Roniah Tuiasosopo admits to staging an elaborate hoax (Photo Credit: NBC News)
The never-ending saga surrounding Manti Te'o and his former faux girlfriend continues to unravel, with new details filling in the blanks of a truly bizarre and confusing tale. According to Dr. Phil McGraw, Roniah Tuiasosopo, the man behind "Lennay Kekua," the fake woman whom Te'o thought he was dating, was "deeply, romantically" in love with the Notre Dame football player.
On the "Today" show this morning, Dr. Phil previewed his upcoming interview with Tuiasosopo, providing some explanatory details worth noting.
Dr. Phil said that he believes Te'o had nothing to do with the hoax and that the linebacker truly believed, despite only speaking with Tuiasosopo on the telephone and online, that he was in a relationship with Kekua. When the psychologist asked if the scammer is gay, the 22-year-old responded affirmatively, quickly clarifying that he is currently "confused."
"Here we have a young man that fell deeply, romantically in love,’’ McGraw said in an interview with NBC’s Mike Taibbi. "I asked him straight up, 'Was this a romantic relationship with you?’ And he says yes."
During the interview, the hoaxer said that he wanted to end the fake relationship sooner, but that he was unable. He also admitted that it was his voice on phone calls, as he pretended to be Kekua throughout the manufactured relationship.
"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. I had to start just living and let this go," said Tuiasosopo. "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, or in this case, my life."
Dr. Phil McGraw in a Wed. appearance on "Today" (Photo Credit: NBC News)
Tuiasosopo perpetuated the hoax by creating a fake social media profile and he used photos taken from Diane O'Meara's Facebook page (a former high school classmate).
During the preview discussion on "Today," Dr. Phil said that the young man had some life experiences that likely led to serious emotional damage -- something that might explain his motivations for engaging in such bizarre and troubling behavior.
See Dr. Phil discuss his interview with Tuiasosopo, below:
The psychologist's interview with the young man is slated to air in two parts -- the first on Thursday and the second on Friday.