suntimes
CONFUSED 
Weather Updates

Dr. Phil: Man behind girlfriend hoax loved Te’o

In this Jan. 24 2013 phoprovided by CBS TelevisiDistribution/Peteski Productions talk show host Dr. Phil McGraw left interviews Ronaiah Tuiasosopo

In this Jan. 24, 2013, photo provided by CBS Television Distribution/Peteski Productions, talk show host Dr. Phil McGraw, left, interviews Ronaiah Tuiasosopo during taping for the "Dr. Phil Show" in Los Angeles. The program, scheduled to air Thursday, Jan. 31, and Friday, Feb. 1, will show the first on-air interview of Tuiasosopo, the man who allegedly concocted the girlfriend hoax that ensnared Notre Dame football star Manti Te'o. (AP Photo/CBS Television Distribution/Peteski Productions)

storyidforme: 43849533
tmspicid: 16231093
fileheaderid: 7301573

NEW YORK — Dr. Phil McGraw says Manti Te’o was not involved in setting up the dead girlfriend hoax that became a sensation when it was exposed this month, and that the man who masterminded the scheme did so because he was “deeply, romantically” in love with the Notre Dame linebacker.

McGraw spoke on the “Today” show Wednesday, previewing an interview he did with Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, a California man who set up the fake identity of Lennay Kekua. Tuiasosopo’s interview with McGraw will air in two parts on the “Dr. Phil Show” starting Thursday.

Te’o says he thought of Kekua as his girlfriend, though the two had only talked on the phone and exchanged electronic messages, and the story of how Te’o learned Kekua “died” on the same day in September as his grandmother because a major story during the football season.

McGraw says “absolutely, unequivocally” Te’o had no role in creating the hoax. McGraw also says that when he asked Tuiasosopo if he was gay, the 22-year-old initially said yes and then said “I am confused.”

Te’o also was asked if he is gay, in an interview with Katie Couric that was broadcast last week. Te’o said “no.”



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.