During her interview with Notre Dame Linebacker Manti Te’o on Thursday, Couric asked Te’o over national television, “Are you gay?”
The Heisman Trophy runner-up replied, “No, far from it, far from it.”
Te’o has been all over the news lately, not just for his football game, but for his online relationship with Lennay Kekua, his internet girlfriend. Ronaiah Tuiasosopo says he made up Kekua unbeknownst to Te’o, though others believe that Te’o took part of the hoax.
During a two-part interview on Dr. Phil McGraw airing Thursday, he questioned Tuiasosopo about his involvement with Te’o. NBC’s The Today Show played clips of the interview Wednesday morning.
“Here we have a young man that fell deeply, romantically in love,” McGraw told NBC. “I asked him straight up, ‘Was this a romantic relationship with you?’ And he says yes. I said, ‘Are you then therefore gay?’ And he said, ‘When you put it that way, yes.’ And then he caught himself and said: ‘I am confused.'”
Tuiasosopo claimed that Te’o “absolutely, unequivocally” wasn’t involved in the hoax.
The online relationship which lasted over two years had ended when Te’o’s “girlfriend” got leukemia and died on September 12. However, Te’o got a call on December 6 allegedly from Kekua who claimed to be alive. Two days later he was on national TV and lied about it.
“Katie, put yourself in my situation. I, my whole world told me that she died on September 12. Everybody knew that. This girl, who I committed myself to, died on September 12,” Te’o said to Couric. “Now I get a phone call on December 6, saying that she’s alive, and then I’m going be put on national TV two days later. And to ask me about the same question. You know, what would you do?” Te’o said.