Voice of Te'o prankster? Couric plays voicemails - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Voice of Te'o prankster? Couric plays voicemails

Posted: Updated:
In this photo taken on Jan. 22, 2013 and released by ABC Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, right, speaking with host Katie Couric during an interview for "Katie," in New York. (AP Photo/Disney-ABC, Lorenzo Bevilaqua) In this photo taken on Jan. 22, 2013 and released by ABC Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, right, speaking with host Katie Couric during an interview for "Katie," in New York. (AP Photo/Disney-ABC, Lorenzo Bevilaqua)

NEW YORK (AP) — The person Manti Te'o says was pretending to be his online girlfriend told the Notre Dame linebacker "I love you" in voicemails that were played during his interview with Katie Couric.

Taped earlier this week and broadcast Thursday, the hour-long talk show featured three voicemails that Te'o claims were left for him last year. Te'o said they were from the person he believed to be Lennay Kekua, a woman he had fallen for online but never met face-to-face.

After the first message was played, Te'o said: "It sounds like a girl, doesn't it?"

"It does," Couric responded.

The interview was the All-American's first on camera since his tale of inspired play after the deaths of his grandmother and girlfriend on the same day in September unraveled as a bizarre hoax in an expose by Deadspin.com on Jan. 16.

Te'o's parents appeared with him for part of the interview and backed up his claim that he wasn't involved in the fabrication, saying they, too, had spoken on the phone with a person they believed to be Kekua.

Couric addressed speculation that the tale was concocted by Te'o as a way to cover up his sexual orientation. Asked if he were gay, Te'o said "no" with a laugh. "Far from it. Faaaar from that."

He also said he was "scared" and "didn't know what to do" after receiving a call on Dec. 6 — two days before the Heisman Trophy presentation — from a person who claimed to be his "dead" girlfriend.

The first voicemail, he said, was from what was supposed to be Kekua's first day of chemotherapy for leukemia.

"Hi, I am just letting you know I got here and I'm getting ready for my first session and, um, just want to call you to keep you posted. I miss you. I love you. Bye," the person said.

In the second voicemail, the person was apparently upset by someone else answering Te'o's phone.

The third voicemail was left on Sept. 11, Te'o says, the day he believed Kekua was released from the hospital and the day before she "died."

"Hey babe, I'm just calling to say goodnight," the person on the voicemail said. "I love you. I know that you're probably doing homework or you're with the boys. ... But I just wanted to say I love you and goodnight and I'll be ok tonight. I'll do my best. Um, yeah, so get your rest and I'll talk to you tomorrow. I love you so much, hon. Sweet dreams."

Couric suggested he person who left those messages might have been Ronaiah Tuisasosopo, a 22-year-old man from California, who Te'o said has apologized to him for pulling the hoax.

"Do you think that could have been a man on the other end of the phone?" she asked.

"Well, it didn't sound like a man," Te'o said. "It sounded like a woman. If he somehow made that voice, that's incredible. That's an incredible talent to do that. Especially every single day."

Tuiasosopo has not spoken publicly since news of the hoax broke. The Associated Press has learned that a home in California where Te'o sent flowers to the Kekua family was once a residence of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo and has been in his family for decades.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

  • SportsMore>>

  • Shiffrin gets silver in Vonn's last Olympic race; Gisin wins

    Shiffrin gets silver in Vonn's last Olympic race; Gisin wins

    Thursday, February 22 2018 11:26 PM EST2018-02-23 04:26:32 GMT
    (AP Photo/Christophe Ena). United States' Lindsey Vonn comes to a stop in the finish area of the women's combined downhill at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Jeongseon, South Korea, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018.(AP Photo/Christophe Ena). United States' Lindsey Vonn comes to a stop in the finish area of the women's combined downhill at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Jeongseon, South Korea, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018.
    American teammates Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin meet in their 1st Olympic race and it will go down to the wire. 
    American teammates Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin meet in their 1st Olympic race and it will go down to the wire. 
  • Vonn scatters grandfather's ashes near downhill course

    Vonn scatters grandfather's ashes near downhill course

    Thursday, February 22 2018 11:26 PM EST2018-02-23 04:26:29 GMT
    (AP Photo/Felipe Dana). United States' Lindsey Vonn, center, smiles as she receives gifts and a letter of appreciation for her grandfather's service during the Korean War from members of the Yongsan Club in Jeongseon, South Korea, Thursday, Feb. 22, 20...(AP Photo/Felipe Dana). United States' Lindsey Vonn, center, smiles as she receives gifts and a letter of appreciation for her grandfather's service during the Korean War from members of the Yongsan Club in Jeongseon, South Korea, Thursday, Feb. 22, 20...
    Somber rite: Lindsey Vonn scatters grandfather's ashes on rock near downhill course. 
    Somber rite: Lindsey Vonn scatters grandfather's ashes on rock near downhill course. 
  • Unprepared and outclassed, North Korea wraps up Olympics

    Unprepared and outclassed, North Korea wraps up Olympics

    Thursday, February 22 2018 9:15 PM EST2018-02-23 02:15:59 GMT
    Unprepared and outclassed, North Korea's 22 athletes wrap up their competition at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics without a medal _ or even a finish higher than 13th. 
    Unprepared and outclassed, North Korea's 22 athletes wrap up their competition at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics without a medal _ or even a finish higher than 13th. 
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 Midwest Television, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.