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Is Netflix's Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn't Exist based on a true story?

Rachel Finn

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Is Netflix's Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn't Exist based on a true story?

Netflix’s Untold series is back for a new series and the first film from its four-part documentary series will have viewers in shock at its bizarre and shocking storyline. 

The promo for the series promises viewers that “these stories aren’t the ones you’ve heard before, even if you think you have”, meaning fans are set for another collection of wild stories.

First up, ‘The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist’ tells the story of American football player Manti Te’o who, on the outside, looks like a rising sports star with dreams of going pro and the talent to make it happen. But tragedy strikes for the Hawaii-born player when his grandmother and girlfriend die on the same day. 

Soon, his relationships are under a microscope and things get more confusing when it’s revealed that his girlfriend never existed.

Is The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist based on a true story?

The Girlfriend Who Didn't Exist features Manti, his fake 'girlfriend' and others involved in the strange incident tell the true story of how the player was conned online and almost lost his career when the deception was made public.

As it turns out, Manti’s girlfriend - who he’d never met in person - has been catfishing him all along and was really a persona created by Ronaiah ‘Naya’ Tuiasosopo, who says in the documentary that she created the fake profile because she was ‘in love’ with how much attention the character was getting online.

Among her claims were that Manti’s supposed girlfriend was involved in a serious car accident and later died from leukemia - which the footballer said he believed at the time.

However, questioned whether the story could be true and wondered in Manti was in on the hoax, creating the story in an attempt to bring attention to his career - something which he denies. 

"It was just like a huge tidal wave and I was drowning," Manti recalls in the documentary of the media coverage. "You can’t feel anything, taste anything, smell anything. Nothing."

The documentary tells both sides of the story in a confusing tale of online deception which almost cost the promising footballer his career.

As sports broadcaster Alex Flanagan explains in the film: "I think one of the first questions everybody asked was: 'How could he be so naive?' and then the second question everybody started wondering was: 'Was he complicit?'"

Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist is available to stream on Netflix from Tuesday August 16.

Featured Image Credit: Netflix

Topics: Sport, TV and Film, Netflix

Rachel Finn
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