Ronaiah Tuiasosopo's cousin may have been the voice of Lennay Kekua

Contradicting earlier reports that Ronaiah Tuiasosopo was the voice Manti Te'o's fake girlfriend

By Prachi Gupta
January 25, 2013 9:30PM (UTC)
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Who was behind the voice of Lennay Kekua?

This question, which is just one of the many surrounding Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o and the discovery that his dead girlfriend was fake, has taken on a life of its own: After Deadspin uncovered the hoax last week, reporting that Manti Te'o's girlfriend never died of leukemia because she had never even existed, a man named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo came forward as the orchestrator of Kekua's social media account. A teary-eyed Ronaiah Tuiasosopo allegedly admitted to setting up the hoax, and on Wednesday, his lawyer told the Daily News that he was also the  man behind the voice of the woman, too. Then Manti Te'o released three voicemails from Kekua, aired Wednesday during an interview with ABC's Katie Couric; voicemails that sounded like they were left by a woman. Incredulous that Te'o could have been talking to a man for so long, he told Couric, “If he somehow made that voice, that’s incredible, that’s an incredible talent to do that. Especially every single day." On the same day, TMZ claimed to have confirmed that the voice was indeed that of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo's.


Now, however, the New York Post reports that Ronaiah Tuiasosopo was not the voice of Lennay Kekua. It was his cousin, a woman in her mid-twenties named Tino. “Tino is the girl that Manti has been talking to all these months,” a Tuiasosopo cousin told the Post. “There is no doubt whatsoever that it’s Tino," said a relative, referring to the voicemails. The Post writes that relatives described her as "vivacious and flirtatious, but very involved in the church." A relative said that she had come out of a relationship in 2011, but “She said it was OK, because she was doing better. She said she was talking to another person [and] he plays football for Notre Dame — number 5, Manti."

And so the saga continues.

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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Catfish Catfished Lennay Kekua Manti Te'o Manti Te'o Hoax Ronaiah Tuiasosopo