Dr. Phil on the Manti Hoax Perpetrator
January 29, 2013
ET sat down for a new interview with Dr. Phil to discuss his one-on-one with, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the mastermind behind the Manti Te'o dating hoax.
Dr. Phil believes that for Tuiasosopo, "This was a deep, romantic connection that was two-way between Ronaiah and Manti and between Manti and Ronaiah with the understanding that Manti did not know this was a man."
Earlier this month, news broke that the girlfriend of former Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o never existed. Te'o made headlines with the story of how his "girlfriend," Lennay Kekua, died from leukemia.
He described to ESPN how he got the news of her passing, saying, "I get a text message from [Lennay's] brother, just saying 'Bro. That was it.' I wondered why her brother was contacting me. Couple minutes later, I get the call from her brother. He's telling me, he's crying, screaming, and he's just telling me, 'She's gone! She's gone!' He's mumbling, 'She's gone, she's gone, bro', she's gone.' And I'm sitting there wondering who is gone? Why is he telling me that somebody's gone. Lennay's supposed to get home on September 11th, the day before. She was fine, you know? She was going home, she was fine. People were saying that she's getting better. I get a phone call that she's gone. They tell me Lennay's gone."
Te'o's grandmother passed away earlier the same day.
While some have speculated that Te'o may have had something to do with the hoax, Te'o maintains that he was the unsuspecting victim of "Catfishing."
"I wasn't faking it. I wasn't part of this," said Te'o, who admitted to lying about actually meeting Kekua because he believed his friends, family and coaches would think he was "crazy" for engaging in an intense relationship with someone he'd never met.
For more, tune in to ET tonight. Check your local listings.