It was allegedly Ronaiah’s cousin, Tino Tuiasosopo (a female), who lent the soothing sounds of her Samoan vocal chords to the imaginary persona of Lennay Kekua, bogus girlfriend of the Notre Dame star.
“Tino is the girl that Manti has been talking to all these months,” another Tuiasosopo cousin told the Post.
The Post reports that Tino is in her mid-20s and works for her dad’s construction company in Pago Pago, American Samoa.
A source told the Post that Tino got involved in the hoax after she got dumped from a long-distance relationships with “extraordinary similarities”:
She said it was OK, because she was doing better. She said she was talking to another person [and] he plays football for Notre Dame — number 5, Manti.
(The Atlantic suggests that fake-girlfriend hoaxes are “weirdly common in Samoan culture.”)
Tino’s profile pic on her Bebo page shows her together with Ronaiah:
The same page, fittingly, lists “acting” as one of her “loves”:
In his tell-all interview with Katie Couric yesterday — during which Couric played Teo’s voicemails from Lennay Kekua — the hoaxed football star said he couldn’t believe the voice belonged to a man. “Sounds like a girl, doesn’t it?” he said.
The interview aired just after Teo’s lawyer Milton Grimes told the Daily News that the voice was Ronaiah all along, masterfully mimicking the voice of a woman. A Post source speculates that the statement resulted because Ronaiah was “determined to take the rap.”
Here’s the voicemail in which Lennay (Tino) breaks down in tears because she thinks Te’o is two-timing with another girl in his room.
A Post source heard the tape and said it seals the deal:
That’s the way [Tino] cries when she’s feeling sorry for herself. Its her, that’s the voice.