Manti Te’o – the college football superstar who fell for one of the most notorious catfishing scams to date – is opening up about his decision to go public with his version of the hoax… saying he attended a Jay Z concert helped him gain recognition.
Remember, the former Notre Dame linebacker reportedly lost his grandmother and girlfriend within hours of each other in 2012 … except the whole romance was based on a lie.
Turns out Te’o didn’t know his girlfriend — Lenny Kekuastudent at Stanford — didn’t really exist …despite previously stating that he had met her in person (Te’o adamantly denies being involved in the prank).
Manti — who was ultimately drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft — is now speaking out about it all … and says he was first inspired to go public with his story after attending a Jay-Z concert as a member of the New Orleans Saints in 2017.
“Cam Jordan with the Saints took several of our teammates to a Jay-Z concert,” Te’o said on “CBS Mornings.”
“And at this concert, Jay-Z opens by saying these words – ‘you can’t heal what you don’t reveal. “And maybe it was just random words for everyone, but for me, in that moment, it hit me like a ton of bricks.”
“In order for me to somehow heal from this, I needed to reveal it.”
Te’o said he’s vowed to share his side when the next opportunity comes – and in 2020, the documentary maker Tony Vainuku approached him.
This resulted in the “Untold: The Girlfriend Whon’t Exist” project, which was just released on Netflix on Tuesday.
Now Manti says he’s happily married… with a daughter and a son on the way.