Te'o's knowledge about the details of his girlfriend's life was often murky, including her majors in school, occupation and extent of her injuries after an alleged April 28 car accident with a drunk driver.
What he was absolutely clear about was how much time he spent in contact with her, especially while she was in the hospital recovering from the car accident, which led to the discovery of her leukemia.
"I talked to my girlfriend every single day," Te'o told Themel. "I slept on the phone with her every single day. When she was going through chemo, she would have all these pains and the doctors were saying they were trying to give her medicine to make her sleep. She still couldn't sleep. She would say, 'Just call my boyfriend and have him on the phone with me, and I can sleep.' I slept on the phone with her every single night."
He would spend eight hours a night with someone, somewhere, breathing on the other end, he told Thamel.
Te'o recounted how his girlfriend who was "on a machine" after being in a coma.
"We lost her, actually, twice. She flatlined twice. They revived her twice," he said. "It was just a trippy situation."
For a while Kekua was unable to talk and he described the nurse-deemed "miracle" of how Kekua's breathing would pick up when she heard his voice on the phone.
"There were lengthy, long telephone conversations. There was sleeping with the phone on connected to each other," Swarbrick said. "The issue of who it is, who's playing what role, what's real and what's not here is a more complex question than I can get into."
Perhaps one of the most touching displays of love from Kekua to Te'o, he told the writer, was the one-page letter she would write him on her iPad before each game. One of her siblings, often her twin brother Noa, would then read him the letter over the phone before sending it to him.
"She and I, man, we had this relationship where it was just amazing," Te'o told Thamel. "With all of that time on her hands in the hospital, she was never thinking about herself and what was hurting her. She was just always thinking about others. She went on and wrote a letter to me before every game. Things that she would want me to know."
When Kekua "died" in September 2012, the news came from her brother who texted Te'o from Kekua's phone number, he told Thamel. The brother then called Te'o to deliver the news.
"He was just crying and crying and crying," Te'o said. "I just had to calm him down. I was like, 'You have to speak clearly. I need to know what's going on.' That's when he told me, 'Lala is gone.' That's what they call her. They call her Lala."
"Catfish" movie director and actor Ariel Schulman told "Good Morning America" that he believes there may have been "a few other people duped by the fake Lennay character."
Te'o at first kept a low-profile after the news of the scandal broke. But he has since released a statement calling the situation "incredibly embarrassing" and granted an interview to ESPN. A
BC News' Katie Couric will conduct the first on-camera interview with Manti Te'o for her syndicated daytime talk show, "Katie," on Jan. 24 .