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Man behind Manti Te'o hoax had 'romantic feelings' for the footballer

Yahoo!7 January 31, 2013, 10:44 am

Ronaiah Tuiasosopo and inset, the real 'Lennay Kekua', Diane O'Meara. Source: NBC & Getty Images

The man at the centre of the Manti Te’o girlfriend hoax has admitted to talk-show host Dr Phil McGraw that he had “romantic feelings” for the Notre Dame college football star.

“Here we have a young man that fell deeply and romantically in love,” McGraw told NBC of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the mastermind behind the embarrassing lie.

“Ronaiah had a number of life experiences that damaged this young man in some very serious ways.”

Tuiasosopo was a family friend of Te’o who created ‘Lennay Kekua’, the girl who survived a car accident and died of leukemia.

Tuiasosopo led on the linebacker, pursuing a relationship via online and telephone contact. The photo Te’o had of Kekua was actually of an old classmate, Diane O'Meara. The voice he spoke to on the phone was not Kekua either. Some reported it was the voice of Tuiasosopo’s female cousin, Tino, but Tuiasosopo admitted to McGraw that it was in fact his voice on the other end of the line.

“I asked him straight up, ‘Was this a romantic relationship with you?’ And he says yes. I said, ‘Are you then therefore gay?’ And he said, ‘Well, when you put it that way, yes.’ And then he caught himself and said, ‘I am confused,’” McGraw said.

Te’o confessed in an interview with Katie Couric last week that he had never actually met Kekua, despite claiming as such throughout 2012 as his tragic loss drew many sympathisers. He also vehemently denied to Couric that he was a homosexual.

Source: Getty Images

Previewing the much-anticipated interview with Tuiasosopo, set to air later in the week, McGraw said he asked whether Te’o had knowledge of the hoax.

“Absolutely, unequivocally, no,” McGraw repeated.

Te’o’s story of heartache after the death of his grandmother and supposed death of his girlfriend, struck a chord with the US public. His display of strength on the football field in the face of adversity was admired by millions. He was one of three finalists in the running for to win college football’s highest honour – the Heisman Trophy.

Tuiossospo is aiming to put the issue to bed by confessing to the hoax and sharing his side of the story.

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

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  1. JFW06:58pm Thursday 31st January 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    Lets get back to basics, gay is an english word for being happy. People who say they are gay are either Lesbian or homosexual, we have words for their preferences, lets use them.

    1 Reply
  2. Garrie06:20pm Thursday 31st January 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    One very,very sick little puppy

    2 Replies
  3. Steven06:06pm Thursday 31st January 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    That dude is definitely going to hell anyway i reckon - being a s,h,i,t, stabber that he is. I reckon this dude, mundine and tomic should all have a threesome - theyre all fkin kok heads aye to be sure.

    4 Replies
  4. Ugnisaet06:02pm Thursday 31st January 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    dirty little chit sniffer

    2 Replies
  5. Steven05:55pm Thursday 31st January 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    also the fact that the dude with the long and complicated name lied about that poor deceased girl......she is dead and cannot defend herself / tell her side of the story. I hope he goes to hell. Poor excuse for a human being.

    2 Replies
  6. Steven05:48pm Thursday 31st January 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    LOL,......he says "I realised I had to let this go...".....LOL ...what de hell did he think was gonna happen? did he think the football player was gonna fall in love with him? fkin idiot. If your gay - go for gay people. Dont bother straight dudes with your perversions. Its just as sad and stupid when a woman tries to convert a gay man to loving her..... they dont realise it but if they are that desperate to need to try and convert a gay dude instead of getting a straight man.....what the hell does it say about their attractiveness / desirability....OMG. But as for this dude ..... if I was the football player I would make a statement - "i'm glad he came forward and admitted what he did....and im glad its over and I hope he gets the help he needs......"

  7. Brian05:12pm Thursday 31st January 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    Certainly had the ' balls ' to do what he did.

  8. Eric05:11pm Thursday 31st January 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    tell someone who cares.........

  9. Eric05:08pm Thursday 31st January 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    Tell someone who cares.

  10. Joe04:27pm Thursday 31st January 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    just proves, don't beleive everything you read even proffesionals get it wrong; don't judge, none of us are angels. fafe tai i LEATUA... Thank GOD!