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Manti Te'o hoax: Woman in fake girlfriend photos speaks out

January 22, 2013|By Chuck Schilken

Diane O'Meara had never heard of Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o until last week. She was Facebook friends with Ronaiah Tuiasosopo but was never close with him either.

Yet her image was used as the face of Te'o's supposed girlfriend in an elaborate hoax allegedly pulled off by Tuiasosopo, a former high school classmate of O'Meara's.

“It’s very bizarre, and it’s a very twisted and confusing scenario,’’ O’Meara told NBC’s Miguel Almaguer in a segment that aired on the "Today" show Tuesday. “I’ve never met Manti Te’o in my entire life. I’ve never spoken with him. I’ve never exchanged words, tweets.’’

The story of Te'o's grandmother and girlfriend dying within hours of each other back in September was told on numerous occasions as Notre Dame made its way into the BCS championship game and the star linebacker became the Heisman Trophy runner-up.

But last week Deadspin.com revealed that the girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, never existed. The photos that were supposedly of Kekua are actually of O'Meara. Te'o says he is a victim of the hoax. 

Tuiasosopo has yet to speak publicly about the allegations, but O'Meara said he has apologized to her.

“The past five years, he has literally been stalking my Facebook and stealing my photos,’’ O’Meara said. “Ronny has called and not only confessed, but he has also apologized. But I don’t think there’s anything he could say to me that would fix this.’’

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