Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o admitted that he lied to the media and the public after discovering his online girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, did not exist, he admitted during an interview with Katie Couric.
“Katie, put yourself in my situation. I, my whole world told me that she died on Sept. 12. Everybody knew that. This girl, who I committed myself to, died on Sept. 12,” Te’o said.
Te’o said he received a phone call Dec. 6 from a woman claiming she was Kekua, even though Kekua had allegedly passed away three months earlier.
“Now I get a phone call on Dec. 6, saying that she’s alive and then I’m going be put on national TV two days later. And to ask me about the same question. You know, what would you do?” Te’o said.
Te’o, 21, was joined by his parents in the interview, which will be shown on Couric’s show, “Katie,” on Thursday.
“Now many people writing about this are calling your son a liar. They are saying he manipulated the truth, really for personal gain,” Couric said to Te’o’s father.
“People can speculate about what they think he is. I’ve known him 21 years of his life. And he’s not a liar. He’s a kid,” Brian Te’o said.
Manti Te’o says he did not know the identities of the individuals involved in the hoax, other than Ronaiah Tuiasosopo.
In an interview with ESPN last week, Te’o said he had received a Twitter message from Tuiasosopo apologizing for the hoax.