Netflix’s ‘Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist’ follows the story of Manti Te’o, the rising star in football who fell prey to catfishing. He had been in a relationship with a woman named Lennay Kekua, whom he’d met online. As time passed, their relationship deepened, but they never really met each other. Still, it was serious enough for Manti to tell his parents, Brian and Ottolia Te’o, about it, who also talked to the woman on several occasions.
As they, too, had grown familiar with her presence in their son’s life, it came as a jolting shock when they discovered that the girl never existed and it was actually a catfisher named Naya Tuiasosopo. The Netflix documentary brings things into perspective, showing how they missed the red flags and how they eventually coped with the situation. With that mess left behind, if you’re wondering what Brian and Ottolia are up to now, here’s what you should know.
Where Are Brian and Ottolia Te’o Today?
Brian and Ottolia Te’o live in Laie, Hawaii. Describing themselves as “just ordinary parents with extraordinary children,” they have six children, Manti being their oldest. While Manti’s career was mired in controversy, Brian and Ottolia supported him all the way through. They describe him as a “loving husband and father” and “an incredible son”.
In a Facebook post for their son’s birthday, they wrote: “Our Family has been blessed tremendously because of his faith and grit through his journey. We are truly grateful for all of the experiences we had while traveling that journey with him – both the good and not so good. It has only brought us closer together, and it revealed just how much grit, determination, and courage this guy has. He has stood for good, been an incredible example of service, and never excused himself from constantly improving upon himself. We love him beyond measure.”
During Manti’s relationship with Lennay Kekua, his parents were under the impression that the couple had met each other face to face. Describing their relationship, Brian said, “They started out as just friends. Every once in a while, she would travel to Hawaii, and that happened to be the time Manti was home, so he would meet with her there. But within the last year, they became a couple. And we came to the realization that she could be our daughter-in-law.” However, afraid that his parents would not approve of the relationship with a person he’d never even met, Manti had lied to them about it.
Later, when the truth about the catfishing came out, they were just as hurt as their son, especially about the allegations regarding his involvement in the hoax. Ottolia Te’o said, ”That’s my child. He always puts others before himself. He did what a responsible respectable man should do … I am proud of his character. It just hurts to see his picture and his name being displayed as someone dishonest.” Brian Te’o, too, defended his son, saying, “If they’re saying Manti lied about something, they might as well say we lied about it today … The story was reality for us.”
With all the upheaval that the controversy caused for them and their son, the Te’os are now in a much better place, enjoying their lives with their grandchildren, who they have welcomed into their lives in recent years. They spend most of their time traveling or with family.