Former Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o told Katie Couric he “briefly” lied about his dead girlfriend even after he learned she didn’t exist.
“Katie, put yourself in my situation,” he said, “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.”
But his girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, did not exist. It was all a hoax.
Katie Couric’s full interview with Te’o will air on Thursday (check your local listings for the station and time). It should be noted that both Couric and Te’o have the same agent.
When Couric pressed the pathological liar to admit that he was in on the deception with his friend, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo (who created the online profile of Lennay Kekua), Te’o said he received a phone call from his dead girlfriend’s cell phone on December 6. He recognized the voice on the other end as Lennay Kekua, who told him she was alive. He claims Kekua told him she was forced to fake her own death to escape drug dealers. But even after that phone call, Teo’s lies continued.
Te’o now says he had to “tailor” his lies because he didn’t want people to believe he had never met his online girlfriend.
Even on the MTV show ‘Catfish,’ about people “dating” fake online profiles — you don’t see this level of lying and deception. The lovesick people on ‘Catfish’ make it clear that their relationship is online.
But Manti Te’o took it much further than that by embellishing his dead girlfriend story to gain maximum sympathy from the media and from the Heisman trophy voters (he came in second in the voting).
Te’o informed the national media that his grandmother and his girlfriend passed away within hours of each other on Sept. 12. Just 3 days later, on Sept. 15, Te’o went out and played the game of his life, making 12 tackles in Notre Dame’s 20-3 win over Michigan State.
Afterwards, he dedicated the game to his grandmother and his dead online girlfriend. He told ESPN’s Heather Cox that Kekua and his grandmother “were with me.” And he very clearly said, “I miss them. I miss them. But I know that I’ll see them again one day.”
Notre Dame played Michigan on Sept. 22, the day of Kekua’s supposed funeral.
On Oct. 4, Te’o stood before the media and said that Kekua didn’t want him to attend her funeral that day. He said she wanted him to play in the Michigan game, and he sent white roses to her funeral, instead.
Te’o played spectacularly on the day of Kekua’s supposed burial. He made two interceptions in Notre Dame’s 13-6 win over Michigan, and coach Brian Kelly awarded the game ball to Kekua.
Te’o tugged hard on the violin strings, telling the media:
“That has to be the hardest thing that I’ve had to do so far; to be able to operate, and to be able to try to continue with my daily routine, but knowing that I just lost two women that I truly loved… And the other hardest thing was my girlfriend’s service was the day of Michigan’s game. And I remember when I found out I knew when they were going to close the casket and all that stuff”
He even got up in front of his teammates and “spoke in detail of his girlfriend’s death”, according to Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated.
Te’o continued his lies in interview after interview about Kekua — right up until the hammer came down on January 16, when Deadspin.com exposed him as a fraud.
Sometime before January 7 — when Notre Dame played Alabama in the BCS championship game — Te’o learned that his lies were about to be exposed.
On January 7 he played the worst game of his college career. Te’o missed several tackles in Notre Dame’s crushing 42-14 loss to Alabama.
He would later say that he played so poorly because of a phone call he received from Tuisasosopo, the day before, telling him that Kekua was all a hoax.
Many on the Notre Dame campus believe Te’o and Tuiasosopo are lovers, and that Lennay Kekua was manufactured to cover up his gay lifestyle.
Te’o is a pathological liar, so we may never know the truth until Tuiasosopo comes forward with his version of the story.
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