Manti Te’o to give first on-air interview to Katie Couric after fake girlfriend fiasco

by Emily Senger

Notre Dame football player Manti Te’o is set to give his first on-camera interview to ABC host Katie Couric after a bizarre story last week revealed that his girlfriend Lennay Kekua, who died tragically of leukemia, never really existed.

The interview is scheduled for Couric’s daytime talk show Katie and will air Thursday, Jan. 24.

Te’o's parents, Brian and Ottilia Te’o, will also be part of the interview.

Te’o has already spoken with ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap, but his interview with Couric with be his first time on camera since the story broke.

The interview is creating some controversy, however, after it was noted that both Couric and Te’o share the same publicist, Matthew Hiltzik, which may be a conflict of interest.

Just to recap, Deadspin first published the story about Lennay Kekua, the girlfriend who wasn’t, on Jan. 16. That story revealed that Kukua, who got in a car accident and almost died before actually dying of leukemia just days before two of the best college football games Te’o ever played, was entirely fictional. This revelation came after multiple interviews from Te’o where he referenced his supposed girlfriend, which included a Sports Illustrated cover story about the relationship that ran in October 2012.

In the ESPN interview, Te’o admitted that he lied about meeting Kekua, but said that he did think she was real and that he was duped by Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the man who Deadspin pinpointed as behind the fake girlfriend.

The announcement about the interview with Couric comes amid a report that Tuiasosopo may also be ready to talk in the near future.

According to a report from The Associated Press, Peter Navy Tuiasosopo, an uncle to Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, said that the family is meeting to determine how his nephew should respond to the prank. He said the family has also hired a lawyer.




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