Katie Couric will interview Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o on her show “Katie” on Thursday. The interview will be Te’o’s first on camera interview since the news of the dead girlfriend hoax.
Excerpts from the televised interview will be broadcast in advance on “Good Morning America” and other ABC News programs.
The interview will be taped at an undisclosed time and location this week and air on Thursday. Te’o and his parents, Brian and Ottilia will appear on Couric’s show, which she started last fall. Te’o has mislead his father about his girlfriend; he told him he had met her in Hawaii. His parents will also answer Couric’s questions. The Te’o family has hired a spokesperson, Matthew Hiltzik, who has also worked as Couric’s spokesperson for an extended period.
Te’o had given an off-camera two and a half interview to ESPN on Friday night. During the interview with Jeremy Schaap, he said that he was a victim of the hoax and not a participant. The New York Times reported Te’o told Schaap, “I wasn’t faking it.” The argument that he had been faking it was brought up when the website Deadspin published an investigation into his claims on Wednesday. Details from the interview were published on SportsCenter and ESPN.com. ESPN published a transcript of the interview on Saturday.
Te’o states that he had an online romance with a woman he had never met in person and that the romance ended after he learned in September that she had died from leukemia. He also told ESPN that the hoax’s mastermind, his nephew Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, had contacted him via twitter and explained he created the hoax and apologized. CNN has not seen any of these tweets.
Neither Tuiasosopo nor members of his family have spoken publicly about the controversy this week. Peter Navy Tuiasosopo said to CNN on Sunday, “It definitely takes two to tango. This is not just a matter of blaming it all on Ronaiah.”
Te’o, who had helped Notre Dame football rise to success it had not enjoyed in decades, had told interviewers in September and October that his girlfriend Lennary Kekua, whom he said was a 22 year old Stanford University student, and his grandmother had died within hours of one another.