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In an interview with Dr. Phil McGraw set to air Thursday, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the man behind the dead girlfriend hoax, says that he was the voice of Manti Te'o's "girlfriend," Lennay Kekua, and that the Notre Dame star had no role in the hoax.
"There were many times when Manti and Lennay have broken up," Tuiasosopo said, "but something would bring them back together, whether it was something going on in his life or Lennay's life or in this case my life."
McGraw said that Tuiasosopo fell deeply in love with Te'o and that it turned into a romantic relationship for him.
"Here we have a young man that fell deeply, romantically in love," McGraw told NBC. "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.' "
McGraw told NBC that Te'o "absolutely, unequivocally" wasn't involved in the hoax.
The hoax has been one of the strangest stories in recent memory and all got started when Deadspin.com reported that the inspirational story about Te'o using his girlfriend's death from leukemia as an inspiration was found out to be a hoax. The report says that the girl Te'o claimed was his girlfriend was a made up identity and that the woman, Lennay Kekua, did not exist.
More and more news continued to come out, with Tuiasosopo emerging as the main culprit. Te'o had said he spent many hours on the phone speaking to his girlfriend and they would often sleep with each other on the other side of the phone. When Te'o found out about the hoax, he was nervous about all of Notre Dame's media attention and kept it going.
One big theory that has come up since the hoax story broke was that Te'o was trying to cover up a homosexual relationship.
In her TV interview with Te'o last week, Katie Couric asked him if he was gay.
"No, far from it," he said. "Faaaaarrrr from it."
Tuiasosopo told McGraw in the interview that he started the hoax over two years prior and knew that as Notre Dame and Te'o started to rise in profile this season that the hoax was going to be found out.
Tuiasosopo said: "I wanted to end it because after everything I had gone through I finally realized that I just had to move on with my life and had to get ... you know, my real me, Ronaiah ... I just had to start living and let this go."
McGraw said he spent time with Tuiasosopo and his parents.
"Ronaiah had a number of life experiences that damaged this young man in some very serious ways," he said.
Te'o gave his first interview on the subject off-camera to ESPN's Jeremy Schaap and revealed text messages and internet messages that were from the fake person. He later went in front of the camera with Katie Couric.
Couric asked Te'o to admit that he was in on the deception, but he said that he believed Kekua had died of cancer and that he didn't conceal the truth that she didn't exist until December.
"Katie, put yourself in my situation. I, my whole world told me that she died on Sept. 12. Everybody knew that. This girl, who I committed myself to, died on Sept. 12," Te'o said. The Heisman Trophy runner-up said he only learned of the hoax when he received the phone call in December from a woman saying she was Kekua.
"Now I get a phone call on Dec. 6, saying that she's alive, and then I'm going be put on national TV two days later. And to ask me about the same question. You know, what would you do?" Te'o said.
Things continued to snowball as the story became more known, with Te'o being revealed to have a girlfriend after his fake one was reportedly dead, as well as internet trend of "Teoing" took off. Notre Dame stood by the linebacker and supported him throughout the ordeal.