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Manti Te’o to Katie Couric: “What I went through was real”

Americans were hoping for answers to the many questions raised by the increasingly bizarre "catfish" hoax Notre Dame football star Manti Te'o claims to have been ensnared in, attempting to understand how someone with such high visibility could have gotten into a relationship with a woman who had never even existed. Was Te'o part of the hoax? Was it a publicity stunt to propel him towards the Heisman Award? Did he concoct the story with a man named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo to hide his sexuality (that he's gay)? Or is Manti Te'o just really, really that gullible?

His first televised interview, hosted by Katie Couric, gave few definitive answers. The explanation Te'o's sticking with is the latter, though: he said that he's a man of faith, and had blinding faith in this woman. Te'o's parents joined him and Couric towards the end of the show to say they were proud of their son for how he treated Lennay Kekua, the girlfriend Deadspin uncovered as fake, whom they all believed to be real and in serious pain (Kekua's tragedies included the death of her father, a diagnosis of leukemia and a coma resulting from a car crash). "What I went through was real," Te'o told Couric. “It was very real, Katie. It was very very real.”

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