Te'o: Emotions for fake girlfriend were real

RALPH D. RUSSO
Last updated 11:33 25/01/2013

Relevant offers

Other Sports

Athletics NZ chief executive Linda Hamersley announces resignation Trans-Tasman ice hockey series added to Winter Games Late America's Cup protocol change hits Team New Zealand NFL outlines plans for less commercial breaks and bunker-type replay system to speed up game Peter Fury appears certain to appeal entry refusal to New Zealand for Joseph Parker world title fight All but one of strongly performed Olympic group in mix as Yachting NZ name 2017 squads Big wave surfer Mark Mathews reveals the secrets to conquering fear UFC star Conor McGregor has big win with fine slashed Tourism New Zealand deny funding request from Duco Events for Joseph Parker fight Southland duo in NZ U18 team to win the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey Women's Challenge Cup

A college football star at the center of an elaborate hoax told a TV talk show host that the feelings he had for what turned out to be a fake, online girlfriend were real.

Manti Te'o reiterated he had nothing to do with the hoax.

Te'o's tale of inspired play shortly after the deaths of his grandmother and girlfriend on the same day in September warmed the hearts of college football fans all over America.

But sympathy turned to shock when it was exposed as a bizarre hoax on January 16. Deadspin.com broke the news that the woman Te'o had claimed to be in love with did not, in fact, exist.

The revelation prompted speculation that Manti Te'o must be a straight-laced Mormon, naive and unfamiliar with modern-day dating hazards. Or that he must be part of an elaborate hoax designed to bolster his image.

He told Katie Couric in an interview broadcast today that he was not faking it - and was truly sorrowful and pained after being told that the woman he knew as Lennay Kekua had died of leukemia.

Te'o has admitted that when his girlfriend's "death" became a story, he misled reporters into thinking he had met her in the flesh.

The hour-long interview also featured voicemail messages from someone pretending to be Kekua, who was heard saying "I love you" to Te'o.

After the first message was played, Te'o said: "It sounds like a girl, doesn't it?"

Couric replied "It does."

Yesterday, the woman whose photo was used as the "face" of the Twitter account of Te'o's supposed girlfriend says the man allegedly behind the hoax confessed and apologised to her.

Diane O'Meara told NBC's "Today" news show that the man, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, used pictures of her without her knowledge in creating Lennay Kekua.

Te'o told ESPN last week that Tuiasosopo contacted him to apologise for the hoax soon after the news came out. Te'o told ESPN that not until Tuiasosopo confessed did he finally, fully realise Kekua did not exist.

Ad Feedback

- AP

Special offers
Opinion poll

Will Shane Cameron beat Kali Meehan on Saturday?

For sure. Cameron will knock him out.

It will be close but I think Cameron on points.

Meehan will knock him out. This is his last fight.

I'm tipping Meehan to win on points.

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content