Te'o tells Couric: 'I was embarrassed'

NEED TO KNOW
  • Phone bill proves calls to Kekua were real
  • Te'o's father tears up, says he's not a liar
Te'o tells Couric: 'I was embarrassed'

In the first clips of Notre Dame football player Manti Te'o's interview with Katie Couric, we saw him express some shame about the fact that he lied about being aware of a hoax involving online girlfriend Lennay Kekua.

Now Couric confirms that she has seen Te'o's phone bill, and that it contains long phone calls to the phone number he associated with Kekua, proving that he spent the time on the relationship that he claims he was in.

Te'o's publicist, Matthew Hiltzik, says that his client is not a liar.

"Lance Armstrong is a liar. Manti Te'o made one big mistake: not telling his father the truth," Hiltzik said.

Te'o claims that he fully believed that Kekua was his girlfriend, even though they had never met face to face. The football star also says that he thought she died of leukemia on September 12, but a phone call he got on December 6 changed that.

It gets murky when the timeline shows that Te'o talked about Kekua after he found out that she wasn't a real person, referring to her when he talked about losing his grandparents to cancer. But Te'o swears that his feelings were the real deal, and that "the pain and sorrow" was something that he could not fake.

Te'o's family, Brian and Ottilia, were also present for the Couric interview, and Couric says that she believes they were just as stunned as Te'o was that Lennay Kekua was not a real person. Both had contact with her, Brian via text and Ottilia by phone.

ABC reports that Te'o's father was tearful when the subject of his son being a liar came up.

"I've known him 21 years of his life, and he's not a liar," Te'o told Couric.

Parts of the story are still unclear, such as what role Ronaiah Tuiasosopo actually played in the hoax. He has supposedly apologized to Diane O'Meara,  the woman whose image was used to represent Kekua, but there has been no public admission as of yet. Te'o told ESPN that two guys and a girl are behind the hoax.

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