Manti Te'o, in his first on-camera interview since revelations that his girlfriend who allegedly died of leukemia never existed and was a hoax, told television personality Katie Couric he lied after being informed on December 6 that this "girlfriend" may still be alive.
Te'o, who shares the same publicist with Couric, said he lied in rounds of interviews days after the Dec. 6 phone call. The interview will air on Thursday on "Katie," which is Couric's syndicated show. "Good Morning America" aired a brief excerpt of the interview on Wednesday.
"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. "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. And to ask me about the same question. You know, what would you do?"
At the December 8th Heisman Trophy presentation, ESPN's Chris Fowler asked Te'o, who finished second in the voting to eventual winner Johnny Manziel, what about the death of his girlfriend would he most remember. Here is what Te'o said then--two days after receiving that alleged phone call--in full:
"I think I'll never forget the time when I found out that, you know, my girlfriend passed away and the first person to run to my aid was my defensive coordinator, Coach [Bob] Diaco, and you know he said something very profound to me. He said, 'This is where your faith is tested.' Right after that, I ran into the players' lounge and I got on the phone with my parents -- and I opened my eyes and my head coach was sitting right there. And so, you know, there are a hundred-plus people on our team and the defensive coordinator and our head coach took time to just go get one (of those players). You know I think that was the most meaningful to me."