Manti Te'o says he had no choice but to keep talking about that fake girlfriend who supposedly died of cancer. He told Katie Couric about what he calls the online romance turned hoax.
"Well, if anybody put yourself in my situation. Katie, put yourself in my situation. I, my whole world told me that she died on Sept. 12. Everybody knew that," he told her in an exclusive interview that airs Thursday. "This girl, who I committed myself to, died on Sept.12. Now, I get a phone call on Dec. 6, saying that she's alive and then I'm going to be put on national TV two days later. And to ask me about the same question. You know, what would you do?"
Te'o says he never met the girl he called the love of his life. It sounds unbelievable to some, but not to his father.
"I've known him 21 years of his life. And he's not a liar. He's a kid," said Brian Te'o.
"A lot of times people can really dive too far in and get too emotionally attached right off from the get go," said Jason Denis.
Denis is a dating coach at Harmony Us in Tampa. When it comes to matters of the heart, he's seen some move much too fast.
"There's that spontaneous reaction going on from when they see the picture, when they read the bio, and they think there's that connection there," Denis said.
For Te'o, it became very public, very fast, and it could leave very damaging effects on his career.
"Any sports hero, their brand is more than their performance. It's their home life, their personal life," said UT marketing professor Erika Matulich.
But what about your personal life if you start an online relationship? There's advice on avoiding a fake.
"Don't make this a long virtual romance. Try to cut it to the chase and take it from online TO offline as quickly as possible," Denis said.
He doesn't necessarily mean a face-to-face meeting right away.
Denis advices you start with a phone call, and don't get too attached before moving the relationship off the computer screen and into real life.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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