Catfishing Perpetrator Admits Feelings for Te'o
By ETONLINE STAFF
January 30, 2013
In Dr.Phil's one-on-one with Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the mastermind behind the Manti Te'o dating hoax, Dr. Phil gets at the heart of what drove Ronaiah to execute the 2-year prank.
"I grew feelings that sooner or later I couldn't control anymore," Ronaiah told Dr. Phil, explaining his actions.
While he admitted to being in love with Manti, Ronaiah wouldn't confirm his sexual orientation, describing himself as neither gay nor straight but "confused."
Te'o's was one of the most heart-wrenching yet inspirational stories of the college football season - within a 24-hour time span the former Notre Dame linebacker lost his grandmother and his girlfriend. Earlier this month, it was revealed that his girlfriend never existed.
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," Te'o said in an interview with ESPN. Te'o also 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 a girl he'd never met.
Dr. Phil was convinced of Te'o's innocence, telling ET, "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."
As for Ronaiah's mental health, Dr. Phil says, "I don't think he lost the distinction between fantasy and reality, but he certainly moved between them with great ease … He is a very bright young man. I think he's had some life experiences along the way that have damaged him."
Catch the entire interview with Ronaiah tomorrow and Friday on Dr. Phil.