Manti Te'o dated real girlfriend shortly after death of fake girlfriend

TMZ claims the football star moved on before he knew his dead girlfriend wasn't real

By Prachi Gupta
January 19, 2013 3:40AM (UTC)
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Every real, actual girlfriend of disgraced Notre Dame football star Manti Te'o henceforth will be subject to more scrutiny (or at least more interest) after Deadspin exposed that the girlfriend of the linebacker, who died the same day as his grandmother, was not real. The fake woman, 22-year-old Lennay Kekua, had a fake death from fake leukemia in September; Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick implied that Te'o was catfished and fell for an online hoax.

But TMZ is now reporting that the devastated Te'o had a real girfriend just two months after Kekua's death, in November, which was still one month before Te'o allegedly learned that Kekua had never existed. TMZ's tips have been verified by a Twitter photo (although Kekua had a Twitter account, too) posted of the two, and the "dates are consistent with the story Manti is telling friends." The couple met under similar circumstances as Te'o met Kekua -- at a football game.


As New York Magazine notes, that "means it only took him about two months after what he believed to be the actual, tragic death of his girlfriend to start dating again. That seems like kind of a quick rebound, although we're not totally clear on the protocol for mourning a girlfriend you never met."

Sadly, TMZ reports that the real pair has broken up.

Now that Te'o is again single, maybe he should make an eHarmony profile:


Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at

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