Dr. Phil McGraw says Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, who masterminded the dead girlfriend hoax involving Manti Te'o, told him the Notre Dame linebacker was not involved in the scheme and that he ended up falling "deeply, romantically" in love with the Fighting Irish football player.
McGraw spoke on the "Today" show Wednesday, previewing an interview he did with Tuiasosopo, a 22-year-old Southern California man who created the fictional woman Lennay Kekua. Tuiasosopo's interview will air in two parts on the "Dr. Phil Show" starting Thursday.
Since the hoax was revealed earlier this month, Te'o has said the relationship with Kekua started online, and the two only talked on the phone and exchanged electronic messages. Te'o said he was told of Kekua's "death" from leukemia just hours after his grandmother died in September.
McGraw said Tuiasosopo told him the voice of Kekua was his. Tuiasosopo and Te'o have said while the Kekua relationship went on for several years, there were times when they weren't in contact.
"There were many times where Manti and Lennay had broken up," Tuiasosopo said.
Tuiasosopo said he wanted to end the relationship between Kekua and Te'o before he had to fake Kekua's death.
"I wanted to end it because everything I had gone through, I finally realized I just had to move on with my life," he said.
Te'o's publicist declined comment.
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