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NFL player: I met Manti Te'o's fake girlfriend

As the owner of Bloom Creatives, Caroline Gutierrez Goddard tells stories with words and photos -- and as such, is a regular contributor here at SheKnows.

Manti Te'o gal pal mystery deepens

Manti Te'o's dead girlfriend has been exposed as a fake, but that's pretty confusing to the people who say they met her in person when she was still alive.

Football

The plot thickens in the Manti Te'o fake girlfriend story. Arizona Cardinals fullback Reagan Maui'a is totally confused by the whole mess because he claims he actually met Lennay Kekua and was close to her family, so she can't be fake!

Maui'a told ESPN he met Kekua while doing charity work in American Samoa in June 2011.

"This was before her and Manti," Maui'a told the sports network. "I don't think Manti was even in the picture, but she and I became good friends. We would talk off and on, just checking up on each other kind of thing. I am close to her family. When she was going through the loss of her father, I was... I offered a comforting shoulder and just someone to bounce her emotions off. That was just from meeting her in Samoa."

When Maui'a was told by a reporter that Kekua may have never existed, he insisted, "No, she is real."

Read about more celebrity deaths on SheKnows >>

Te'o's girlfriend supposedly died of cancer on Sept. 12, just hours after his grandmother passed. The deaths became part of his campaign for a Heisman Trophy, which ultimately went to another player.

The story gets more confusing as Te'o's father had previously said the couple had met in person, but Te'o told others they never had. The Notre Dame star allegedly found out on Dec. 8 that his girlfriend was not dead — and never existed — yet still repeated the original story to the press two days later.

In a statement released yesterday, Te'o insists he was the victim of a "sick joke," but there are an awful lot of holes in his story. Was he really the victim of a hoax, or was he in on it to create a sympathetic public for his Heisman bid? A message posted on Twitter late last night said much more information would be revealed this afternoon, so stay tuned.

Image courtesy iStock
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