was a hoax and put him all the way on blast!!

    :wave:
    free
    cheek
    bird

  8. 8
  9. 9
    MsB2u says:

    Morning all :waves:

  10. 10
    Sandra Rose says:

    @ Bird, I see you didn’t read my post. :coffee: He met her in person at a football game in 2009. Supposedly, that’s when they first met.

  11. 11
    Bootcampgirl says:

    Morning MsB :bye:

  12. 12
    Bootcampgirl says:

    @Bird, :tea: :rofl:

  13. 13

    You gotta watch folks who lie like this :tea:

  14. 14
    Sandra Rose says:

    cheeks8683 says:

    Why would an all-star athlete have to look for a girlfriend online?
    _______________

    He didn’t. He’s down low. He just made one up so people would stop asking him about a girlfriend. :coffee:

  15. 15
    FuturedocDonte says:

    He’s tryna play it like he’s been catfished. But in with u auntie I think he lying. Something about this whole thing just doesn’t ring true :nono:

  16. 16
    Sandra Rose says:

    cheeks8683 says:

    So she suffered from injuries caused by acar wreck then died of cancer?!!!! Ummm….That just sounds made up….
    __________________

    Exactly.

  17. 17
    Milky says:

    :hi:
    msb

  18. 18
    Milky says:

    :hi:
    future

  19. 19
    Milky says:

    :hi:
    Sandra

  20. 20

    Sandra Rose says:

    cheeks8683 says:
    Why would an all-star athlete have to look for a girlfriend online?
    _______________
    He didn’t. He’s down low. He just made one up so people would stop asking him about a girlfriend.
    _______________

    Jesus :tea: Downlow men SUCK !

  21. 21
    Sandra Rose says:

    FuturedocDonte says:

    He’s tryna play it like he’s been catfished.
    _______________

    True. One of his friends even tried to contact Nev of the Catfish show. When that failed, he came up with the leukemia story and killed her off. Pathetic bastard. :coffee:

  22. 22
    Sandra Rose says:

    Good morning Milky :hi: Good morning everyone :eggs:

  23. 23
    cheeks8683 says:

    What I need someone to tell me is if they boy ever said publicly that he never met this love of his life in person. If not, why? A Heisman candidate has a plethora of top quality booty being thrown at him on a daily basis. Why would he need to pursue a relationship with someone online that he has never seen in person. I won’t profess to know the whole story, but I got a funny feeling this nigra is full of shat.

    ________________________________________________________________

    After the game following his grandmother’s death he told reporters that his girlfriend had dies too…. When asked how they met, he said after a football game in 2009. So yes he actually verbally said that he met the girl face to face….Maybe there is soem truth to the gay rumor :think:

  24. 24
    Str8tUpMenace says:

    I heard about this this morning.

    How do you not attend your “girlfriend’s” funeral???? Especially when you claim she’s the love of your life???? GTFOH.

  25. 25
    Bootcampgirl says:

    @Jenie, :cosign: I think my ex was…

  26. 26
    Bootcampgirl says:

    Hey Sandra :waves:

  27. 27
    luVn_liFe... says:

    This story is Bizarre!
    Sandra I didnt hear or read anywhere that he ACTUALLY met her in Person.. :facepalm:

    Morning Roses,Thorns and DUDS :wave:

  28. 28
    cheeks8683 says:

    Hey Milky :danban:

  29. 29
    prynsexxx says:

    :ha: :sad:

  30. 30
    BigCityGirl says:

    I remember when I first heard the story….I BELIEVED HIM! I felt so bad for him….now I’m feeling some kind of way…YES…he’s gay….smdh

  31. 31
    Just Looking Don't Ask Me NOTHING says:

    What makes this story so special?

    Because he plays football? or that he plays for Notre Dame? or that he lied about being gay?

    People lie all day everything about even worse. Why are people acting like like this whole catfish phenomenon is something new. Folks been making up nonsense sense the beginning of time.

    Ohhh and Good Morning All :hi:

  32. 32
    prynsexxx says:

    Morning EVERYBODY! :hi:

  33. 33
    Sandra Rose says:

    @ cheeks8683: That’s the thing about sociopaths like Lance Armstrong and Manti Teo – they tell so many lies that they believe their own lies. They don’t understand why you don’t believe them, too. They just layer one lie on top of another until they find a lie that you will believe. Then they run with that one for maximum sympathy. Remember, they always play the victim. Watch out for men who tell you a sob story about a family member who died the first time you meet. :coffee:

  34. 34
    Sandra Rose says:

    Good morning @ Bootcampgirl :hi:

  35. 35
    Pickachu Tran says:

    :homoswitch: COME ON AND TWIRL OUT YOUR CLOSET TE’O

  36. 36
    Sandra Rose says:

    @ luVn_liFe I’ll wait until you read my post (including the LINK in my post) before I respond. :coffee:

  37. 37
    Unapologetic says:

    :hahaha: IT’S NEVA THAT SERIOUS!!

  38. 38
    prynsexxx says:

    Sandra Rose says:

    @ Bird, I see you didn’t read my post.
    _____________________________

    I didn’t read it either. When I read it online this morning, the sh!t was too confusing then. No disrespect to YOUR write-up, but all of THIS shyt is giving me bronchitis. I got my own complications to deal with. It all boils down to the nigga got CATFISHED and ended up with :egg: on his face; fried hard, scrambled, boiled, over easy, and sunnyside up. :rofl: :haha:

  39. 39
    Trendsetter says:

    Good Morning Auntie!!!!

    Good Morning Roses!

  40. 40
    luVn_liFe... says:

    :ashamed:
    YES SANDRA I JUST READ IT GOOD MOrnTing MaaM :eggs:

    I have a very hard time with his sexuality being in Question.WHO CARES!Its Nobodies Business wether this young man is gay or Not! Just like its Nobodies Biz how I screw my husband or my GF in MY BED,NO??

    FurtherMore if he had to go thru this Elaborate Scheme to hid his sexuality,What a shame. :no:

  41. 41
    Bigbadwolf says:

    Good morning all :hi:

    That’s messed up that he had to go to such extreme to hide his sexual orientation. He should’ve paid the chick like in Love don’t cost a thing, not try to kill her off.

  42. 42
    kingstonn says:

    i didn’t read it either. :shrug: :lol:

  43. 43
    Just Looking Don't Ask Me NOTHING says:

    Maybe he can write a best selling novel like James Frye. IMO the public loves liars. When someone does pour their heart out and tells the truth, no one wants to hear that. But a good lie….that’s what the people want. :coffee:

  44. 44
    Trendsetter says:

    Why is this even news…who cares?

  45. 45
    NaijaGal says:

    dude is pathological…a serial killer in the making…wow, just wow

  46. 46
    Yardgirl says:

    This is why I come here for the “real” story!! They were making it seem like HE was duped and it was a CATFISH thing!! :coffee:

    Thanks Miss Sandra!!

  47. 47
    prynsexxx says:

    Cali says:

    a good lie….that’s what the people want.
    ____________________________

    It gets the ppl going! :rofl:

  48. 48
    Just Looking Don't Ask Me NOTHING says:

    :waves: @Boot You think your ex was :homo: Please explain that one….

  49. 49
    Trendsetter says:

    Speaking of Catfish…finally caught the last two episodes…and all I can do is smh

  50. 50
    FuturedocDonte says:

    Morning everybody

    :offtopic: I never followed lance Armstrong or cycling but Oprah finnah dig in some behind

  51. 51
    Just Looking Don't Ask Me NOTHING says:

    Morning Pryn :rolleyes: :wink:

  52. 52
    luVn_liFe... says:

    @CharBee
    Your SO Right AbOut that! #43 Morning :hug:
    :wave:
    Trend
    JUSTLOOK
    Milky :kiss:
    KINGSTONN
    BigBadWOLF
    PrYnn
    Cheeks!!
    bOOtcampGIRL
    FREE
    BIRD!!
    JENie
    MSB

  53. 53

    Boot glad he ya ex :yes: Hell a couple of my exes could have been one . Thanking God for grace and mercy :pray: Thank god for deliverance

  54. 54
    prynsexxx says:

    Cali says:

    What makes this story so special?
    Because he plays football? or that he plays for Notre Dame?
    ______________________________________

    *ding ding ding* Notre Dame wants to save THE PROGRAM, it’s NEVER about the “players”.

  55. 55
    luVn_liFe... says:

    :happy: NaiJa hey MaaM

  56. 56
  57. 57
    Trendsetter says:

    Regarding Lance Armstrong…should we be mad at him for doping up or should we be mad at the ppl who didn’t catch it???

    Didn’t he get tested for doping?

    Now he such a bad person and a bully…

    I’m tired of hearing about Lance…

  58. 58
    jessibaby says:

    lol…..I had to google “CATFISHED “. Learned a new word :-)

    And where is the ‘boyfriend’ or where is he seen? He didn’t seem gay to me but maybe I missed something. I thought he along with his school was lying for support. He said he “stared into her eyes” now its all an “elaborate online hoax”. That’s some sociopath stuff right there.

    What kind of punishment can/will he receive?

  59. 59
    luVn_liFe... says:

    @SANDRAROSE . . .
    Can you PLZ delVe into Lebron Punching D.Wade in the FACE :tea:

  60. 60
    Trendsetter says:

    Luvn :hug:

  61. 61
    Just Looking Don't Ask Me NOTHING says:

    Morning Luvn 13 days left :woot: :hug:

  62. 62
    prynsexxx says:

    Cheeks

    When asked how they met, he said after a football game in 2009. So yes he actually verbally said that he met the girl face to face….
    ____________________________

    Lies told to reporters and fans after a big win football game. :tea:

  63. 63

    luVn_liFe… says:

    @SANDRAROSE . . .
    Can you PLZ delVe into Lebron Punching D.Wade in the FACE
    ______________

    :hahaha: when this happen

  64. 64
    WorkInProgress says:

    :hug: for LuVN Say what now @ Lebron Punching D.Wade in the FACE

  65. 65
    CheBell says:

    Whoa child you gots to be a special kind of crazy. Just tryna understand and unravel this story got me tired and he runnin round creating fake people, profiles, lying, keepin up wit the lies, killin fake people, back peddlin, front peddling…man who got time fo all that? He’s doing way to much. Guess football wasn’t keeping him busy enough.

  66. 66
    Breezy says:

    Morning ladies :wave:

    Why lie about being gay? Nobody cares about who u bang or who is banging you.

  67. 67
    amatrex says:

    So this whole fake girlfriend story was created to help Te’o stay in the closet? :thinking: If he’d been communicating with her online and over the phone for 3 years, that’s way before he ever became a Heisman trophy candidate–so I doubt it was soley to garner sympathy and more support win the Hesiman.

    Yeah, I’m starting to believe this guy is gay too. It will all eventually come out including Te’o's true sexuality.

  68. 68
    NaijaGal says:

    LUV N – :happy: hola mamacita

    *I never cared for Lance ever since he threw away his first wife when he became a celebrity…she stuck with that nigguh 1 ball and all, he got some shine and he tossed her the deuce*

  69. 69
    Bigbadwolf says:

    Can you PLZ delVe into Lebron Punching D.Wade in the FACE
    _________________________

    Hey luVn :waves: What? Did that really happen

  70. 70
    WorkInProgress says:

    Why lie about being gay? Nobody cares about who u bang or who is banging you.

    ………..
    maybe is family is super uber religious and he didnt want to shame them :shrug: but then again they cosigned his lie. :stupes: this story is all kinda cray cray.

  71. 71
    cheeks8683 says:

    @ cheeks8683: That’s the thing about sociopaths like Lance Armstrong and Manti Teo – they tell so many lies that they believe their own lies. They don’t understand why you don’t believe them, too. They just layer one lie on top of another until they find a lie that you will believe. Then they run with that one for maximum sympathy. Remember, they always play the victim. Watch out for men who tell you a sob story about a family member who died the first time you meet.
    ________________________________________________________________

    So true and they will try to shift the blame to anybody else if given the opportunity. Someone mentioned “Catfish” and he ran with it trying to say he is the one that was duped. How can you claim to be duped if you said that you actually met the person? Wow….Just wow…

  72. 72
    libra80sbaby says:

    See…this chit I can’t deal with this early. :kona:

  73. 73
    KyCakes says:

    The national media — and in particular, the sports networks, tripped over themselves in their rush to uplift Te’o as a symbol of hope over adversity
    ———————————————————————
    First Lance, now this fool…

    y’all gon’ learn tuh-day!

    Moanin’ Ery’ones :hi:

  74. 74
    libra80sbaby says:

    Bigbadwolf says:

    Can you PLZ delVe into Lebron Punching D.Wade in the FACE

    ————————————————————-
    When that chit happened??? :popcorn:

  75. 75
    Just Looking Don't Ask Me NOTHING says:

    @Trendsetter – Okay he lied lied, but in order for performance enhancement drug to work for him the way it did, he had to physically fit to even get to that level.

    If think it helped him get over the hump. I inject Epogen bi-weekly for medical purposes. I ain’t never felt like cycling 50 miles. :coffee:

  76. 76
    Bigbadwolf says:

    Why lie about being gay? Nobody cares about who u bang or who is banging you.
    ______________
    I can believe it. There are so many people coming out these days, but you don’t just see athlete’s coming out. You don’t expect a 250 lb linebacker to be backing it up. They still have to take showers with these men and be around them when nobody’s watching. The still go by the don’t ask don’t tell policy

  77. 77
    luVn_liFe... says:

    Supposedly Lebron Swung on D.Wade in the Locker Room lastnite

  78. 78
    NaijaGal says:

    are folks really running with this gay chit? ummm his folks even said they met the chick…it’s a lie that exploded in his face…period…pathological ass

  79. 79
    KyCakes says:

    and he’s :gay: ?

    Dude :no:

  80. 80
    KyCakes says:

    Naija :hug:

    Imma shake it for you, mami :shakebutt:

  81. 81
    prynsexxx says:

    :newpost: is up

  82. 82
    cheeks8683 says:

    maybe is family is super uber religious and he didnt want to shame them but then again they cosigned his lie. :stupes: this story is all kinda cray cray.
    _____________________________________________________________

    He is a Catholic Mormon….

  83. 83
    KyCakes says:

    I wonder if Manti Te’o's fictional girlfriend dated any other players on Notre Dame’s fictional defense?

  84. 84
    NaijaGal says:

    KYCAKES – ass so fat I look back at it…keep shaking :hug: morning chica

  85. 85
    Milky says:

    Hello:
    luvn :kiss:
    just looking
    libra
    kycakes
    wip
    bigbad
    amatrex
    breezy
    pryn :hug:
    chebell
    trend
    jessebaby
    kingstonn
    yardgirl

    and anyone else i may be forgetting! Happy Friday Eve!!

  86. 86
    WorkInProgress says:

    :hi: Milky

    LuVn they whipped Golden States’ azz lastnight so I doubt it’s about game performance. Maybe it was a lover’s spat. Dwade did say they fight like a married couple sometimes.

  87. 87
    Bird says:

    Sandra Rose says:

    @ Bird, I see you didn’t read my post. He met her in person at a football game in 2009. Supposedly, that’s when they first met.
    **********************

    Yup I posted my comment based on the GMA half story and what TMZ posted last night. Unlike GMA TMZ thinks he was in on the scheme as well.

  88. 88
    Who Dat says:

    He lied about this chick to deflect the fact that he is gay…BECAUSE aint chall see “The Game” episode with the puppet and the big azz gay dude who tried to get some of Malik? This dude KNOW as a player for a top team he is going NFL. HE will NOT be welcomed to the league with open arms if he comes out. And to avoid being asked about a woman he did this. B/c I am focused on my career is only gonna fly but for so long.

  89. 89
    Unshakable says:

    @the topic,

    Why can’t he just come out and say he’s gay (if he is)? He doesn’t owe anybody an explanation for his personal life, but why the “I have to hide who/what I am” facade? If he comes out, doesn’t he know he will have the support of the GBLTQ and gay mafia? They take care of their own. :yes:

  90. 90
    BayMami_de4 says:

    wow! I can’t think of a football player who is out….hmmmm

  91. 91
    SnootyPooty says:

    A lie doesn’t care who tells it along as it gets told. Scratch a liar find a thief

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