The alleged mastermind behind the Manti Te'o girlfriend hoax, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, sat down with Dr. Phil McGraw in a two-part interview.
Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the individual behind the hoax involving Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, told Phil McGraw that he "killed" Lennay Kekua, Te'o's purported girlfriend, on Sept. 12, the same day as Te'o's grandmother passed away, after an argument with Te'o.
The argument began over Te'o talking with other girls on Skype, Tuiasosopo said.
"I just said 'Look, you just have to answer this yes or no and I'll know where to go from here: Have you been Skyping other girls? Yes or no,'" Tuiasosopo said in the first part of a two-part interview Thursday on McGraw's syndicated talk show, Dr. Phil. "Simple as that. He then said, 'How insensitive. Just to let you know, my grandmother passed away.' "
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Tuiasosopo continued: "He went on further and said, 'No, I don't need you.' I was just like, 'Whoa, you know what? I understand.' I left that and said no matter what, you know, I still love you and I care for you, and I hope that everything works out. I'll bepraying for your family.
"Then I said, 'Forget I ever asked the question, forget everything. I didn't know that she was sick. You never told me she's been sick for weeks now. We talked every night on the phone, sleep on the phone every night together... so how was I supposed to know that she was even sick?'"
Te'o then lashed out Tuiasosopo, who maintains that he was the voice of Kekua during the long phone calls with Te'o and on voicemails.
VIDEO: WATCH THE INTERVIEW FOOTAGE
Te'o said, "I never needed you, I'll never need you. I don't ever want to talk to you again, I never want to see you," Tuiasosopo described to McGraw. Te'o then said he had been talking with four other girls, including two ex-girlfriends, Tuiasosopo said.
"It hurt me," Tuiasosopo said. "It hit me like a brick wall. I was like, 'Whoa, I've given so much into this.' And I realized right then in that moment, that I poured so much into Lennay, that I myself was getting nothing, and look what I was left with."
Thursday's portion of the interview ended with Tuiasosopo moving behind a curtain to portray to McGraw the voice he used to play Kekua. Tuiasosopo told McGraw that he was too embarrassed to do it in person, and that when he did talk to Te'o as Kekua, he would do so in a "dark room," away from other people. Tuiasosopo's portrayal of the voice will air Friday along with the rest of the interview.
Tuiasosopo also told McGraw that like a "recovering drug addict," he is still attempting to come to grips with his own sexual identity.
"You've heard of recovering drug addicts? It takes a lot of courage to stand and say that," Tuiasosopo said. "To recover from homosexuality and this type of thing. Not only that, coming back to your real life, as hard of a task as that is, I'm going to do all that I can to live right."
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Tuiasosopo said to McGraw, "Honestly, I'm so confused, I'm so lost and just finding me."
The interview with McGraw was Tuiasosopo's first on-camera appearance since news of the hoax broke Jan. 16. The second part of the interview, taped last week, is scheduled to air Friday.
During the course of Thursday's interview, Tuiasosopo discussed the relationship he built with Te'o while posing as Kekua.
"The truth of it is that it happened, I grew feelings, I grew emotions that sooner or later I couldn't control anymore," Tuiasosopo said of his role as Kekua, which he said was "never intended to be a joke."
Asked by McGraw if he was in love with Te'o, Tuiasosopo said, "I mean, yeah."
"All of my energy went into this," Tuiasosopo said of his role as Kekua. "As twisted and confusing as it may be, yeah. I cared for this person. I did all that I could to make this person a better person even if I want getting anything about it.
"Truth of it is, that happened, I grew feelings, I grew emotions that sooner or later I couldn't control anymore. When I tried to end things I tried every other way to end this I tried this lie and this lie and this lie but nothing would work."
When it came to a relationship he believed was real, Te'o reciprocated those feelings. "He really fell in love with this character," Tuiasosopo told McGraw. "It is what it is."
Tuiasosopo said that he first met Te'o in November, when Notre Dame played at Southern California. Tuiasosopo came to the game, posing as Kekua's cousin. He said that he wanted to divulge the truth during that meeting.
"I wanted to tell him everything right then and there," Tuiasosopo said. But when members of Te'o's family entered the picture, Tuiasosopo said "it wasn't the right time."
Tuiasosopo was originally identified as the individual behind the hoax by Deadspin.com, which released a story about Te'o's relationship with Kekua on Jan. 16.
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Te'o has since denied any involvement in the hoax, calling himself a "victim" of "someone's sick joke." During an interview with Katie Couric on Jan. 24, Te'o said that Tuiasosopo had contacted him to confess and apologize.
During the interview with McGraw, Tuiasosopo confirmed that Te'o had absolutely no role in the hoax, painting the All-American as an innocent victim in a scam that Tuiasosopo knew would blow up once Te'o's stature grew over the course of his senior season.
Te'o "had no idea" about the hoax, Tuiasosopo said. "True, honestly, he had no involvement. He did not know anything."
Tuiasosopo told McGraw that he felt it was only inevitable that his role in the hoax would be revealed.
"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... I had to start just living and let this go," Tuiasosopo said.
"A big part of me was like, I feel horrible that you're hurting over this, I feel horrible for what I've done. And then another big part of me was also like, you have to move on from this, you have to get past this."