Manti Te'o: Yes, I Lied —Briefly

Explains his side of the story to Katie Couric

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 23, 2013 10:00 AM CST

(Newser) – Manti Te'o admits to Katie Couric that yes, he did lie about supposed girlfriend Lennay Kekua—but only after discovering she didn't really exist. "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 in an ABC News interview taped yesterday. "Now I get a phone call on Dec. 6, saying that she's alive and then I'm going to be put on national TV two days later. And to ask me about the same question. You know, what would you do?"

Te'o's parents also sat for the interview, which airs tomorrow, and his father insists the 21-year-old Notre Dame football star is not a liar, "he's a kid." Diane O'Meara, whose image was used as a stand-in for Kekua on Kekua's supposed Twitter account, also spoke to Couric. "I've never met Manti Te'o in my entire life. I've never spoke with him. I've never exchanged words with him," O'Meara said, adding that Ronaiah Tuiasosopo used her pictures without telling her. She and Tuiasosopo attended high school together, but were not close; she says he did call to apologize after the story broke. Click for more on the Te'o saga.

This Jan. 22, 2013 photo released by ABC Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, right, speaking with host Katie Couric during an interview for "Katie," in New York.   (AP Photo/Disney-ABC, Lorenzo Bevilaqua)
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A preview of Manti Te'o's interview with Katie Couric.   (ABC News)
Another preview of the Katie Couric interview.   (ABC News)

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