The man behind the Manti Te’o fake girlfriend hoax, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, admitted to Dr. Phil McGraw that he fell in love with the former Notre Dame football star over the course of a three-year online relationship. (RELATED: A guide to the Manti Te’o hoax in 11 crazy steps)
“The Today Show” aired a clip of the interview airing Thursday and McGraw’s reaction to Tuiasosopo’s confession.
McGraw told “Today’s” Mike Taibbi, “Here we have a young man that fell deeply, romantically in love. I asked him straight up, ‘Was this a romantic relationship with you?’ And he says yes.”
McGraw continued, “I said, ‘Are you then therefore gay?’ And [Tuiasosopo] said, ‘When you put it that way, yes.’ And then he caught himself and said, ‘I am confused.’”
Tuiasosopo also told McGraw that Te’o was “absolutely, unequivocally” not involved with perpetuating the hoax. Tuiasosopo also confirmed that he spent over 500 hours on the phone with Te’o, all the while pretending to be a woman.
Last week, Te’o sat down with Katie Couric and admitted that he lied briefly about the relationship with his online girlfriend, even after he discovered it was a hoax in early December.
“Katie, put yourself in my situation. I, my whole world told me that she died on Sept. 12. Everybody knew that. This girl, who I committed myself to, died on Sept. 12,” Te’o said.
He continued, “Now I get a phone call on Dec. 6, saying that she’s alive and then I’m going be put on national TV two days later. And to ask me about the same question. You know, what would you do?”