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Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, man behind Manti Te'o girlfriend hoax, speaks out

Ronaiah Tuiasosopo is seen in a yearbook photo.
January 31, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
The man behind a hoax against Manti Te'o has spoken out with Dr. Phil McGraw on a two-part edition of "Dr. Phil," saying he fell in love with the Notre Dame football star.

Ronaiah Tuiasosopo says he didn't create Teo's fake girlfriend for financial gain, and it wasn't some sort of sick joke. He says he genuinely fell in love with the man.

Tuiasosopo, who was raised by a Methodist pastor father, told McGraw he is "probably" gay, but in that he has "recovered."

Tuiasosopo says he created a Lennay Kekua profile on Facebook, and that Te'o friend requested Kekua, not the other way around.

Tuiasosopo insists he was the only one creating Kekua's voice in phone conversations with Te'o, but declined to demonstrate when McGraw asked.

"I can't. I'm sorry, it's really awkward and uncomfortable," Tuiasosopo said.

Tuiasosopo says Te'o and Kekua were on-and-off again. On the same day Te'o's grandmother died, Tuiasosopo says Te'o told Kekua he was talking to other girls through Skype. So, a jealous Tuiasosopo killed off Kekua.

"They would break up and then something would bring them back together whether it was something in his life or in Lennay's life, in this case, in my life. I wanted to end it, because after everything I had gone through, I had finally realized that I had to move on with my life," Tuiasosopo said.

Tuiasosopo repeatedly refused to speak in Kekua's voice, but eventually stepped behind a curtain to do so. McGraw left that recording out of Thursday's broadcast, but was expected to show the impersonation during part two of the interview on Friday.

The Te'o family has declined to comment on this latest development in the hoax.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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