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Woman in Te'o fake girlfriend photo speaks out

Published January 22, 2013 12:41 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Southern California woman who became the face of the Manti Te'o faux girlfriend story said today that the Antelope Valley man behind the alleged hoax has confessed to her and apologized.

In an interview broadcast on the "Today" show on NBC, Diane O'Meara said she is a victim of the scandal, perpetrated, she said, by a Facebook friend, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo.

"It's very bizarre and it's a very twisted and confusing scenario," she said. "I've never met Manti Te'o in my entire life. I've never spoken with him. I've never exchanged words."

O'Meara, 23, found herself at the center of the nationwide story last week when it was revealed that her photograph was used on a fabricated Twitter profile for Lennay Kekua, an apparent online creation that the Notre Dame football star called his girlfriend. Teotold the nation she died of cancer just before the linebacker's game against Michigan State.

When it was determined O'Meara's photo was used, she found herself swarmed by reporters, who staked out the Torrance Boulevard offices of STN Media Group, where she works as a marketing coordinator.

O'Meara ducked out of sight until the Today report this morning. She said she had never heard of Te'o until the story broke.

O'Meara attended high school with Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the man reportedly behind the hoax.

"The past five years he's literally been stalking my Facebook and stealing my photos," she said. "Ronaiah has called and not only confessed but he has also apologized. I don't think there's anything he can say to me that will fix this."