- (Photograph:Twitter/ Manti Te'o)
Manti Te'o will have an interview with Katie Couric will discuss the controversy surrounding the "girlfriend hoax" on her show, "Katie." The on-air interview is the Notre Dame linebacker's first since news broke that his girlfriend's death and existence were faked.
Katie Couric's Manti Te'o interview will also feature the NCAA star's parents, Brian and Ottilia Te'o, who will speak out about the hoax that went on for three years, and how it has affected their family.
Manti Te'o, the Heisman Trophy runner-up, told media outlets that he had been led on for three years about the existence of his girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, by a friend, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo.
The strangeness of the tale along with the unlikelihood of being duped for three years has led some to question Te'o's integrity- some critics have even suggested that the All-American made the story up to propel himself further into the limelight.
"The story has raised a cloud of question about who was involved, why the hoax was perpetrated and whether Te'o, runner-up for the Heisman Trophy this season, himself made up the story," "Katie" producers wrote in a press release Sunday.
The hoax began to unravel when Te'o found out that Lennay Kekua, his girlfriend who was said to have died of leukemia, was found to not exist. Deadspin reporters revealed the news, and Te'o, who told reporters repeatedly that he had met Kekua multiple times, was forced to face facts.
"Later retellings of that tale led to inconsistencies in media reports, Te'o said, adding that he never actually met Kekua in person," the "Katie" press release continued.
Now, Te'o claims that those responsible for the hoax have come forward and apologized for the constant media scrutiny and the cruel joke. The Fighting Irish linebacker sat down with ESPN journalist Jeremy Schaap Saturday, but did not allow himself to be filmed for the interview.
"Two guys and a girl are responsible for the whole thing," said Te'o. When Schaap asked who the perpetrators were, Te'o replied "I don't know. According to Ronaiah, Ronaiah's one."
Although Ronaiah Tuiasosopo has not come forward and personally admitted to the hoax, many supporters, including Notre Dame faculty, students and fans, stand by Manti Te'o. For them, the constantly changing story is not a deceitful story, but a 21-year-old trying hide the fact that he'd fallen for a girl he never met.
"He feared people would think it was crazy for him to be involved with someone that he never met, so, 'I kind of tailored my stories to have people think that, yeah, he met her before she passed away,'" the "Katie" press release read. "Te'o … only learned for sure this week that he had been duped. Now he and his parents will give Couric the full story."
The interview will air Thursday on "Katie" at 3 p.m. ET.