|Te'o's Hoaxer Reveals Why Fake Girlfriend 'Died'|
|By CHRISTINA NG (@ChristinaNg27)||Jan 31, 2013, 12:52 PM|
Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the alleged mastermind behind the Manti Te'o "catfish" hoax, told Dr. Phil today that he killed off fake girlfriend Lennay Kekua because Te'o told "her" he didn't need her anymore and had been talking to four other girls on Skype.
Tuiasosopo said that Lennay and Te'o had broken up when "things had gotten a little shaky" two weeks earlier. He said that when he checked Te'o's social media accounts, which he had the passwords to, he found that the only irregularity were conversations with other girls on Skype.
An angry "Lennay" called Te'o and demanded to know if he had been talking to other girls. Te'o then told her that his grandmother had just passed away, which Tuiasosopo claimed he did not know.
"Forget I ever asked the question," Tuiasosopo recalled telling Te'o. "I'm here for you. I'll support you. I'm praying for your family."
He claimed an angry Te'o said he didn't need her, never needed her and didn't want to speak to her again. He also said that Te'o later texted that he had been talking to other girls on Skype, including two of his ex-girlfriends.
Tuiasosopo said that Te'o's anger hit him hard and upset him, as Ronaiah, not just as Lennay.
"I poured so much into Lennay," Tuiasosopo said. "I was crying that morning, hurt, emotionally."
He decided at that point that he couldn't be Lennay anymore and need to end it.
Dr. Phil McGraw pressed Tuiasosopo to replicate the fake girlfriend's voice that spent countless hours talking to the Notre Dame star linebacker.
"Much of this relationship you had was on the phone...let me hear that voice," Dr. Phil demanded of Tuiasosopo. "If that is you on those voicemails, then prove it."
"I can't, even if I tried," Tuiasosopo said. "There's a whole lot that went into pushing me to do something like that..to go to that extreme consistently. Even if I tried, it doesn't come off right."
Tuiasosopo said it was "awkward and uncomfortable" and he had never done the voice in front of a person, doing it alone in a dark room every time.
Dr. Phil told Tuiasosopo that he was "very skeptical" and just wanted the truth.
A lawyer for Tuiasosopo has claimed that Tuiasosopo used a falsetto voice to impersonate Te'o's fictitious girlfriend Lennay Kekua for two years. The attorney has not responded to requests for comment from ABC News.
Te'o told ABC's Katie Couric that he doubted it was a man's voice he listened to all those hours and audio experts who reviewed voice emails from Lennay for ABC News concluded it was a woman talking.
Tuiasosopo initially refused to recreate the voice, but eventually agreed to do it behind a privacy screen. That portion of the interview is scheduled to be shown during part two of the interview on Friday.
Tuiasosopo said that it is "very shameful" and "very painful" to talk about the deception, but insists that he never asked for anything from Te'o and that the emotions were real.
"My heart had invested not just time, but all of my energy into this," he told Dr. Phil. "As twisted and confusing as it may be...yeah, I cared for this person."
Tuiasosopo told Dr. Phil that he fell in love with Te'o. He also said that he is working to "recover from homosexuality," which he compared to being a recovering drug addict.
Dr. Phil said that he and Tuiasosopo watched Te'o's interview with Couric on Jan. 24 and then sat down for their own conversation.
He said that Tuiasosopo, 22, told him that his feelings were genuine during the two-year hoax, but he struggled to come clean.
"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,'' Tuiasosopo said. "I had to start just living and let this go. There were many times where Manti and Lennay had broken up, but something would bring them back together whether it was something going on in his life or in Lennay's life, or in this case, my life.''
Kekua supposedly died of leukemia while Te'o led his Notre Dame football team to the championship game.
Te'o, 21, told Couric last week that Tuiasosopo called him on Jan. 16 to confess to masterminding the hoax.