- PHOTOS: Pictures of Manti Te'o
Manti Te'o told Katie Couric the feelings he had for what turned out to be a fake, online girlfriend were real and reiterated he had nothing to do with the hoax.
The All-American linebacker said he was truly sorrowful and pained after finding out the woman he knew as Lennay Kekua died in September. On Thursday, a voicemail from the person claiming to Kekua was played on Couric's show, "Katie."
"It didn't sound like a man. It sounded, sounded like a woman. But if he somehow made that voice, that's incredible," Te'o said. "Doesn't it sound like a girl?"
"It does," Couric said.
Te'o's inspirational tale of triumph on the field after the deaths of his grandmother and girlfriend was exposed as a bizarre hoax on Jan. 16, 2013 when news broke that Kekua did not exist.
Te'o admitted to Couric he misled reporters into thinking he had met his long-distance girlfriend in person, which never actually happened. He said when they had planned to meet in San Diego during a flight layover, he was told she was in a car accident and hospitalized in Los Angeles.
"It doesn't make sense to me either at this point," he said.
When asked by Couric if he made up the relationship to cover up his sexual orientation, Te'o denied it.
"Are you gay?" Couric asked.
Te'o replied, "No. Far from it."
He said the relationship felt real to him- and his parents.
"He's not a liar. He's a kid. He's a 21 year old kid trying to be a man," Brian Te'o, father, said.
Kekua was allegedly created by the hoaxster Ronaiah Tuiasosopo.
The Associated press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.
January 24, 2013 (NEW YORK) --Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o said his pain and sorrow was real, even if his girlfriend was not.