Manti Teo watched the new Netflix documentary Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist at his Utah home with his family last Saturday. The movie, which came out to the public on Tuesday, is about a catfishing scandal that shook the United States almost ten years ago.
Manti Teo was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy during his senior year at Notre Dame. He led Notre Dame to the national championship game after dealing with the deaths of both his grandmother and his girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, in September 2012.
One problem: Kekua did not exist. Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, who goes by the name Naya, made an online persona as Kekua and started dating T’eo. In December of that year, T’eo found out about the hoax. After Alabama beat Notre Dame 42–14 in the championship game in January 2013, Deadspin broke the news in an explosive investigation.
Manti Teo on Netflix’s Untold Documentary
In the movie, Tuiasosopo, who now calls herself a transgender woman, talks about how she lied. Teo talks about how the shame made him feel anxious after he joined the NFL. Manti Teo cried a lot when the movie showed the best parts of his time at Notre Dame before everything went wrong.
— NFL Rumors (@nflrums) August 18, 2022
In a Zoom interview with TIME on Wednesday, Teo, who was wearing a white Notre Dame zip-up jacket, said, “Remembering those years and being who I was at the time, the people who were around me, the love and support, it was definitely an emotional experience.” “It helped me feel better.”
On August 17, Netflix said that Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist was their No. 2 movie. Teo told TIME what he had learned from the documentary, what his biggest regret was, and what he thought the future might hold.
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Jessa Martin is the author of Nogmagazine, A professional in writing by day, and novelist by night, she received her bachelor of arts in film from Howard University and her master of arts in media studies from the New School. A Brooklyn native, she is a lover of naps, cookie dough, and beaches, currently residing in the borough she loves, most likely multitasking.