Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the man behind the online girlfriend hoax that duped Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o for years, allegedly had true feelings for the athlete, according to a Jan. 24, 2013 TMZ report.
Sources told the website that he used the female persona of Lennay Kekua to express his “intense feelings” for Te’o.
The sources said Tuiasosopo was conflicted about his feelings due to the strong influence of his culture, religion, and family. He allegedly has never had a physical relationship with anyone.
TMZ reports he has used a female persona in several other encounters in the past and that at a very young age he “shut down emotionally” and “lived his life through fantasy.”
Deadspin broke the story on Jan. 16 that Te’o’s online girlfriend—who he said he believed died of leukemia on Sept. 12, 2012—was fake and never existed.
In an interview with Katie Couric that aired Thursday, Te’o admitted he found out about the prank on Dec. 6, but continued to talk about Kekua publicly because he was not sure what to do.
During his sit-down with Couric, Te’o also said he is not gay proclaiming he is “…Far from it. FAR FROM IT.”
He also revealed he received a Twitter message from Tuiasosopo apologizing for the hoax and saying he accepts the “consequences to the pain” he has caused…”