Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o admitted to Katie Couric that he lied about his fake girlfriend in December, but still insists that he was not part of the hoax. The confession is in an interview clip that was broadcasted on Wednesday on Good Morning America. The full interview will air on Couric’s show on Thursday.
In the interview that took place on Tuesday, Te’o says he believed that his fake girlfriend, Lenny Kekua, had died in September and that he was not aware of the hoax until December. He said he did not lie about the hoax until December. The Daily Mail reported that the talk host chastised him, “You stuck to the script. And you knew that something was amiss, Manti.”
Couric pressed Te’o about the timeline of events. Te’o said he believed that Kekua had died In September. He said, “Katie, put yourself in my situation. I, my whole world told me that she died on September 12. Everybody knew that. This girl, who I committed myself to, died on September 12.”
Te’o says he learned of the hoax in December when he received a phone call from a woman claiming to be Kekua. “Now I get a phone call on December 6, saying that she’s alive and then I’m going to be put on national TV two days later. And to ask me the same question. You know, what would you do?”
Couric brought up that many people think that Te’o used the situation for personal gain. Te’o’s father, Brian, defended him saying, “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.” Te’o’s parents were part of the interview and answered some of Couric’s questions.
Te’o’s interview with Couric is the second time he’s spoken publicly after the scandal broke, but is his first on camera interview. Last Thursday Te’o did an off camera interview with ESPN, in which he insisted that he is a victim of the hoax and not a participant. He admitted it was ‘crazy’ to have a relationship completely online, but says he was not faking it.
Te’o’s family recently hired spokesman Mark Hiltzik, who is also Couric’s spokesman. Many believe that the shared spokesman will result in a less intense interview.
Watch a clip of the interview here: