Is Lennay Kekua a Real Person? Is She Dead? – Netflix’s two-part documentary, “The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist,” recounts one of the most bizarre stories in the annals of collegiate football. Manti Te’o, a linebacker for Notre Dame, became a Heisman Trophy contender during the Fighting Irish’s unbeaten regular season in 2012, enthralling sports fans and the general public.
Te’o’s achievement was set against the backdrop of personal tragedy; he dedicated his season to his grandmother and lover, who had both passed away independently on the same day that September. However, it was revealed in January of the following year that his girlfriend had never existed, placing Manti at the centre of one of the most significant sporting scandals in American history at the time.
The subject of the Netflix documentary is a young woman by the name of Lennay Kekua. Everybody knew her as Manti Te’o’s girlfriend. Everything that was learned about her came to light after she passed away, and even then, her life still seemed to revolve around being Manti’s girlfriend. Manti rose to prominence due to her terrible death as someone everyone could relate to and support. But when the startling reality about their relationship was revealed, everything changed. The Netflix documentary delves further into this dispute, uncovering the causes behind Lennay’s life and demise. Here’s what you need to know if you’re wondering who she was and what happened to her.
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Does Lennay Kekua Exist in Real Life?
Lennay Kekua is fictitious; she is not real. She was a fictitious persona. Naya Tuiasosopo was developed for online use. Naya had been attempting to determine her own sexual identity at the time, which inspired her to develop the Lennay profile. She used it to communicate with individuals, but would stop when the subject of meeting in person came up.
She eventually met Manti Te’o, with whom she had a closer friendship than anyone she had met online. After some time, Naya concluded that the relationship should be terminated. She attempted to cover it up by claiming an accident and then cancer. She believed this would end the Manti and Lennay situation, but tensions rose as Manti’s ascent to football stardom in the face of a horrific tragedy turned into a media darling. No one stopped to check that there was no obituary, no official confirmation of Lennay’s death, her accident, or even her life. At the same time, everyone sympathised with Manti and related various accounts of his relationship with Lennay as well as the timing of her death.
Later, it was discovered that Diane O’Meara, who was entirely unaware that she had become the face of Manti’s deceased girlfriend, was the subject of the photographs Naya had used in Lennay’s profile to catfish Manti.
What Happened to Lennay Kekua? Is She Dead?
Lennay Kekua passed away in September 2012, long before the public learned the true extent of catfishing. A few months earlier, Manti had learned that Lennay had been involved in a deadly auto accident. It was discovered that she had leukaemia when she was recovering from it, necessitating a bone marrow transplant.
Manti talked to her on the phone every night throughout this time, drifting off to the sound of her breathing and occasionally hearing her respond to his voice. She was reportedly receiving treatment at the St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton, California. She had cancer treatment there before moving on to St. Jude’s. According to Manti, she was in St. Jude’s and was transferred to another hospital.
She appeared to have a chance of surviving these consecutive tragedies, but things quickly turned for the worst, and she went at about the same time as Manti’s grandmother. The inconsistencies in the manner the news was reported started to appear at this point. Lennay passed away less than a day after Manti’s grandmother, according to some media reports, while other sources placed the two deaths at a distance of several days. Regardless, her funeral was held around a week after she passed away, and Manti did not go.
While Lennay’s passing and Manti’s great fortitude to carry on despite losing “the love of his life” became an inspirational story that was covered extensively in the media, Lennay called Manti to inform him that she wasn’t actually dead and had been hiding. He was given a photo of her as evidence, which Manti demanded, and it just served to further his confusion. After some time had passed and he was unsure of what to make of it, he told his family about it.
At that point, his uncle, a lawyer, informed him that he had been catfished. Lennay Kekua’s story came to an end when it was revealed later on Deadspin that she never existed; yet, it was only the beginning for Manti and Naya.