TMZ.com: Notre Dame linebacker Te’o explains “fake” dead girlfriend

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TMZ.com has reported Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o claims he’s a victim who fell for someone’s “sick joke,” and he’s really embarrassed over the scandal that’s erupted over his not-really-dead girlfriend.

In September, Te’o told the media his girlfriend, Lennay Kekua had passed away after a bout with cancer — hours after his grandmother passed away. The story helped catapult him to fame.

On Wednesday, January 16th, it was discovered Te’o’s girlfriend was a fiction — meaning Lennay never died, because she never lived!

Now the question is whether Te’o was in on the hoax.

According to TMZ.com, Te’o said: “This is incredibly embarrassing to talk about, but over an extended period of time, I developed an emotional relationship with a woman I met online. We maintained what I thought to be an authentic relationship by communicating frequently online and on the phone, and I grew to care deeply about her. 

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.

I am enormously grateful for the support of my family, friends and Notre Dame fans throughout this year. To think that I shared with them my happiness about my relationship and details that I thought to be true about her just makes me sick. I hope that people can understand how trying and confusing this whole experience has been.

In retrospect, I obviously should have been much more cautious. If anything good comes of this, I hope it is that others will be far more guarded when they engage with people online than I was.

Fortunately, I have many wonderful things in my life, and I’m looking forward to putting this painful experience behind me as I focus on preparing for the NFL Draft.”

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