NEW YORK (AP) — Manti Te’o told Katie Couric the feelings he had for what turned out to be a fake, online girlfriend were real and reiterated he had nothing to do with the hoax.

The All-American linebacker said he was truly sorrowful and pained after finding out the woman he knew as Lennay Kekua died in September.

Te’o’s once-heartwarming tale of inspired play after the deaths of his grandmother and girlfriend on the same day in September was exposed as a bizarre hoax on Jan. 16. Deadspin.com broke the news that the woman Te’o had claimed to be in love with did not exist.

Te’o, who led Notre Dame to a spot in the national championship, has admitted that when his girlfriend’s “death” became a story, he misled reporters into thinking he had met her in the flesh.

The star player recounted the whole, strange episode in an interview with Couric that was broadcast Thursday.

(Photo: AP)

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