Who is Manti Te’o from The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist on Netflix, and where is he now?
He’s married and has a child!
Netflix has just released the latest episodes of critically-acclaimed series Untold, this time focusing on the story of Manti Te’o. His story is quite unbelievable, until you see him sit down with Netflix and tell it in full himself.
Manti Te’o was college football’s golden boy and could do no wrong, but when tragedy struck, the increased scrutiny of his online relationship caused a media maelstrom that threatened his future and legacy. Here’s everything you need to know about Manti Te’o, and where he is now.
Who is Manti Te’o from The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist on Netflix?
Manti Te’o was born on 26th January 1991, into a Hawaiian paradise. Before he became a household name, he summed up his life in just three words: Faith, family, football.
After much indecision about where he wanted to go to college and play football, Manti decided to let his faith show him where he was destined to go, and ended up playing at Notre Dam. Whilst there, in 2009, he became victim of one of the most elaborate catfishing cases ever.
Manti Te’o began chatting on Facebook to a girl he believed was called Lennay Kekua. She had plenty of pictures on her profile, seemed nothing but nice, and even members of his family recalled speaking to her before – so all looked well. But, Lennay wasn’t real, and Manti and her were soon in a very intense relationship, despite having never met. Back then, catfishing wasn’t a thing people knew of, the TV documentary Catfish wasn’t released until 2010.
Lennay was actually Ronaiah ‘Naya’ Tuiasosopo, who had struggled with her identity all her life, and found comfort in her online persona. Naya had always cut things off with the boys she spoke to online before it got serious, but with Manti felt a real friendship and connection she didn’t want to let go of.
Realising it was all getting quite deep, Naya messaged Manti saying it was a family member of Lennay’s and that she had been in a car accident. She later said Lennay had also been diagnosed with leukemia. In September 2012, Lennay “died” but this tragically was the same day Manti’s grandma actually did pass away.
The following January, sports website Deadspin reported that in fact, Manti’s girlfriend had never existed. Overnight, he went from a sporting hero to an online joke, and people questioned why he would lie – assuming he must have known it was fake all along.
Manti Te’o has a wife now, and the couple share one child together
Manti Te’o is aged 31 now, and in the Netflix documentary Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist, extends his best wishes to Naya, saying he has forgiven her and is forgiving himself, too.
Manti Te’o’s NFL career continued after college, and began with the San Diego Chargers. He played there for four years, and has also played with the New Orleans Saints, where he was for two years. In 2020, Manti signed to the Chicago Bears. He is currently a free agent, and has an estimated net worth of $3.5million. His most recent salary estimate was $132,000 per year.
Since the catfish scandal, Manti has found love with someone who definitely is real, and they’ve got married. He married Jovi Nicole Engbino in 2020, and the couple share a daughter, who recently turned one. Hiromi was born on August 12th, 2021. Sharing pictures of their beach wedding in California, Manti said: “I couldn’t give you the world but I think I did better…I gave you my last name and it looks good on you Mrs. Te’o.”
Jovi added in a separate post that they changed plans for their wedding because of the pandemic. She said: “I got to marry my best friend and the love of my life in an intimate beach ceremony❤️ Although this was not how we envisioned our ceremony, it was perfect. We will be having our reception and celebration when Temples and venues open back up so we can share this special occasion with our families and I couldn’t be more excited.”
Manti currently has just over 100k followers and is verified on Instagram. He describes himself as a “family man” and pretty much all of his pictures are of his wife and daughter. His handle is @mteo50.
Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops, quizzes and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook.