Is Manti Te'o a Catfish victim? The Notre Dame linebacker and Heisman finalist made national headlines in September when it was reported his grandmother and girlfriend passed away on the same day. In honor of the loved ones he lost, Te'o led the Fighting Irish to an undefeated season.
But on Wednesday, Jan. 16, Deadspin released a shocking report that the Notre Dame linebacker and Heisman finalist's late girlfriend, Lennay Marie Kekua, never existed.
The Hawaiian native, 21, claims he was the victim of elaborate hoax. "This is incredibly embarrassing to talk about, but over an extended period of time, I developed an emotional relationship with a woman I met online. We maintained what I thought to be an authentic relationship by communicating frequently online and on the phone, and I grew to care deeply about her," he said in a statement to ESPN Wednesday. "To realize that I was the victim of what was apparently someone's sick joke and constant lies was, and is, painful and humiliating."
But many reports speculate that Te'o was not merely a so-called "Catfish" victim — someone who pretends to be someone they are not online, in a nod to the cult film and MTV reality show — and was in on the hoax.
The controversy has been heavily debated on social media, with some celebrities have been weighing in. Here, Us Weekly rounds up a few of their reactions about the shocking Notre Dame scandal.
Retired tennis star Andy Roddick: "I think I believe Te'o . . . There is no way that somebody would make up a fake person and have them die of something tragic (I hope). If he was involved, then he's just insane . . . I really hope he's just guilty of being gullible . . . "
Model/Actress Brooklyn Decker (and Rodick's wife): "Andy Rodick. Surprise! Hoax! I don't exist.
Saturday Night Live star Seth Meyers: "These Te'o jokes are all very funny but let's all try and remember that a person who never existed is dead."
Model Christine Teigen: "My love of catfish has intersected with Erin Andrew's world of football and there is just some beautiful texting happening now."
Extra host Mario Lopez: "Is it bad that I find this whole Manti Te'o episode the funniest thing I've ever heard? Unbelievable."
Comedian Arsenio Hall: "The great thing about dating Manti Te'o's girlfriend is, you never have to wear a condom!"
The Office star Rainn Wilson: "I don't know what's worse, a dead girlfriend or a dead girlfriend who never existed."
Modern Family star Eric Stonestreet: If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck , it's a made up dead girlfriend story for publicity.
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