For the first time, the orchestrator of the Manti Te’o girlfriend hoax is speaking publicly on the matter.
Ronaiah Tuiasosopo sat down with Dr. Phil this week for an exclusive interview. Tuiasosopo claims that he created Lennay Kekua, and the Notre Dame linebacker was simply the victim of a prank.
The interview will air in two parts on “The Dr. Phil Show." Viewers can watch Part One and Two on Thursday and Friday afternoon, respectively. Check local listings to see what time and channel the show airs in your area.
On Thursday morning, Dr. Phil McGraw appeared on the “Today Show” to discuss the interview. He spent a number of hours with Tuiasosopo and his parents, at the behest of Tuiasosopo’s psychiatrist.
“Ronaiah has a number of life experiences that damaged this young man in some very serious ways,” said McGraw.
According to McGraw, Tuiasosopo developed real feelings for Te’o.
“Here we have a young man that fell deeply, romantically in love,” said McGraw. “I asked him straight up, ‘Was this a romantic relationship with you?’ And he says yes. I said, ‘Are you then therefore gay?’ And he said, ‘When you put it that way, yes.’ And then he caught himself and said, ‘I am confused.’”
Tuiasosopo asserted that it was his voice that Te’o heard when the football player thought he was talking to Kekua. Last week, Tuiasosopo’s relatives told the New York Post that it was his cousin who spoke to Te’o. ABC's "Good Morning America" had audio experts study recordings of voicemails saved by Te’o, and they concluded it was a woman who was speaking.
Below is a portion of the interview, which was aired on the “Today Show.”