Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY Sports
In an excerpt of his two-part interview with Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, Dr. Phil McGraw said the alleged mastermind behind the Manti Te'o girlfriend hoax spoke of his "confused" sexual identity, and that Tuiasosopo "fell deeply, romantically in love" with the Notre Dame star.
"I asked him, straight up, was this a romantic relationship with you?" McGraw told NBC's Matt Taibbi during a segment on NBC's Today. "And he says, 'yes.' I then said, are you then, therefore, gay? He says, 'Well, when you put it that way, yes.' And then, he caught himself and said, 'I am confused.'"
FULL COVERAGE: Manti Te'o girlfriend hoax
Said McGraw, "Ronaiah had a number of life experiences that damaged this young man in some very serious ways."
In the course of the interview, Tuiasosopo told McGraw 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.
KELLY: Coach didn't sense hoax impacted Te'o leading into Alabama game
Tuiasosopo also knew that his role in the hoax would inevitably 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.
Said Tuiasosopo of the relationship between Te'o and Lennay Kekua, "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, in this case in my life."
DR. PHIL: McGraw's interview with Tuiasosopo a two-parter
Tuiasosopo also insisted that he was the voice of Kekua during the lengthy phone calls with Te'o. On Jan. 25, a cousin of Tuiasosopo told the New York Post that another cousin, Tino Tuiasosopo, played Kekua on the phone and in voicemails.
The full interview with Tuiasosopo will run Thursday and Friday on McGraw's syndicated talk show, Dr. Phil.