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Video: Tuiasosopo ‘fell deeply, romantically in love’ with Te’o

TV-Dr Phil-Girlfriend Hoax AP

Of course that’s the latest plotline in the Manti Te’o soap opera.

Ahead of a two-part interview with Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, alleged mastermind of the dead girlfriend hoax, that will air Thursday and Friday, Dr. Phil McGraw told Mike Taibbi of NBC‘s TODAY show that he “believes Tuiasosopo genuinely fell in love with the Notre Dame star linebacker during the course of the two-year deception.”

The deception involved Tuiasosopo creating a a “girlfriend”Lennay Kekua — with whom Te’o had a mostly online relationship.  The deception was so involved and so deep that, at one point, Te’o proclaimed Kekua as “the love of my life” following her “death” after a “battle” with leukemia.  At some point during a relationship that consisted of social media interaction as well as lengthy telephone conversations, Tuiasosopo, who continued to maintain to Dr. Phil that he was the voice of Kekua despite reports to the contrary, began to have romantic feelings for the Heisman Trophy runner-up.

“Here we have a young man that fell deeply, romantically in love,” McGraw told Taibbi. “I asked him straight up, ‘Was this a romantic relationship with you?’ And he says yes. I said, ‘Are you then therefore gay?’ And he said, ‘When you put it that way, yes.’ And then he caught himself and said, ‘I am confused.'”

(Rest of America: so are we)

Coming out of the interview with Tuiasosopo, Dr. Phil told Taibbi that he believes “absolutely, unequivocally” that Te’o played no role in the creation of the hoax and was simply duped by an individual who “had a number of life experiences that damaged this young man in some very serious ways.”

Te’o had previously sat down for an on-camera interview with Katie Couric and denied any involvement.

Below is the video from the TODAY show segment that aired Wednesday morning, with clips from Dr. Phil’s extensive interview with Tuiasosopo:

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33 Responses to “Video: Tuiasosopo ‘fell deeply, romantically in love’ with Te’o”
  1. be4bama says: Jan 30, 2013 9:57 AM

    All along I’ve thought Te’o wasn’t involved initially. My problem with this story is that Te’o continued with the story that the love of his life had died after leaning he had been duped. (See interview from the Heisman Awards Ceremony).

  2. ridingwithnohandlebars says: Jan 30, 2013 10:04 AM

    ‘I am confused.’

  3. ttalarico says: Jan 30, 2013 10:10 AM

    Te’o was confused also and didn’t know what to do. He was embarrassed and afraid to admit that he was duped.

    Did he make a mistake by not coming out and admitting to the hoax. Absolutely. However, that is very easy for someone to say in retrospect. None of us know what we would have done if we were in his shoes.

    What bothers me the most about this whole thing is not what Te’o didn’t or did do but all the people that automatically assumed that he was in on this and condemned the young, trusting, and yes, confused young man.

  4. swagger91 says: Jan 30, 2013 10:25 AM


  5. blueinok says: Jan 30, 2013 10:59 AM

    Could we please just leave this kid alone! For goodness sakes, lets quit beating a dead horse.

  6. sanduskyshowerboy says: Jan 30, 2013 10:59 AM

    tuiasosopo: the sandusky of the west coast

  7. deadeye says: Jan 30, 2013 11:11 AM

    Just when I thought it couldn’t get any weirder…

  8. rgarritt says: Jan 30, 2013 11:28 AM

    There is no reason for confusion here. Te’o lied about a girlfriend whom he said died from leukemia. She never existed. Throw reality out of the equation. This is a battle over perception. Notre Dame, ESPN, members of the Catholic Church, and anyone else who vouched for Te’o are focusing on someone to blame for getting duped by Te’o. In comes Tuiasosopo. Notre Dame will have you believe that Tuiasosopo is the devil’s spawn, is one of the most capable conmen in the country, and can mimic the voice of a woman with incredible consistency. And that Te’o had been duped and could not have been complicit in the lie. They’re wrong.

  9. boobsmcgoo says: Jan 30, 2013 11:37 AM

    I initially thought Te’o was gay and this was a “beard” situation. I now believe Tuey is the gay one and Manti is just a gullible goofball. If Te’o was gay, there would never have been a fake girlfriend. There would have been two gay dudes on the down low and we never would have heard anything about it.

  10. thenmoveback says: Jan 30, 2013 11:38 AM

    ” the love of his life” yet when she was in a comma he doesn’t visit her? And when she is dying he doesn’t visit her? This guy is full of it, either way he is a liar or a very stupid individual.

  11. goodfieldnohit says: Jan 30, 2013 12:34 PM

    I can’t wait for the day that prototypical NFL running backs give Manti a send off to the CFL.

  12. datdangdrewdundunituhgin says: Jan 30, 2013 12:46 PM

    i still think ND was using this GF persona as a way to launder money into manti’s bank account. hilarious to me that all sorts of people are now – two weeks later – throwing themselves under buses and speaking in definitive terms as to what happened exactly.

    when it comes out that ND cheated to get this guy i will be the first one back here saying i told you so. so for all the ND honks that are going to thumbs down this, have your fun now. you will not be able to bury this forever.

  13. yyyass says: Jan 30, 2013 12:56 PM

    Te’o goes three years without meeting this so-called committed girlfriend? No dating with other girls because of this so-called relationship? He lied about meeting her on multiple occasions. She’s injured in a car crash and he doesn’t visit. She’s dying of lukemia and he doesn’t visit. She “DIES” and he skips the funeral but gets her roses and gets “two picks!”. Please. His crew is successfully clouding the issue with all these other lies and it is apparently working. We KNOW it was a girl on the phone, not his boy-friend, so there’s yet another lie.

    When one finds themselves in a hole, it is best to stop digging.

  14. bphoward says: Jan 30, 2013 1:13 PM

    @ datdangdrewdundunituhgin

    Really?!? Of all the “theories” out there, this has got to take the award for most absurd. If this were the case, what do the Tuiasosopos have to do with this? Believing they are involved in any cover up makes zero sense. The Tuiasosopos are a well respected sports family among Polynesians. Ronny may have had incentive ($$$) to get involved, but the entire family? I don’t buy it. I can’t see the rest of the extended family allowing their name to be stained… especially considering the family connection to USC.

    Assuming that they would, though (and to humor myself), how would they have gone about paying him through “Lennay”? In any scenario, other than cash, multiple forms of ID would have been required (driver’s license, soc. sec. #, etc…), and these would have obviously had to have been forged. The paper trail on something like this would be huge, and have been uncovered at this point.

  15. jpirish58 says: Jan 30, 2013 1:45 PM

    Ok after reading through these comments I surmise that there is a conspiracy , by ND, The Cathoilic Church ,Teo, The Pope, Richard Nixon , oops he was Watergate, um Bill Clinton, nope Lewinsky, um Sandy Hook, No err that was the Govt… Ok Here are the Facts, The Guy Behind the Loax had a crush on Teo, worked a scam. Teo Lied; as far as I know is not a CRIME. He gained no $$$ off it. Last but not least, the person who wrote That ND is lining Teo’s Pockets?. Hey You should work for Deadspin…..There is no story here except, People are going to hold there Breath till the are Blue in the Face waiting news.. Last Thing If you keep diggin for clues eventually You will Hit Hell……….. Get a Life Haters.. No News Here .

  16. floridacock says: Jan 30, 2013 1:49 PM

    Who cares? I would expect this in a slow news time, but this is not it. Get back to the Super Bowl, spring training starting up, the possible return of Tiger, and some fabulous NHL action going on. And any of the bigots posting in here (you know who you are), should crawl back in their holes.

  17. capone888 says: Jan 30, 2013 2:48 PM

    If Te’o would have just played a bit more MMO’s, or been part of the AOL chatroom craze of the mid 90’s, he would have known……everyone who says they are a girl online is really a fat lonely guy living in his mom’s basement looking for attention.

    I still say he knew though.

  18. Deb says: Jan 30, 2013 2:57 PM

    Okay … now I just feel sorry for Manti Te’o. Can this thing get any worse?

  19. jgater1981 says: Jan 30, 2013 3:20 PM

    @jp, you forgot Colonel Sanders. Also, rgarrit or whatever, you are such a moron.

  20. jpirish58 says: Jan 30, 2013 3:53 PM

    The guy admitted to the whole thing But some of the people on here are still calling it a conspiracy. there has to be more to your life.but I could be wrong

  21. letafan4ever says: Jan 30, 2013 5:05 PM

    Lots of lessons for all On Line people to learn.
    Hope once Dr. Phil’s two sessions air, everyone can move on.
    I’m sure Te’o has learned a great deal from this experience as painful as it is.

    Still think this guy Roniah had other relatives play some roles along with him. Wish he would just tell that part of the Truth now so everyone can move on.
    Feel sorry for Diana-oops almost called her Lannay.

    Keep in mind: Manti’s Minister of the Mormon Church, Te’o’s parents, roomate and others talked with this Online, On phone person.
    Voice experts who analyzed the voice tape, say it was a Woman on the phone.

    The most amazing to me, is those that are appalled, spend hours on line on every article about this, Thousand at ESPN and yet find it hard to believe someone could have an On line relationship yet spend most of their LIFE on line under some pen name or guise.

  22. letafan4ever says: Jan 30, 2013 5:08 PM

    Correction: Wish Roniah would tell the Whole truth Ie: who he had play these roles with him.

    He even brought the little “cousin” with him to SC to meet Manti.

  23. amosalanzostagg says: Jan 30, 2013 9:05 PM

    If I’m an NFL GM Te’o is off my board. Either the guy is incredibly naive and stupid (which I would not want to pay a kid millions of dollars because I don’t want a STUPID person anchoring my defense.) or he is a calculating and manipulative individual who could have serious mental issues.

    Te’o cost himself millions of dollars. He’ll be lucky to
    be drafted in second round and have a back end loaded contract with morals clauses out the kazoo.

    I feel sorry for the kid.

  24. nuggets43 says: Jan 30, 2013 9:32 PM

    Lets be rational for minute, Manti was the top player coming out of high school, he played four years at Notre Dame, after his junior year he was a consensus first round pick but came back, and then his senior year he was the leader of a defense that was among the best in the country. The title game was atrocious, but look at his entire four year career. Where’s the evidence that he’s too dumb to be a middle linebacker? The NFL is full of morons.

  25. gatorprof says: Jan 30, 2013 9:55 PM

    All an elegant ploy to take attention off the fact that he looked like a boy trying to tackle men vs. Bama.

  26. Deb says: Jan 30, 2013 10:42 PM

    @gatorprof …

    I’m not sure “elegant” is the word 😉

  27. teflonjon says: Jan 30, 2013 11:09 PM

    thenmoveback says: Jan 30, 2013 11:38 AM

    {” the love of his life” yet when she was in a comma he doesn’t visit her? And when she is dying he doesn’t visit her? This guy is full of it, either way he is a liar or a very stupid individual.}

    Te’o doesn’t think commas are a big deal, if she had been in an apostrophe however, he would’ve been at her bedside immediately.

  28. 1historian says: Jan 30, 2013 11:27 PM

    Ridingwithnohandlebars states “I am confused”.

    1Historian states “I don’t give a shit”

  29. badintent says: Jan 30, 2013 11:55 PM

    bidwell and dree brees want an explanation

  30. jpirish58 says: Jan 31, 2013 10:28 AM


    Teo’ is a late 1st early 2nd at the latest. Morals Clauses? Give me a break. He Lied, & embellished a lie. Wooo. Wow. Last time I checked that wasnt a crime. He didnt shoot anyone or accept any payola like some SEC hoodlums who were drafted in 1st rd. Get real & get a life. Oh make sure you watch Dr Phil I think he can help you…..

  31. 1historian says: Jan 31, 2013 5:01 PM

    anyone who can watch both dr. fill AND katie couric opine on this subject and STILL come away taking it seriously has a severe irony deficiency

    This is a hoot

  32. 8to80texansblog says: Feb 1, 2013 12:19 PM

    sanduskyshowerboy says:
    Jan 30, 2013 10:59 AM
    tuiasosopo: the sandusky of the west coast


    Are we making Sandusky jokes yet??



    Sorry, the verdict was “Too Soon”

  33. be4bama says: Feb 1, 2013 12:24 PM

    There’s nothing funny about Sandusky.

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