Manti Te’o Netflix documentary: Release date, trailer for ‘The Girlfriend who Didn’t Exist’

Netflix’s sports-centric docuseries Untold is expected to release its second volume in August, which will focus on the bizarre catfishing hoax that trapped former Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o.

Te’o was the face of Notre Dame’s 2012 national championship game as he put on an impressive singles season for the Fighting Irish. He received much attention as a Heisman Trophy nominee, the campaign bolstered by the “fact” that his grandmother and girlfriend died hours apart on the same September day.

The only problem: Te’o’s girlfriend didn’t exist. At least not in the way he thought she did.

In Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist, Te’o reveals, in his own words, how he met his online girlfriend who passed away from Lennay Kekua; his burgeoning doubts about her identity; and the backlash he received when he was exposed as a victim of a catfishing scam.

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As Te’o says in the trailer, “My whole world has changed. And I question everything.”

Here’s everything you need to know about Untold: The Girlfriend who Didn’t Exist, including how to watch and background on the feel-good story-turned-hoax.

Manti Te’o Netflix documentary release date how to watch

  • Release date: Tuesday 16 August
  • How to see: Netflix

The two-parter Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist will be available to watch on Netflix on Tuesday, August 16th. Netflix has three subscription options with monthly fees of $9.99 (Basic), $15.49 (Standard), and $19.99 (Premium).

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Te’o’s story is the first of four Untold documentaries to be released weekly from August through September. Below are the planned release dates for the series:

  • Tuesday, August 16: “Untold: The Friend Who Didn’t Exist”
  • Tuesday, August 23: “Untold: The Rise and Fall of AND1”
  • Tuesday, August 30: “Untold: Operation Flagrant Foul”
  • Tuesday 6 Sept: “Untold: The Race of the Century”

What is Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist about?

The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist focuses on Te’o’s online relationship with a woman he believed to be 22-year-old Lennay Kekua during his senior year at Notre Dame. He had an impressive individual season that year, backed by what was felt to be a touching story of strength through adversity.

It will also delve into Te’o, who eventually learns of Kekua’s true identity, and the aftermath of a Deadspin article that not only painted an unflattering picture of Te’o as a catfishing victim, but also helped build his uplifting ridiculing history for years to come.

Part of the aftermath was that Kekua, fictional or not, played a significant role in his Heisman Trophy campaign that year. Te’o has been called not only a great player and the face of one of college football’s blue-blood programs, but also college football’s good guy – someone who described life in three words: faith, family, Football.

Te’o’s story began in earnest over a two-week period in which he had great games against Michigan State and Michigan in September following the recent deaths of his grandmother and girlfriend. Heisman’s eventual runner-up helped No. 20 Notre Dame upset No. 10 Michigan State 20-3, finishing the game with 12 tackles, two passes defended and a fumble recovery. The following week, he had two interceptions in a 13-6 win over Michigan.

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Te’o’s story only grew nationally as he amassed more impressive numbers and helped Notre Dame enjoy one of its best seasons in several years.

The only problem: Kekua didn’t die, nor did she ever exist – at least in the way Te’o thought she did. While it’s true that Te’o’s grandmother, Annette Santiago, died on September 11, 2012, Kekua was merely an online persona created by Ronaiah “Naya” Tuiasosopo, who is very much alive and appears in the Netflix documentary.

Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist Trailer

Here’s the synopsis for the documentary, courtesy of Netflix:

Born in a Hawaiian paradise, All-American football star Manti Te’o lives a simple life that can be summed up in just three words: faith, family, football. College football’s golden boy couldn’t go wrong, but when tragedy strikes, increasing scrutiny of his online relationship creates a media vortex that threatens his future and legacy. Featuring in-depth interviews with Manti Te’o (he/him/his) and the person behind the online identity, Ronaiah ‘Naya’ Tuiasosopo (she/her/her).

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