Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, Alleged Manti Te’o Girlfriend Hoaxer, Auditioned for The Voice

Is anybody following the story that Deadspin broke, about Notre Dame linebacker, Manti Te’o’s fake girlfriend? The young sports star’s inspirational story of a girlfriend, who died of leukemia on the same day his grandmother died (after previously overcoming injuries from a car accident!) just as the fighting Irish finished an undefeated season, was revealed to be a hoax.

His friend, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, who appears to have been in on the hoax (sorry, but I think Te’o was in on it too) has auditioned for the upcoming season of  The Voice, with a story about his own car accident. Via US Weekly

But this is not the first sad story Tuiasosopo has reportedly engineered. A source tells Us Weekly that the aspiring singer spun quite a tale for the producers of NBC’s The Voice, too — when he auditioned to be a contestant on the upcoming season.

“He had this insane sob story before [he sang],” an insider reveals to Us. “It would make for great TV.”

According to the source, Tuiasosopo told producers he and his cousins started a Christian band together and were on their way to perform at a youth conference in Nevada when they got into a “massive” car accident. He claimed a truck crashed into their vehicle, sending them flip-flopping all over the freeway. He also said doctors thought one of them might have been brain-dead, but miraculously, everyone was fine.

An insider adds that Tuaisosopo “passed a background check and psych evaluation,” which is standard for all reality TV show contestants. “Nothing came up, no suspicious behavior,” the source says. However, in light of what people now know about the Manti Te’o death hoax, “people now think the sob story is fake.”


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  • Bug Menot

    The Manti Te’o story shows the sad state of the news media – at least the sports media – in this country.

  • HermeticallySealed

    There is so much in this situation that is so odd.  

  • Amy Beth

    I had heard (and of course you can’t believe everything you hear!) that he DID have a car accident and that was the basis for the fake GF’s story. Basically, he took what happened to him and said it happened to the imaginary girl.

  • Sarah Dillon

    Also, here’s an article from SBNation [another sports blog] saying his audition results [SPOILER]

  • ZsusK

    Compulsive liars are a whole breed unto themselves. There is one in my family, and it never ceases to amaze how easily and quickly she creates stories and how, when challenged, she keeps spinning the web without breaking a sweat. It’s almost as if she doesn’t know she is lying and believes her own “truths.” 

    This whole thing is an example of how a liar works. They often get other people involved and tangle them in the web before they have a chance to think of the consequences. 

  • Bug Menot

    I don’t think Te’o is a compulsive liar. The “relationship” began three years ago so the story wasn’t created to benefit his Heisman hopes. The most credible explanation is he’s in the closet and created a cover story to explain his lack of a relationship because he’s Mormon and student at a Catholic university. Then as he began to receive national media attention for his play on the field they made the decision to kill her off his non-existent girlfriend.

  • waitingforthe1

    I had heard (and of course you can’t believe everything you hear!) that he DID have a car accident and that was the basis for the fake GF’s story. Basically, he took what happened to him and said it happened to the imaginary girl.

    The imaginary GF died of cancer, not in a car accident. 

    Within the idol fandom I’ve seen fake illness stories passed around on twitter and blogs in an attempt to get the attention of someone, Adam in particular has had more than a few to the point that when real tragedy strikes the fandom is very leery of believing it. 

    my sister was duped by someone online for 8 months.  She spoke to this guy on the phone, exchanged photos, spoke to his family, everything except met in person.  Turned out it wasn’t even a man, it was a woman who used a voice modulator to sound male and pretended to be family and friends too.  It was crazy the lengths this person went too.  She was clearly not all there.  She even told my sister her mother was dying of cancer when she found out our mother died of cancer.   

  • ZsusK

    Not Te’o. His friend, Ronaiah. He doesn’t seem to have any issues with lying.

  • Bug Menot

    The imaginary girlfriend had a car accident and afterwards had some bad days in the hospital where she was experiencing lower back pain. That led to additional tests wherein they discovered she had Leukemia.

  • Amy Beth

    The imaginary GF had a pretty rough (non) life. She barely survived a car crash, only to be told she had cancer and died within a few months.

  • Bug Menot

    The other possibility:

    1) Te’o duped into a fake virtual relationship.

    2) Te’o upset by virtual girlfriend’s “death,” tells people he’s upset.

    3) With Heisman now in play, publicity swells over the “girlfriend” dying angle. Te’o plays along and exaggerates depth of relationship because of the the promise of huge rewards in the near future.

    4) Te’o finds out it was all a hoax. Now he’s embarrassed — and standing on the national stage– so he just keeps pretending it was real and hoping all this goes away.

    5) Hoax revealed to his supreme embarrassment.

  • hayes

    Sorry Lance Armstrong, Manti Te’o’s story is much more interesting.

  • CB40

    This has been one of the most entertaining stories I’ve ever read. It’s just incredibly elaborate and props to Deadspin for breaking this and writing a great investigative piece.

  • Bug Menot

    ESPN reportedly just aired an interview with two people who were mocking the relationship as a hoax in December.

    One said Ronaiah did the same thing to his cousin a few years ago using the same name and pics.

    The other said Ronaiah confessed to her on the phone that he orchestrated the whole thing and that two of his cousins impersonated Lennay on the phone. She said Ronaiah said
    Te’o was an innocent victim.

  • tripp_ncwy

    TMZ continues to add fuel to the Teo fire.

    Manti Te’o Rebounded w/ ACTUAL Girl After Fake GF ‘Died’

    “We’re told Alexandra and Manti dated for nearly 2 months, but broke up recently. ”

  • bridgette12

    Is this the same “non” girlfriend, in between the time that she had the car accident and died of leukemia, that supposedly spent some time in Hawaii with his “real” family?

  • girlygirltoo

    This is one of the weirdest stories I’ve heard about, and I’ve heard some pretty strange stories. I wonder if The Voice investigated this guy’s sob story, or would have just run with it

  • Miz

    This whole story is so bizarre that I doubt we’ll ever hear the truth.

  • bridgette12

    Poor Te’o, probably so overwhelmed with grief, that he betrayed his fake girlfriend by getting involved with real girl so soon after her dying which was fake because she was fake.

  • Amy Beth

    The story said they ran a standard background check and psych evaluation. I doubt they asked him for newspaper clippings. OTOH, if he went further in the competition, they might have asked for something to include in his b-roll.

  • Jenny Williams

    This has to be one of 2013’s most awesome stories yet. There’s even a meme that’s come out of this. Te’oing .

  • Leandro

    According to the  link posted above ( I think they didn’t need to investigate, since nobody turned the chair for him. Probably they won’t even show his audition now. Good thing about TV is that you can’t advance based only on a sob story and they don’t have to experience the embarassment that the AGT’s producers experienced last year with Timothy Poe

  • Xentusk

    props to Deadspin for breaking this and writing a great investigative piece.

    That’s just another layer to this whole bizarre thing though, not only the genesis of the fabrication…that other, ‘bigger’ news organizations and media didn’t do the basics of journalism to fact check any of his story to begin with?  I haven’t followed the situation, but apparently this story of loss and inspiration has been written about and discussed many many many times, and  no one thought to contact the ‘GF’s’ family or friends to get comments or their side of this?  What the ‘GF’s’ family thought of their ‘loving’ relationship? 

    How was this whole scenario allowed to get even as far as it did for so long without anyone ‘fact checking’, or did they decide that he was such an inspirational kid that his word was good enough?


    (That doesn’t even start getting into this whole ‘Catfishing’ thing that has been apparently going on for awhile) :P

  • anonoymous

    I’m calling it now – Manti Te’o  probably created this whole thing to cover up being gay. This fake girlfriend story has all the markings of a sexuality cover up.

    I could be wrong but it’s not outside the realm of possibility that a gay football player at a catholic university would cover up his sexuality to avoid raising ire of people. I’m not saying this is definitely what happened, but I am saying i would not be surprised at all if it turns out this guy is gay. 
    And I 100% agree this story is more interesting than Lance Armstrong’s self-destruction tale.

  • bridgette12

    I just don’t understand how can you have a girlfriend and don’t ever go meet her. You have holidays, spring break, weekends where you have the time and he claims he never met the love of his life, whom he would spend eight hours a day on the phone listening to her breathe. Both he and her family claimed she would come to Hawaii and visited them. Now he wants to claim he never met her in person and he’s the innocent victim of a hoax. I have never heard so much lying by so many real and fake people in my life.

  • HermeticallySealed

    Well, see here’s the thing, he did claim to meet her (as did his father)  in the past, as well as ‘talked’ to her on the phone.  Kind of odd for him to claim to never have met her, after claiming in the past that he did.

  • IdolyEverAfter

    But the fake girlfriend did supposedly have this big car accident, and right after was diagnosed with leukemia.  Or something like that.  There is a car accident in the story.

    It’s scary how many freaks there are out there who just make up stories to take advantage of people!

  • IdolyEverAfter

    I’ve been saying I can’t wait until the movie comes out, then maybe we’ll know the “real” story! LOL

  • Robert

    This story is just so strange.

    I agree with MJ that Te’o is at least in some part involved with this, others can come out with their cousin was duped by the same guy and that they think that Manti is innocent in all of this.

    But it is a fact that Manti said he met the girl and his dad clamimed that the girl came to Hawaii to see Manti, which are both clearly lies and until Manti answers those questions I have to believe he got on board with this at some point.

  • Maha

     I agree! I read the entire piece and am impressed by the investigative journalism.

  • mjsbigblog

    THIS is what makes Te’o’s story totally fishy….

  • Xentusk

    Even more confusing is I heard that he told a story of their eyes meeting after a game against Stanford.  Now he’s saying they never met?

    The supposed GF is said to have been a Student at Stanford, which makes it a head scratcher that no one covering or writing about the story, thought to check there to even find out anything about her…. :P
    (Apparently, a picture of the GF, is an actual student at Stanford, but not Manti’s GF)

  • Stooch

    Manti should have got engaged to her, a cubic zarconia would have been appropriate :P

  • chillj

    Sports personalities keep turning up with clay feet.  Perhaps we need to dial down the hero worship.

  • Stooch

    Logically I know it’s a lie, but I can’t believe a person could be that stupid to think you could get away with something like this at Notre Dame.  It’s not like it some small school nobody cares about, the football program is followed by the National sports media

  • girlygirltoo

    If you read the interview transcript with Te’o that Sports Illustrated has just posted (this was the interview that was the main source for the story that SI ran last fall) you’ll see that they actually tried to do some fact checking before publishing the original article, although the interviewer was reluctant to push Te’o for many specifics on how they met, since the girl has supposedly just died.

    Te’o is pretty specific about his relationship with this fake GF in that interview, which makes all his backtracking now just really fishy.

    According to several of his teammates, he likes attention, so that could account to at least part of the why he continued to perpetuate the story after he allegedly discovered it was a hoax (I’m of the opinion he was in on the hoax from the start, but if we give him the benefit of the doubt and say he wasn’t, he still lied about this so-called relationship after the date in December when he’s now claiming to have first discovered it was a hoax)

  • bridgette12

    That’s Te’o biggest problem is that he gave specifics of his relationship with the fake dead girlfriend, that gave you the impression that they were a modern day romeo and juliet, except he didn’t die and she wasn’t  real enough to die.   

  • bridgette12

    The thing that drives me nuts, is he wants us to believe that when she was sick, battling leukemia, on her deathbed that he didn’t rush to her side. I don’t know about anyone else, I would be by my dog’s side if they were putting him to sleep, I sure in hell would be there  with the “love of my life” as he drew his last breathe. 

  • pj

    I see a few possible scenarios.

    1) he was in on from the start; I can’t imagine, though, why he would start it years before he wanted to win the Heisman? Or even had an inkling there was a chance?  UNLESS, he was using her as a beard (Football, Morman, Catholic – not gay friendly institutions) to avoid questions on lack of girlfriend.  Otherwise, why not just date someone on campus. Surely, as a ND football star, that shouldn’t be a problem.

    2) his “friend” concocted the ruse and he really is that dumb. Maybe he embellished the meeting of the girlfriend because he enjoyed the attention or was embarrassed that it was a completely online relationship.  Once he realized it was a hoax, maybe he thought it would all go away because she was “dead.”  Perhaps the “friend” wanted to bring him down because he too played football, but his college career didn’t happen.

    Either way, it is way more interesting than LA  for sure.

    Oh, and ND is not undefeated.  Roll Tide! :-)

  • steph6449

    I only skimmed an article on this yesterday, it was pretty bizarre. 

    The father’s involvement and direct comments in support of the “gf” (as if he knew her) raised a lot of questions / red flags IMO.

  • bridgette12

    According to what Notre Dame’s AD said, they hired a independent investigative firm who investigated the situation and it showed that Te’o was the victim of a cruel hoax. But the strange thing about this, when a reporter asked if they can see the report, he said no, they couldn’t do that.

  • fuzzywuzzy

    “Either way, it is way more interesting than LA  for sure.”

    My interest in the LA interview ended after the first few minutes, after he admitted to using performance enhancing drugs during all of his Tour de France wins. I’m not interested in hearing any excuses, explanations or any more lies from someone like him (he apparently lied during his interview with Oprah, big surprise).

  • steph6449

    Maybe they did, but why talk in the media about it so definitely? Let the player or his rep tell their own story IMO, and (if anything) just make vague comments of sympathy or wanting the truth to come out.

    If it turns out any university investigations were wrong or relied on information that may not prove to be valid, then the university is looking foolish as well as Te’o.  Short of pulling phone and social media records, I’m not sure exactly how they could definitively know with zero doubt that Te’o was an innocent dupe here.

    For that matter, I wonder about a university hiring an investigator on one of their own students. Using tuition money? Donations from friends of the football program?

  • pj

    Well, there’s obviously something they don’t want to come to light. I really think it’s his sexuality.  Linebackers don’t win heisman’s very often, so the idea that he began the faux story for that reason 3 years before  just doesn’t wash with me. It could be that he was both a victim and part of the hoax by perpetuating it.  I bet it all comes out in the end.

  • bridgette12

    I personally wouldn’t have put my neck on the line for him. They did say they wouldn’t be making any statements about the situation, they were expecting Te’o to have a press conference and explain what happened. But that hasn’t happened yet and the longer he delays, the more people thinks he’s guilty.

  • Pippygirl

    Guilty of what exactly? He didn’t profit in any way did he? Of lying about something that really isn’t anybody’s business. Frankly I’m not sure why anyone cares.

  • bridgette12

    If he is gay, he has a tough road ahead of him, because he’s a Morman and a football player heading to the pros. I don’t think he is, I just think he has this need for attention and got addicted to being in the spotlight, and his lies just got out of control. I don’t know if we will ever get the truth, because it seems there’s a lot of people involved in this who have a problem telling the difference between truth and fiction. 

  • bridgette12

    Being a lying hypocrite is not a crime, even one who spent this past year giving interview after interview about meeting his soul mate at a Stanford football game and gazing into her beautiful eyes and instantly knew she was his everything. He later brought tears to everyone eyes when she was involved in a horrible accident and nearly died. But she bravely recovered and then she was struck down with Leukemia, going through horrible treatments, but doing her best to keep her and those around her spirts up. Te’o told of how he would be on the phone for eight hours straight listening to her breath. Then unfortuantely on the day that his “real grandmother died”, his beloved girlfriend no longer could continue her fight and passed away peacefully. With tears in his eyes, he told of how he sent white roses to her funeral, because that’s what she wanted.

    But your wrong about one thing, he did profit from this. These lies he told garnered him  lot of attention for him and his fake girlfriend. His character was part of the reason why he was expected to be a top 5 draft choice in the upcoming NFL draft, which will garner him a lot more money than those lower in the draft. With high draft choices, comes endorsement and before this story broke, his agent was already fielding endorsement deals from various companies. Now that this has happened, do you think companies are going to want this liar or guillible fool representing them and their products.

  • kmd23

    I just do not know what to make of this story. I think there still is much that is not known. It is very strangle but interesting. I never even knew about being “cat fished” until this Manti Te’o girlfriend hoax story came to light.

  • MV007

    I don’t think he has anything to worry about from a criminal standpoint but he may have some liability in a civil suit. There is a cause of action called intentional infliction of emotional distress and if Teo can show that he has suffered severe emotional distress because of this hoax then tuiasosopo could be in major trouble in terms of money damages.

  • steph6449

    If the university put him out there to tell his tearjerker story to raise alumni funds or anything like that, I could see some questions. 

    Maybe that could explain their getting the investigator, idk.

  • Lexie O’Neill

    Money was donated to charity and in sympathy…he may have received gifts, etc.

  • fuzzywuzzy

    Apparently, Ta’o have given an audio interview to ESPN and is still maintaining that he was the victim of a hoax.

  • bridgette12

    That kid has lied so much, he wouldn’t know the truth if it actually did bite his fake girlfriend on the ass.

  • potatorocks

    I think ta’o  is telling the truth.  Somehow he got attached to a girl he never met and knowing it would look bizarre to others, he made up meetings that never took place.  There are very naive people that get conned every day—Ronaiah Tuiasosopo didn’t seem to have any motive except his own amusement.  

  • bridgette12

    I especially believe the part where he said that when she was in the coma, he would listen to her breathe over the phone for hours.

  • potatorocks

    I think that would have been the easiest part of the hoax to pull off.  Phone logs probably tell the story and after looking at all the evidence Notre Dame believes him.
    The whole thing is bizarre but not unthinkable.

  • Oldhag

    I think Te’o is telling the truth. Somehow he got attached to a girl he never met and knowing it would look bizarre to others, he made up meetings that never took place. There are very naive people that get conned every day—Ronaiah Tuiasosopo didn’t seem to have any motive except his own amusement.

    I knew someone this very thing happened to who was about the same age.  He talked all the time about “my girlfriend this, my girlfriend that” and when people found out he met her on-line they gave him a hard time.  When they asked if he ever met her because people can say anything on the internet and for all he knew she could be a 300 pound Jaba-the-Hut look alike, he swore he did, when in fact he hadn’t.  She had some humdinger stories going on too. I’m pretty sure he sent her money a few times.  He wasn’t really trying to lie, he wasn’t gay, he wasn’t trying to gain anything material, he wasn’t trying to hurt anyone – he was the one hurt.  He just wanted a relationship like everyone else and for some reason couldn’t connect to a girl in person. The difference between him and this Te’o kid is that everyone in the world didn’t become interested in his relationship and he wasn’t humiliated on such a public level when the truth finally came out. Until someone shows me what this kid gained from this relationship I’m going to assume he was duped.    

  • tucker davis

    We now know there are 2 things Te’o never touched: his girlfriend & the ‘Bama running backs!

  • bridgette12

    Notre Dame said they investigated but won’t release the report to prove that what he said was true. Second, I wouldn’t believe Notre Dame and their AD if my life depended on. This  is the same organization that when a girl accused one of the players of rape they ignored her. They didn’t hire a private investigator then to make sure her story was true. The AD sure didn’t cry for her on television when she commited suicide. So forgive me, if I don’t buy his lies and their support of their golden boy.

  • potatorocks

        This situation seems too ridiculous to put the schools reputation on the line for but I understand you skepticism.  There is so much shady stuff going on in sports at all levels.

  • hoosiermama2

    Busy weekend…this is THE big story here in the shadow of the Golden Dome. I hear folks split pretty evenly about Manti, but most WANT to believe he’s innocent (just stupid). He is extremely well liked. I’m no Domer (but love living in the university community and appreciate all that it adds to life here). I want to give Te’o the benefit of the doubt, but this is the most bizarre story I’ve ever heard! Still so many unanswered questions. I think there’s more to come…stay tuned!

  • bridgette12

    I don’t think this guy is some type of sociopath. I don’t think he’s the devil, but I do think he has some issues with the concept of reality and truth.