Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the man behind the infamous Manti Te’o hoax, came clean during an interview with Dr. Phil McGraw on "Dr. Phil."
He explained to the television host that he pretended to be Lennay Kekua, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o's girlfriend, because he had been molested as a child.
The story blew up throughout the Internet and across the nation partly because of MTV’s show “Catfish,” a pseudo reality-show that helps people discover the true identity of their online loves -- most of the time, people find out that their online boyfriend/girlfriend is not the person they thought they were talking to.
Kekua never existed, and Tuiasosopo explained to McGraw he created her after being continually molested as a child starting when he was 12 years old, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The publication also added that Tuiasosopo did not reveal the name of his attacker or whether or not he had told police about being attacked.
Tuiasosopo claims in the interview that pretending to be Kekua helped him escape from reality, and, by Te’o falling in love with her, it also helped validate that he was a good person inside -- as convoluted as it may be.
The hoaxer reportedly apologized to Te’o in the interview and also performed his Kekua voice.
Tuiasosopo reportedly felt too uncomfortable to do the voice in person, according to TMZ, but once he was behind a curtain, he was able to reenact voice mails that he had left for Te’o.
The website added that experts believed the voices to be a match.
In a clip from the show that appeared on YouTube, Tuiasosopo explained why he chose to end Kekua and Te’o’s relationship.
“For many reasons,” the infamous hoaxer told McGraw. “There were many times where Manti and Lennay had broken up before. They would break up and then something would bring them back together whether it was something going on in his life or Lennay’s life.
“I wanted to end it, because, after everything I had gone through, finally realized I had to move on with my life. Me, Ronaiah, I had to start living and let this go," he said.
Check out the clip below:
Maria Vultaggio is a reporter for the Continuous News Desk (CND), where she covers trending topics and breaking news for the International Business Times....