(CBS) – In his first television interview since it was learned his girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, who allegedly died of Leukemia in September, never even existed, Manti Te’o said he didn’t know what to do when things started unraveling.
Te’o told Katie Couric he first became suspicious when, on Dec. 6, he received a call from Kekua, saying she had not died in September. Confused and unsure of what to do with this new information, Te’o again refereed to Kekua’s death in media appearances 48 hours later.
“Part of me was saying, if you say that she is alive, what would everybody think?” Te’o said. “What are you going to tell everybody who follows you, who you’ve inspired? What are you going to say?
“At that time, Dec. 8, as a 21-year-old, I wasn’t ready for that. The only one who knew was me. I did not know who to turn to, I did not know who to tell, I didn’t know who to trust. I was scared. That’s the truth. I was scared and I did not know what to do.”
Te’o also apologized for saying he had, in fact, met Kekua.
“For people feeling they’re misled, that I’m sorry for,” Te’o said. “I wasn’t as forthcoming about it, but I didn’t lie. I never was asked, ‘Did you see her in person?’ Through embarrassment and fear of what people may think, that I was committed to this person I didn’t meet, that scared me. To avoid any further conversation, I wasn’t as forthcoming as I should have been.”