Where is Ronaiah Tuiasosopo now? Manti Te'o's catfish from Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn't Exist

*Warning: Spoilers ahead*

Where is Ronaiah Tuiasosopo now?
(Image credit: Netflix)

Viewers are asking where is Ronaiah Tuiasosopo now - aka the catfish behind the 2013 scandal involving Manti Te'o - as explored in Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn't Exist.

The latest Netflix documentary follows other gripping stories such as the story of I am a Killer's Victoria Smith, Sins of our Mother's Lori Vallow Daybell and the chilling story of revenge porn criminal Hunter Moore, who is the focus of The Most Hated Man on the Internet. Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn't Exist, tells the story of how Notre Dame football player Manti Te'o was catfished by his childhood friend Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, who posed as a 22-year-old terminally ill female student called Lennay Kekua.

Ronaiah used the photos of a high school friend and managed to trick Manti into falling for her, despite never meeting up in real life. She even faked her death as part of the hoax, leaving Manti heartbroken. It was only in 2013, when two Deadspin reporters began to question Lennay's real identity, and published a tell-all article revealing that she was not, in fact, a real person, in January 2013. Following the scandal and as the Netflix documentary grips viewers, many are now asking, where is Ronaiah Tuiasosopo now? We share everything you need to know.

Where is Ronaiah Tuiasosopo now?

Since the catfishing scandal, Ronaiah has come out as a transgender woman and is now known by the name Naya. Nowadays, Naya keeps a low profile and remains out of the spotlight, though she does feature in the Netflix documentary. She is active on Instagram, but her account @nayatui is private.

Naya has apologised to both Manti Te'o and Diane O'Meara – the girl whose photos she stole to make the fake account. She says that the reason she deceived Manti was because she was 'deeply in love' with him. "I created this fictional character," she says in the documentary. "I totally felt fear, I didn't have courage to just be like, 'This is who I am.' I didn't expect it to blow up so quickly."

Where is Ronaiah Tuiasosopo now?

(Image credit: Netflix)

What did Ronaiah Tuiasosopo do?

Ronaiah Tuiasosopo used fake photos to trick Manti Te'o - who was her childhood friend - into falling for her and conducting an online relationship. Te'o met the woman, who he believed to be a 22-year-old Stanford student named Lennay Kekua, online in late 2011.

The pair began messaging through social media, before they turned to phone calls and texting. It was later revealed that Naya used female family members to speak to him on the phone.

She told Manti a heartbreaking story about how she had been in a horrific car crash, and that she had discovered she was suffering from leukemia during her recovery.

In September 2012, nine months into their relationship, Manti was made to believe that Kekua had passed away. He told the crowd at a Notre Dame football game on 12 September that he had suffered from the loss of his girlfriend and grandmother on the same day - and was branded as a hero for continuing to play despite mourning their deaths.

However, after receiving an anonymous tip about it, Deadspin reporters Timothy Burke and Jack Dickey began to question Kekua's real identity and published a tell-all article revealing that she was not, in fact, a real person, in January 2013. 

Where is Manti Te'o now?

Hawaiin born Manti Te'o went on to have a successful football career, joining the NFL in 2013, after he was selected by the San Diego Chargers. He also played for the New Orleans Saints, and Chicago Bears. 

However, he is now a free agent, meaning he could leave Chicago to sign with other teams. Manti, who is 31 years old, describes himself as a 'family man.'

After the catfishing scandal, Manti said in a statement: "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."

In a later interview, he explained that he was drawn to her due because she was Polynesian, loved her faith, and 'knew a lot' about his Mormon beliefs. He said they had plans to meet several times, including in Manti's native Hawaii, but she never showed up. 

After her fake death, Manti revealed that he did not attend Lennay's funeral because she 'made him promise that he would stay and play.'

Refelecting on the experience, he told ESPN: "In retrospect, I obviously should have been much more cautious,' he said to ESPN in a separate interview. If anything good comes of this, I hope it is that others will be far more guarded when they engage with people online than I was."

Manti Te'o: Girlfriend now

Manti Te'o is now married to Jovi Nicole Engbino. The couple got engaged in early 2020 and tied to knot in August the same year in an oceanside ceremony.

Manti shared photos of the happy couple from their small ceremony on the beach in La Jolla, California and wrote on Instagram: "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."

While Jovi added: "Yesterday I got to marry my best friend and the love of my life in an intimate beach ceremony. Although this was not how we envisioned our ceremony, it was perfect."

She added: "We will be having our reception and celebration when Temples and venues open back up so we can share this special occasion with our families and I couldn’t be more excited."

The couple now have a one-year-old daughter called Hiromi, and Manti has revealed how his life ambitions have changed since becoming a father.

He said: "Every since I was 5 years old my number one goal was to be the best football player that I could be. For the last 26 years of my life I’ve committed myself to that goal and have pushed my body to its absolute limits every single year. 

"Last year…that goal changed when me and @jovinicolefitness had our daughter. Today, my ultimate goal is to be the very best dad for my kids. To be their example of what hard work and dedication looks like."

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Robyn Morris
Entertainment writer - contributor

Robyn is a freelance celebrity journalist with ten years experience in the industry. While studying for a degree in Media and Cultural Studies at London College of Communication, she did internships at Now and Heat magazines. After graduating, she landed a job at Star magazine, where she worked her way up to features editor. She then worked at Future as Deputy Celebrity Content Director across Woman, Woman’s Own, Woman’s Weekly and Woman & Home magazines.