Manti Te’o denies being part of a hoax - FOX 35 News Orlando

Manti Te’o denies being part of a hoax

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Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o pauses during an interview with ESPN on Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, in Bradenton, Fla. (AP Photo/ESPN Images, Ryan Jones) Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o pauses during an interview with ESPN on Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, in Bradenton, Fla. (AP Photo/ESPN Images, Ryan Jones)
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

The Notre Dame gridiron star and the fake girlfriend hoax.

It sounds unbelievable.  Is it possible Manti Te'o was duped? A victim of an elaborate hoax that apparently involved several people, for the first time since the story broke of his fake girlfriend – Te'o is speaking about it. About a hoax so elaborate that to this day, he still doesn't know what to believe. 

In an audio interview with ESPN's Jeremy Schapp, the Notre Dame star linebacker denies being part of a hoax involving a fake girlfriend he met online and then died. A girl supposedly named Lannay Kakua. 

Te'o was asked by Schapp, "For the record once again, were you in any way a part of this?" 

"No. Never would I be a part of this," replied Te'o. 

Te'o says he met Kakua via Facebook three years ago and that the relationship was intermittent.   

Over the years, Te'o says he spoke to Kakua on the phone and even met some of her relatives. But when he tried to speak to her via Skype, the camera was blocked. 

He even had arranged to meet Kakua but she never showed. 

Te'o admits that he lied to his father and misled reports about meeting her. 

"It goes back to what I did with my dad. I knew that you know I even knew that it was crazy. I was with someone I didn't meet, who died, invested I didn't meet her," said Te'o. "I kind of tailored my stories; he met her before she passed away so people wouldn't think I was some crazy dude." 

Te'o says despite thinking it all sounded crazy, he says he still didn't realize it was all a hoax. On December 6th, he even received a call from the number Kekua has used. Months after he supposed death from leukemia. 

"I'm laying in my bed I'm getting ready to go to sleep -- I just went on a rampage. I ended that conversation, my Lennay died on September 12th," said Te'o. 

Te'o says he was just confused at this point. He told his parents and then the Notre Dame athletic staff that perhaps Kekua might be alive. 

Notre Dame then launched an investigation. 

Te'o says he's embarrassed. It's why he never came forward. 

Reportedly a friend of Te'o's from Hawaii, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, has admitted to being behind the elaborate prank. 

As for why this happened, Te'o thinks it was simply a joke that got out of hand.

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