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Manti Te'o Admits Lying Briefly About Hoax

Manti Te'o has admitted he briefly lied after discovering his online girlfriend did not exist and was part of an elaborate hoax.

In an interview with ABC News, the Notre Dame linebacker insisted he had told the truth up until December when he realised he had been duped into believing the woman, Lennay Kekua, had died of cancer.

"I, my whole world told me that she died on September 12. Everybody knew that. This girl, who I committed myself to, died on September 12," Te'o said.

"Now I get a phone call on December 6, saying that she's alive and then I'm going on national TV two days later. And asked about the same question. You know, what would you do?" he asked.

Te'o said he had been tricked by three people - who have now admitted they were behind the deception and have apologised.

However he has previously acknowledged he misled his family and the public about the exact nature of his supposed relationship with Ms Kekua - simply to hide his own embarrassment.

He talked about his doomed love in a web interview on December 8 and again in a newspaper interview published on December 10.

The death had been part of a dramatic series of events as Manti Te'o led his Notre Dame team to the national championship game.

Before a game last year, word spread that Te'o had lost his grandmother and girlfriend within hours of each other. His inspired play afterwards became a stirring storyline.

Te'o's father defended his son in the ABC interview against allegations that the star used the situation for personal gain.

"People can speculate about what they think he is. I've known him 21 years of his life. And he's not a liar. He's a kid," Brian Te'o said with tears in his eyes.

On Tuesday, the woman whose photo was used as the face of the Twitter account of the supposed girlfriend said the man allegedly behind the hoax confessed to her.

Diane O'Meara told NBC that Ronaiah Tuiasosopo used pictures of her without her knowledge in creating the fake identity.