The truth about Manti Te’o’s wife Jovi Nicole

In 2013, American football player Manti Te’o made national headlines after it was revealed that his then-girlfriend, one Lennay Kekua, did not exist. An investigative report from Deadspin claimed that Kekua – who Te’o allegedly dated for several months until she died of leukemia in 2012 – was actually a fake persona created by Ronaiah “Naya” Tuiasosopo. (Tuiasosopo has since come out as a transgender woman).

The star athlete finally confirmed the allegations to ESPN, saying Tuiasosopo herself called him and confessed to the catfishing prank. He also maintained his innocence and explained that he had no role in the bizarre, elaborate hoax – but admitted to making up stories about his fake relationship to save himself from further embarrassment. “I knew being with someone I hadn’t met was crazy,” he said. “So I tailored my stories to make people think yes, he met her before she died. So people don’t think I’m a crazy guy.”

The explosive revelation proved to be a major stumbling block in Te’o’s fairytale career in sports, and by Metro nearly ruined his chance of entering the National Football League (NFL), though he was eventually drafted. A few years later, Te’o also found real love through his very real wife, Jovi Nicole Engbino, whom he married in August 2020 after almost five years of dating. Here’s what we know about them.

Manti Te’o’s wife is a fitness enthusiast and aspiring beautician

According to her Instagram profile, Manti Te’o’s wife, Jovi Nicole Engbino, is a fitness influencer. She’s also currently studying to become a registered nurse-injector, or a registered nurse “who specializes in providing aesthetic beauty services such as botox neurotoxin injections and dermal fillers,” per Nursing CE Central. She has admitted to getting both botox and lip fillers and previously worked at a prestigious medical spa in La Jolla in San Diego, California. She and Te’o currently reside in Utah.

The couple, who have been together since 2015 (per TMZ), got engaged in February 2020 in Aspen, Colorado. They then married on August 29 of the same year at a beach wedding in La Jolla, California. Both Engbino and Te’o announced the wonderful news to their fans on social media. “Yesterday I got to marry my best friend and the love of my life in an intimate beach ceremony. Although it wasn’t how we envisioned our ceremony, it was perfect,” Engbino wrote of their COVID-19-safe wedding. For his part, Te’o said, “I couldn’t give you the world, but I think I did better… I gave you my last name and it suits you, Mrs. Te’o.”

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Manti Te’o and his wife will soon be a family of four

In January 2021, former Notre Dame star Manti Te’o and his wife Jovi Nicole Engbino announced they were expecting their first child together. “The blessings continue. Forever grateful. Baby Te’o is coming this summer,” Te’o said in his post announcing his wife’s pregnancy. He and Engbino finally welcomed their daughter Hiro into the world on August 12, 2021. A year later, when Te’o appeared on CBS to promote the new Netflix documentary about his catfishing scandal, the footballer happily announced that he and his wife will soon be a family of four. “I am a loving husband. I have a great wife. I have a daughter and we have a son on the way,” he announced.

Speaking about his new documentary, Te’o said he was “extremely humbled” by the love and support he’s received since Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist was released on Netflix on Aug. 16 . He said he would like to dedicate the two-part series to everyone who has supported and stood up for him over the years, especially his family. “Thank you for your unwavering love and support. You have no idea what this has meant to me over the last 10 years,” he wrote. “Thank you for everything [the] lessons. Thanks for all the hard times. … Many thanks for everything. It was all meant for me.”