NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

January 31, 2013

Dr. Phil: Te'o was victim of girlfriend hoax

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Dr. Phil McGraw says Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, who masterminded the dead girlfriend hoax involving Manti Te’o, told him the Notre Dame linebacker was not involved in the scheme and that he ended up falling “deeply, romantically” in love with the football player.

McGraw spoke on the “Today” show yesterday, previewing an interview he did with Tuiasosopo, a 22-year-old California man who created the fictional woman Te’o knew as Lennay Kekua. Tuiasosopo’s interview with McGraw will air in two parts on the “Dr. Phil Show” starting today.

Since the hoax was revealed earlier this month, Te’o has said the relationship with Kekua started online and eventually became serious, even though the two only talked on the phone and exchanged electronic messages, never meeting in person. Te’o said he was told of Kekua’s “death” from leukemia just hours after his grandmother died in September.

McGraw said Tuiasosopo told him the voice of Kekua was his. Tuiasosopo and Te’o have each said that while the Kekua relationship went on for several years, there were times when they weren’t in contact.

“There were many times where Manti and Lennay had broken up. But something would bring them back together whether it was something going on in his life, or in Lennay’s life, in this case in my life,” Tuiasosopo said.

Tuiasosopo said he wanted to end the relationship between Kekua and Te’o before he had to fake Kekua’s death.

“I wanted to end it because everything I had gone through, I finally realized that I just had to move on with my life and I had to get me, Ronaiah, I had to start just living and let this go,” Tuiasosopo said.

Te’o’s publicist, Matthew Hiltzik, declined comment on behalf of Te’o and his family.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

NDN Video
SNC Minute: Taney loses to Nevada, Phils win Taney watch party at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy 3 & Out: What to watch for in Eagles' 3rd preseason game Taney still alive despite 'off day' from Mo'ne Davis 'Strange strike zone' a factor in Taney's loss Will Alex Henery be the Eagles' kicker on opening day? The Buzzer: Tattoos, John Wall and Babe Ruth Steelers Running Backs Arrested, Browns Roll with Hoyer Carl Edwards to Drive No. 19 For Joe Gibbs in 2015 Darrell Wallace, Jr steps on Block T and pays for it Larry’s Notebook: Where Does the Aggression Go? Just Call Him Johnny Clipboard - @TheBuzzeronFOX Meyer confident despite losing Miller for the year Reggie Jackson's ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Mo'ne's Mom: She's Up There With LeBron, Kobe - @TheBuzzeronFOX Can Buckeyes fill Miller's void? Manziel mature enough to start? Ditka Blames 'Politically Correct Idiots' For Redskins Controversy - @TheBuzzeronFOx Redskins show solidarity with Ferguson protesters Is Taney a team of destiny?
Special Features