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Score another point for Manti Te’o in his battle to prove that he had nothing to do with fooling America into thinking he had a girlfriend.

In an interview with People, Alexandra del Pilar – who dated the Notre Dame linebacker for two months in late 2012 – says Te’o often referenced Lennay Kekua and acted every bit like someone who believed she died of leukemia on September 12.

“Lennay was often brought up in conversation,” Del Pilar says. “I wanted to know about her, and how they did the long distance. He definitely [loved her].”


Del Pilar went on to say she was drawn to Te’o due to his focus on “family.”

“That’s what drew us together,” she explained.

She also confirmed that Te’o really did receive a phone call in early December from someone claiming to be Kekua, saying she faked her own death.

“I was sick to my stomach. I cried,” she says of when Te’o told her what had happened. “Nothing made sense. But since he didn’t understand it either, he told me everything he knew.

“I just felt completely sorry for him because he was being accused of things he had no idea about. People were quick to jump on who he is as a person – especially after all the praise they had given him for everything he did at Notre Dame.”

In a released snippet of his interview with Katie Couric, Te’o admits to lying about his girlfriend in a pair of discussions with reporters because he had just received the confusing December phone call and had no idea how to react.