The curious case of an American football star and his girlfriend that never existed

Manti Te’o is an American football star who played for University of Notre Dame in Indiana and, unfortunately for him, became the victim of a lie and ending up in a relationship with a woman who never existed.

Netflix is now releasing a documentary about Te’o’s story a decade later with ‘The Bride Who Didn’t Exist’ becoming the latest instalment of the ‘Untold’ documentaries, which is set for release on August 16.

It all started when Te’o began an almost year-long relationship with, Lennay Kekua, whom he met online.

The woman spent most of that time in hospital due to a car accident and being diagnosed with leukaemia. He lived in Indiana and she lived in California, but they spoke on the phone every day and he became one of her greatest supporters in her fight against the disease.

In October 2012, Te’o received news that his partner and grandmother had died within six hours of each other, though the American football player did not attend his wife’s funeral.

The truth came out

A couple of months after the tragedy, it was discovered that the woman had never existed and that the couple had never met in person. The reality was that a boy had posed as Lennay Kekua.

He created a fake social media profile and then killed off the character he had invented to bring an end to the story.

Te’o had therefore fallen victim to catfishing.

The alleged deceased girlfriend, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, came clean after the media furore the story generated.

“I had discovered that everything I thought was my reality wasn’t real at all,” Te’o told ABC at the time.

Today, Te’o is no longer involved in football, and has started a family of his own. Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, on the other hand, is now a transgender woman.

The story comes to Netflix

The documentary explains what happened with Te’o and his alleged girlfriend.

It is told by the protagonists themselves, providing a first-hand account of their version of events.