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By United Press International   |   Jan. 25, 2013 at 4:00 AM   |   0 comments

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MANTI TE'O: Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o told U.S. interviewer Katie Couric he didn't create the hoax involving a phony online girlfriend who supposedly died of cancer.

Te'o, 21, maintained he had been tricked into believing Lennay Kekua, the online and phone girlfriend he never met in person, died in September. He said he didn't doubt her existence until she called him in December saying she was alive.

In an interview which aired Thursday on "Katie," Couric asked him if he had "any involvement in creating the scam," to which Te'o replied, "No, I did not."

"I think what people don't realize is the same day everybody else found out about this situation, I found out," he said. "I didn't know it was just somebody's prank."

Te'o also admitted he lied to the media about how he met Kekua, adding, "For people feeling that they were misled, that I'm sorry for."

"I wasn't as forthcoming about it, but I didn't lie. I never was asked, 'Did I meet her in person?' Through the embarrassment and the fear of what people would think about me being committed to this person I didn't have a chance to meet, and she all of a sudden died, that scared me. And to avoid any further conversation, I wasn't as forthcoming as I should have been," he said.

Pressed to comment on how the story made him a sympathetic figure to fans and in the media, Te'o said: "The only thing I basked in is that now I had an impact on people; that people turned to me for inspiration. I think that was the only thing I focused on. My story, I felt, was -- a guy in times of hardship and times of trial, really held strong to his faith... and family. I thought that was my story."

Even if that hardship was exaggerated? Couric wanted to know.

"What I went through was real," Te'o said. "The feelings, the pain, the sorrow -- that was all real. That was something I can't fake."


BARRY MANILOW: Singer-songwriter Barry Manilow says he has canceled performances of his Broadway show through the weekend as he recovers from bronchitis.

The music icon began performances of "Manilow on Broadway" last week and the show was set to open Thursday.

However, he fell ill Tuesday and canceled Tuesday and Wednesday nights' performances.

On Thursday, he announced he is canceling shows for the rest of the week but would be back on stage Tuesday, Jan. 29.

"On doctors' orders, 'Manilow on Broadway,' has been forced to reschedule tonight's opening night along with the remainder of this weekend's performances," a statement from the show's representatives said Thursday. "'Manilow on Broadway' will resume performances on Tuesday, Jan. 29. It turns out the only thing worse than hell and high water is bronchitis. Barry is deeply sorry to disappoint his fans and is doing everything he can to ensure a speedy recovery."

The performances are being re-scheduled.


ROBIN ROBERTS: Robin Roberts returned Thursday to the New York set of "Good Morning America" for the first time since going out on sick leave Aug. 30.

Roberts, 52, is a breast-cancer survivor who underwent a bone-marrow transplant to treat the rare blood disorder, myelodysplastic syndrome, in September. She since has been recuperating at her New York home.

Roberts said last week her doctors want to make sure her vision is clear and skin feels OK when exposed to makeup and lights before clearing her to go back to work.

She also said it is important to see how her healing immune system responds to interaction with her co-workers.

ABC News said Roberts arrived for a dry run at the studio at 5 a.m. ET Thursday, after waking up at 3:45 a.m.

"What a thrill to be back at 'GMA's' Times Square Studio this morning and see the best folks in the world, my 'GMA' family," Roberts said. "I can't wait to get back to the anchor chair in a few weeks."


OLLY MURS: British pop star Olly Murs is to release his first U.S. album "Right Place Right Time" this spring, Columbia Records announced.

Featuring his hit songs "Heart Skips a Beat" featuring Chiddy Bang and "Troublemaker" featuring Flo Rida, the CD will go on sale April 16.

VH1 has name Murs, 28, as its February "You Oughta Know Artist." He was the runner-up on Season 6 of the British version of "The X Factor."

"Olly's rise to fame began after he auditioned in 2009 for Britain's top singing competition show, 'The X Factor.' Simon Cowell said it inspired, 'The easiest yes I've ever given,'" Columbia Records said Tuesday. "In a short amount of time Murs has achieved international success, including two double-platinum albums and four No. 1 singles in the United Kingdom. The British superstar, to date, has sold over 5 million records internationally."

"I'm very excited to be bringing my music Stateside. I'm incredibly grateful for what I've achieved in the U.K. and Europe, so to come to the U.S. is an absolute dream come true. I can't wait to spend a lot more time traveling the U.S. performing my music," Murs said in a statement.

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