Flashback: Manti Te'o Thanks Girlfriend's Family For Support "They're here with me," Notre Dame star player said after a game in September of 2012, referring to his late grandmother and girlfriend. He thanked the support of his family and his girlfriend's family during his difficult time -- claiming that he lost both his grandmother and girlfriend on the same day. It has now been revealed that the girlfriend Te'o claimed to have never existed. Notre Dame released a statement in support of Te'o claiming that he was a "victim" of a hoax. They explained that his relationship with his girlfriend was internet-based and that he was "the perfect mark" for a scam.