NEW YORK Jan 23 Notre Dame football star Manti
Te'o told ABC News' Katie Couric that he had lied to keep up a
hoax involving a nonexistent dying girlfriend once he learned he
had been duped two days before the Heisman Trophy winner was
In a preview of the interview shown on Wednesday on "Good
Morning America," Te'o talked about the girlfriend, Lennay
Kekua. He mourned her Sept. 12 death from cancer, but it later
turned out that she never existed except as part of an online
On Dec. 6, two days before the prestigious college football
trophy was awarded, Te'o said he had received a phone call from
a woman claiming she was Kekua.
"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," Te'o
told Couric. "And to ask me about the same question. You know,
what would you do?"
A Heisman contender, Te'o was passed over for the award,
which went to Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.
"You stuck to the script," Couric said. "And you knew that
something was amiss, Manti."
Te'o replied: "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."
The interview will be broadcast in its entirety on the
daytime talk show "Katie" on Thursday.
This is Te'o's first on-camera interview since news broke of
the fraud behind one the most widely recounted U.S. sports
stories last year as Notre Dame made a drive toward the college
football national championship game.
Couric interviewed Te'o, who in an interview with ESPN last
week denied being in on the elaborate hoax, and his parents,
Brian and Ottilia Te'o.
"Now many people writing about this are calling your son a
liar," Couric said. "They are saying he manipulated the truth,
really for personal gain."
Brian Te'o dismissed such statements. "People can speculate
about what they think he is," he said. "I've known him 21 years
of his life. And he's not a liar. He's a kid."
Notre Dame, one of the most powerful institutions in U.S.
collegiate athletics, held a news conference within hours of the
Deadspin.com article that exposed the hoax to say that Te'o had
(Writing by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)