Man at center of Te'o hoax says he was in love

Published On: Jan 31 2013 10:09:25 AM EST
Manti Te'o on Katie

A California man says he created the hoax involving former Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o and a fake girlfriend because he was in love with the football player.

Ronaiah Tuiasosopo (roh-NY-ah too-ee-AH'-so-SO'-poh), spoke publicly for the first time in an interview with Dr. Phil McGraw for the "Dr. Phil Show," the first part of which aired Thursday.

The 22-year-old Tuiasosopo says he created the online persona of Lennay Kekua, a nonexistent woman who Te'o said he fell for without ever meeting and later believed had died of leukemia.

Tuiasosopo says Te'o knew nothing of the hoax. He also says the loyalty and support he gave Te'o was real.

Tuiasosopo says he is trying to "recover from homosexuality" and get his real life back. McGraw replied that "I have so much to say to you about what you just said, because a lot of it bothers me so much."

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