(NEW YORK) — In an ABC exclusive interview, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o sat down with Katie Couric on Thursday to come clean about his relationship with online girlfriend Lennay Kukua, who was later revealed to not exist.
The lawyer for the man who has been identified as behind the hoax, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, told The New York Daily News that his client disguised his voice and assumed the identity of Lennay Kekua to try to develop a relationship with Te’o.
In part of the interview with Couric, Te’o was asked why he spent so much time on the phone with the person posing as Kukua, including falling asleep on the phone and then calling when he woke up.
“It goes back to what my parents taught me,” Te’o told Couric. “Is to always be there for someone when they need help.”
Te’o was then asked about making the call to Kukua when she came out of a coma while the phone was next to her.
“Obviously there was just breathing at first it was one of those where she was breathing and she started to kind of whisper my name,” the Heisman Trophy finalist said.
Te’o said he jumped for joy when he heard her voice and believed he did help her.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN Newswire
Jill Martin, CNN