Is Lennay Kekua a real person?

If you’re a fan of Netflix’s big true crime hits like The Tinder scammer or MTV’s catfishYou won’t want to miss the latest episode of the popular documentary series, UNSAID.

Titled UNTOLD: The friend who didn’t exist The two-part series explores the real-life catfishing story of Manti Te’o, a Samoan-Hawaiian football linebacker from Laie, Hawaii.

In September 2012, Te’o was struck by the heartbreaking news that his girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, and his grandmother had both died of cancer on the same day.

However, in January 2013, an investigation by sports blog Deadspin claimed Kekua never existed at all.

Is Lennay Kekua a real person? news week has everything you need to know.

manti te o
Manti Te’o in Untold: The Friend Who Didn’t Exist.

Is Lennay Kekua a real person?

No, technically Lennay Kekua is not a real person.

Kekua was a fake online identity created by Naya Tuiasosopo formerly known as Ronaiah as explained in the Netflix documentary. UNTOLD: The friend who didn’t exist. Tuiasosopo now identifies as a transgender woman and uses her/her pronouns.

appeal UntoldTuiasosopo explained that she was trying to figure out her own sexual identity, which led her to create Kekua’s fake account and only start relationships online.

She shared: “The Lennay profile wasn’t necessarily a way out, it was a way to something else. I knew for sure then that there was something inside me that just wanted to scream and say, ‘Why am I different? ‘ There have been a few online encounters where it’s been like, ‘This guy is cute. Let’s see where this goes.’ I knew what was right and what was wrong, but I loved being looked at that way too much. It was completely selfish, but it was what made me happy. It was what I wanted to make a reality.”

Naya Tuiasosopo
Naya Tuiasosopo in Untold: The Friend Who Didn’t Exist

Tuiasosopo explained that she and Te’o felt a bond through their Samoan heritage, beliefs and ties to football. Te’o played at the NFL level and Tuiasosopo’s father played at USC, her uncle played for the Rams and her cousin played for the Raiders, details The guard.

appeal UNSAID, Tuiasosopo reflected, “I just wanted to play football out of obedience, and I wanted to make my father happy. But I totally felt that fear. I didn’t have the guts to just be, you know what, that’s who I am. I firmly believed in my heart that as a born man I could never be who I wanted. It was then that I decided I could have that experience in a woman’s life, even if it was fake.”

In September 2012, Tuiasosopo faked Kekua’s death while attempting to end their online relationship. Te’o believed Kekua died of leukemia in the hospital after a long battle. He remembers UNSAIDShe fell asleep to her breath on the phone every night while waiting for a bone marrow transplant.

The sporting world was mesmerized and inspired by Te’o’s success in football despite the devastating loss of his girlfriend and grandmother. However, the sports media began to cast doubt after Te’o’s athletic career began to flourish, particularly after he was named one of the three finalists for the Heisman Trophy, an award given to college football’s most outstanding player.

Things took an interesting turn in December 2012 when Te’o received a call from Kekua, who claimed to be alive. He even received a photo of Kekua as proof.

However, it was soon revealed that the images used on Kekua’s profile belonged to Diane O’Meara, who is a real person. As Cinemaholic reports, O’Meara was unaware that her images were used by Tuiasosopo.

O’Meara is a former Tuiasosopo high school classmate and had no connection whatsoever with Te’o.

After the scandal broke, Tuiasosopo returned to American Samoa.

Te’o continued to play soccer and is now a free agent. In August 2020, he married his longtime girlfriend Jovi Nicole Engbino. Together they welcomed their daughter Hiro into the world on August 12, 2021.

UNTOLD: The friend who didn’t exist now streaming on Netflix. Is Lennay Kekua a real person?

Rick Schindler

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