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'Kekua' killed after a spat with Te'o, hoaxer says

By Associated Press


In this Jan. 24, 2013, photo provided by CBS Television Distribution/Peteski Productions, talk show host Dr. Phil McGraw, left, interviews Ronaiah Tuiasosopo and his parents  Titus and Cheannie Tuiasosopo during taping for the "Dr. Phil Show" in Los Angeles.  The program, which aired Thursday, Jan. 31, and Friday, Feb. 1, was the first on-air interview of Ronaiah, the man who allegedly concocted the girlfriend hoax that ensnared Notre Dame football star Manti Te'o. (AP Photo/CBS Television Distribution/Peteski Productions)

Ronaiah Tuiasosopo fell in love with Manti Te'o and said all his energy went into pretending to be the woman the Notre Dame linebacker came to know as Lennay Kekua.

Tuiasosopo, the 22-year-old mastermind of the elaborate hoax that embarrassed Te'o and left him looking gullible, spoke publicly for the first time in an interview with Phil McGraw for the "Dr. Phil" show, the first part of which aired Thursday.

Tuiasosopo said Te'o knew nothing of the scam, and doesn't believe he ever suspected Kekua was fake.

"He had no involvement," Tuiasosopo said. "He did not know anything."

Tuiasosopo said he built the online persona of Kekua, a nonexistent woman with whom Te'o said he fell in love despite never meeting. Tui­aso­sopo then killed off the character in September.

"I pretty much had this escape of Lennay, and this was where my heart had pretty much invested, not just time, but all of my energy went into this," Tui­aso­sopo said.

He said he felt Kekua was a part of him, and grew feelings and emotions for Te'o that he could not control. He acknowledged that the hoax was cruel, but said it was never intended as a joke and that he got no money from it.

"As twisted and confusing as it may be, yeah, I cared for this person," he said, referring to Te'o. "I did all that I could to help this person become a better person, even though I wasn't getting nothing out of it."

Tuiasosopo said he felt Te'o became a better person as a result of the relationship.

"If you really look at all his interviews, he felt that," he said. "When he was under the understanding that he lost her, he realized all the good that Lennay had done for him."

The Te'o family declined comment.

Tuiasosopo said he decided to confess to Te'o earlier last month as the hoax was unraveling because he felt he could not go any further with his own life until the truth was out.

"You've heard of recovering drug addicts? It takes a lot of courage to stand and say that," he said. "To recover from homosexuality and this type of thing. Not only that, coming back to your real life, as hard as a task as that is, I'm going to do all that I can to live right."

Tuiasosopo said he decided to kill the Kekua character following an argument with the football star.

Te'o had told Kekua he didn't need her, Tui­aso­sopo said.

"It hurt me," he 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."

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W_Williams wrote:
Enough already. Let's move on.
on February 1,2013 | 04:29AM
mitt_grund wrote:
Z-zzzzzz-zzz ....
on February 1,2013 | 05:53AM
huwenfut wrote:
What a loser. I guess getting noticed for being an idiot is better than not getting noticed at all.
on February 1,2013 | 07:35AM
PokeStop wrote:
What a gay story for both of them! Case closed!
on February 1,2013 | 07:59AM
PCWarrior wrote:
Look. Manti loves a mahu. No big deal. Happens everyday. Let's move on people.
on February 1,2013 | 09:01AM
Peacenik wrote:
He deserve credit for going on TV, exposing his weakness to the world to redeem his friend. It takes a real man to do this. Agree with others, put it to rest. This now only Tabloid News.
on February 1,2013 | 07:59AM
KekoaBradshaw wrote:
Yes, he deserves credit---but I bet Dr. Phil paid him big bucks---$$$$$$$---foir his appearance.
on February 1,2013 | 08:18AM
Peacenik wrote:
On Jimmy Kimmel last night, Katie Courtic said she does not pay her guests. May be the same for others. Don't know. Seem people like to make assumptions for the worst, without effort to find out. This is also sensationalism at it's worst too.
on February 1,2013 | 10:49AM
naueimua wrote:
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh hahahhahahahahhaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
on February 1,2013 | 10:01AM
paradiddle wrote:
What about the claim by Te'o father, Brian, that he met Kekua and that she came to Hawaii and met Manti?????
on February 1,2013 | 05:22PM
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