Manti Te'o Hoaxer on Why He Killed Fake Girlfriend
January 31, 2013
Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the man behind the Manti Te'o girlfriend hoax, sat down with Dr. Phil, revealing that jealousy was behind his decision to 'kill' Lennay Kekua - the fake girlfriend character that he created.
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 Te'o was the victim of catfishing and that his girlfriend never existed.
In speaking with Dr. Phil, Tuiasosopo recalled a phone conversation they had on September 12, where Tuiasosopo was still posing as Kekua.
"I just said, 'Look, you just have to answer this yes or no and I'll know where to go from here: Have you been Skyping other girls? Yes or no,'" Tuiasosopo said. "Simple as that. He then said, 'How insensitive. Just to let you know, my grandmother passed away.'"
Tuiasosopo continued: "He went on further and said, 'No, I don't need you.' I was just like, 'Whoa, you know what? I understand.' I left that and said no matter what, you know, I still love you and I care for you, and I hope that everything works out. I'll be praying for your family.
"Then I said, 'Forget I ever asked the question, forget everything. I didn't know that she was sick. You never told me she's been sick for weeks now. We talked every night on the phone, sleep on the phone every night together… so how was I supposed to know that she was even sick?'"
Te'o replied, "I never needed you, I'll never need you. I don't ever want to talk to you again, I never want to see you."
Tuiasosopo said that Te'o then revealed that he had been Skyping with four other girls, which hurt Tuiasosopo.
"It hit me like a brick wall. I was like, 'Whoa, I've given so much into this.' And I realized right then in that moment, that I poured so much into Lennay, that I myself was getting nothing, and look what I was left with."
On what drove him to execute the hoax in the first place, Tuiasosopo said that he "grew feelings that sooner or later [he] couldn't control anymore."
While he admitted to being in love with Te'o, Tuiasosopo wouldn't confirm his sexual orientation, describing himself as neither gay nor straight but "confused."
Watch the second part of Dr. Phil's interview with Tuiasosopo tomorrow. Check your local listings.