On Friday, Manti Te’o said his “biggest regret” was lying about having met “Lennay Kekua” to avoid being seen as weird and crazy. Te’o said that was a “mistake I made.”
“That is my biggest regret,” Te’o said. “And that is the biggest, I think, that’s from my point of view, that is a mistake I made.”
Te’o’s dad reportedly told the South Bend Tribune that Te’o had “met” “Lennay Kekua,” the woman assumed to have been his girlfriend who died of cancer, at Stanford in 2009 after Notre Dame played the Cardinal.
Te’o told ESPN that meeting never happened because he “didn’t know Lennay until after football season my freshman year” and did not know from where that account came.
Te’o said he had tried to meet “Lennay” in 2011 when Notre Dame played Stanford but she, “for some reason, was somewhere else. And that didn’t go through.”
Te’o said he lied to his dad and led people to believe he had met “Lennay” because he knew people would overreact and think he was crazy, especially his father, whose approval Te’o said he craved.
This was Te’o’s first interview since a Wednesday report revealed Te’o’s girlfriend never existed.