The 22-year-old Tuiasosopo admitted he tricked Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o into falling for a fake woman he created online. He claims the hoax had "everything to do" with escaping from real life because he had been molested when he was 12 years old.
There are many layers to the story, but here are the major pieces according to what Tuiasosopo shared over the two-day interview with Dr. Phil.
Tuiasosopo built the online persona of Lennay Kekua, a nonexistent woman whom Te'o said he fell in love with despite never meeting in person even though they communicated every day via e-mail and voice mail.
The name "Lennay" is a made up name with the combination of two of Tuiasosopo's family members. The last name is a common name he chose from the phone book. Pictures of Kekua that had been published in the media were actually of a former high school classmate of Tuiasosopo who had nothing to do with the hoax.
There has been some confusion as to whether Tuiasosopo was the voice of Kekua. After several attempts, Tuiasosopo convinced Dr. Phil and his audio experts that he was, in fact, the voice behind the hoax. It was Tuiasosopo's voice pretending to be the made-up Lennay.
The relationship between Te'o and Kekua started when Te'o was a freshman and continued for all four years while Te'o was a student at Notre Dame where he played football.
Te'o is the most decorated defensive player in college football history. He was one of three finalists for the Heisman Trophy. However, he eventually finished second in the voting.
When Tuiasosopo killed off the Kekua character last September, he then created a cousin to talk to Te'o to let him know she was dead and to find out how he was doing after the death of his grandmother and Lennay on the same day.
Deadspin.com exposed the hoax in a story on Jan. 16. Te'o denied he was involved when he was interviewed by Katie Couric on Jan. 24.
Tuiasosopo apologized to Te'o, Notre Dame, his own family and everyone else affected by the hoax during the interview.