Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the mastermind of the now-epic Manti Te'o fake dead girlfriend hoax
, admitted in his first public interview with Dr. Phil McGraw that he "fell deeply, romantically in love" with the Notre Dame football star.
"I asked him, straight up, was this a romantic relationship with you?" McGraw told NBC's Matt Taibbi during a preview of the two-part interview featured on the "Today" show Wednesday. "And he says, 'yes.' I then said, are you then, therefore, gay? He says, 'Well, when you put it that way, yes.' And then, he caught himself and said, 'I am confused.'"
The full interview will air Thursday and Friday on McGraw's syndicated talk show "Dr. Phil."
The story that captured the nation's attention has now almost completely unraveled. Te'o's highly publicized relationship with Lennay Kekua, his fictional girlfriend who he claimed had died of leukemia, was a lie, crafted by a "confused" Tuiasosopo. The man behind the hoax claims Te'o was completely innocent in the whole scheme and not involved in any way.
Te'o confirmed as much in an interview with Katie Couric
last Thursday. When asked if he was gay, Te'o responded, "Far from it." But he did cop to tailoring the details his relationship with Kekua, telling his father he had met her in person.
Tuiasosopo said he knew the truth would eventually come out.
"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 and had to get me, Ronaiah," Tuiasosopo told McGraw. "I had to start just living and let this go."
Tuiasosopo also claims in the interview that it was his voice on the highly publicized voicemails to Te'o, not that of a female cousin, as was originally thought. On Jan. 25, a cousin of Tuiasosopo told the New York Post that another cousin, Tino Tuiasosopo, played Kekua on the phone and in voicemails.
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