Manti Te’o fans are familiar with the shocking hoax that made headlines early in his football career, while others may have just learned of the shocking scandal thanks to the Netflix documentary Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist. The two-part series details the athlete’s online relationship with a Stanford University student named Lennay Kekua, who turned out to be a fake persona created by Ronaiah Tuiasosopo.
Tuiasosopo used the disguise to develop a multi-year relationship with the former Notre Dame linebacker. In September 2012, Te’o received a call from Kekua’s “brother” claiming that she had died of leukemia. The elaborate scam was later exposed as a plan after Deadspin revealed that Tuiasosopo was behind the catfishing profile.
Te’o immediately denied any knowledge of the scam, and has maintained that stance over the years. However, as renewed interest in the chaotic debacle grows, some may be wondering what Te’o is up to now.
Manti Te’o is now married
Despite the elaborate banter facilitated by former teammate Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, Manti Te’o was able to continue his football career. He was drafted in the second round by the San Diego Chargers in 2013. “It’s a perfect scenario. My parents can come and watch, I can go home, it’s San Diego,” Te’o said at the time. “We’re all excited. I couldn’t be happier.” Te’o later moved to New Orleans for a two-year contract with the Saints, but was plagued by injuries during his time with the team. Te’o is now a free agent after his stint on the Chicago Bears practice team ended in January.
Personally, Te’o has put his messy romantic past behind him. In 2020, the athlete married his girlfriend Jovi Nicole after a four-year relationship. “Yesterday I got married to my best friend and the love of my life in an intimate beach ceremony,” she wrote on Instagram. “Although we didn’t envision our ceremony this way, it was perfect.” The couple later welcomed their first child — a daughter named Hiro — almost a year after their wedding, and they now have a son on the way.
Manti Te’o went to therapy after the incident
Manti Te’o revealed in Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist that he needed therapy after Ronaiah Tuiasosopo’s elaborate catfishing scheme rocked his career. And it appears the athlete is still on a healing path, as he recently told For The Win he’s still undergoing treatment. “I still go to a therapist,” Te’o told the publication. “I truly believe that mental health is one of the most important things, and the reason is this: I always preach about loving everyone, but to love others you have to love yourself first.”
Tuiasosopo also sought help after the incident. Tuiasosopo – who is now called Naya – revealed on “Dr. Phil” that he was “at peace” after the ordeal. “I had to face many demons and many truths myself,” Tuiasosopo said in 2014. “Today I am so much more peaceful. i know who i am I’m so thankful and thankful.”