Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist on Netflix

An incredible story. True case of reality being stranger than fiction. A Netflix original documentary that is part of the stable of the Untold series (number 6 of 9 parts), which focuses on the sides of well-known stories we did not know about. Directed by Ryan Duffy and Tony Vainuku, we get more of the Manti Te’o story. Even if you are not a football or Notre Dame fan this will be of interest because it is truly a human story.

Catfish. Most of us, in this modern world, have become acquainted with the term. It is when someone fools another by taking information and images, typically from other people, and using them to create a new identity for themselves. There is even a whole MTV series called Catfish: The TV Show in which help is given to people being catfished. This story is of note because it happened to a prominent college football player and probably contributed to him losing millions of dollars and years off of his professional career. but I am getting ahead of myself.

A native of Hawaii, Manti Te’o excelled at football. The linebacker distinguished himself so much that he was given a full scholarship to Notre Dame to play while studying. That was great because his family could not have afforded to pay for college. At Notre Dame, he continued making a name for himself. Most importantly in his senior year when he was named as a finalist for the top player award, the Heisman Trophy in 2012. Many across the United States gravitated to his story because he had lost his grandmother and girlfriend within days of each other. Te’o even dedicated his senior year to them. He was looked at as a leader to his teammates and a hero by fans of football.

Then things started to unravel. His image was tarnished as a story came out that his girlfriend, who he had only had an online relationship with, did not even exist. Now people began to wonder if he was complicit in this. Was Manti Te’o a liar or a victim? Soon the career and golden boy image he had built were both crumbling. He did not win the Heisman and was not drafted as high up as he typically would have been costing him millions of dollars. Because of all the attention (of the wrong sort) and scrutiny, his play on the field began to suffer. This combined with frequent injuries lead to Te’o being out of football after just 7 seasons.

The two central figures in the story are extensively interviewed for the documentary. Both Te’o and the perpetrator of the catfish tell their sides of what went on. Making a rather clear picture of the entire story. The entire thing has to be seen to be believed. An incredible story.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.