NFL Player Manti Te'o Found Love After The Fake Girlfriend Catfishing Scandal

·5 min read
Photo credit: Sean M. Haffey - Getty Images
Photo credit: Sean M. Haffey - Getty Images


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Manti Te'o was all over headlines in 2012, and not because he was making a Heisman-worthy tackle. The college football star—who won a national championship while attending Notre Dame—was the victim of a very public catfishing scandal during his early college days.

The Netflix documentary, Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist, details how a person named Naya Tuiasosopo pretended to be a woman named Lennay Kekua. Manti formed a relationship with the fake Lennay despite never meeting her IRL. Everything came to a head when Manti announced that his "girlfriend" had died of leukemia six hours after his grandmother passed away, per Sports Illustrated, and the story began to unravel.

With all of this going on, it’s only natural to have questions about where Manti is now. Here’s what you need to know.

What happened after the catfishing scandal was revealed?

Manti was a star college player at the time and he has continued to be a big name in football over the years.

Still, he was the butt of a lot of jokes as he was preparing for the NFL draft. Some people accused Manti of being in on the scheme for publicity, and reporter Katie Couric also asked some super pointed questions about his sexuality after the scandal broke, per Yahoo Sports.

Was Manti Te'o drafted on an NFL team?

Manti was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

So far, he has played for several NFL teams including the San Diego Chargers, the New Orleans Saints, and the Chicago Bears.

Is Manti Te’o on an NFL team?

Right now, he's currently considered a "free agent," per USA Today.

What position does he play?

Manti is a linebacker.

How much has he made in the NFL?

It’s hard to say for sure, but everyone knows football players make bank, and I wouldn't be surprised if he has made several million dollars during his years in the league.

Did he get married?

Yup! It looks like Manti recovered from the emotional trauma of such a public catfishing scandal because in 2020, he revealed that he had married his girlfriend, Jovi Nicole Engbino.

"I couldn’t give you the world but I think I did better … I gave you my last name and it looks good on you Mrs. Te’o," he wrote in a sweet Instagram post.

According to her Instagram account, Jovi works in health and beauty, and her bio says she is a “future nurse injector.”

“I’ve got a great wife, I have a daughter and we have a son on the way,” Manti said during a recent CBS appearance, which his wife shared on Instagram.

Manti’s daughter, Hiromi, just turned one.

What is his net worth?

Manti is worth $3.5 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

What did he say about the Untold doc?

After the documentary aired on August 16, Manti took to Instagram to thank his fans for the support and loving messages he received.

"I just want to come on here real quick, just to give a heartfelt thank you to everybody that has come through and has shown so much love to me and my family, for your messages, for your comments," he said in a video.

He continued: "It's been so amazing to me to hear the battles that we're all facing, the challenges that we're facing in our lives at this time, and how the documentary has given some of us hope, the extra push just to keep going."

He also said that he hopes this documentary will spread hope, show people love, and encourage them to forgive both others and themselves. Well put, Manti!

After the doc aired, the football star also spoke out about why he thinks he was drawn towards the fictional girlfriend. "If I see somebody who I look like, who was supposedly raised the same way as me, there’s a lot of things that you don’t have to talk about. You just skip it over,” he told NBC.

Where is he now?

Manti seems to be living a pretty quiet life as a free agent right now. He lists himself as a “family man” in his Instagram bio. He recently announced that he’s joined Transcend, a telehealth provider that works with athletes.

"Today, my ultimate goal is to be the very best dad for my kids," he wrote about his involvement with the provider. "To be their example of what hard work and dedication looks like. To be their number one fan. But in order to do all of that, I have to make sure that I am HERE to raise them."

He also received public support from a former teammate, who said that Manti still showed up to practice every day throughout the messy and emotional scandal, often with a smile on his face.

"Manti was put through the damn ringer but still punched the clock every single day. Amazingly tough-minded person, and a testament to perseverance," his former teammate, Rich Ohrnberger, wrote.

Even basketball legend Lebron James has weighed in, tweeting a message using a salute emoji and telling Manti, "you good brother!!"

And, of course, Manti's been hard at work with the documentary crew. "In order for me to kind of heal from this, I needed to reveal it," he told USA Today.

Congrats on finding your happily ever after, Manti!

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