Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, identified as the man behind the Manti Te’o fake girlfriend hoax, will break his silence on the Dr. Phil Show.
A spokesman for the show confirmed on Friday an interview with the man who allegedly masterminded a fake girlfriend who fooled Notre Dame star linebacker Manti Te’o. The girlfriend, named Lennay Kekua, told Te’o that she suffered a car accident and was then diagnosed with leukemia. She passed away on the same day as Te’o's grandmother.
The Dr. Phil interview will be the first public statement from Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, The Huffington Post noted.
Though Manti Te’o has spoken out about the hoax, saying he was fooled but kept up the ruse once he learned Kekua was fake out of a sense of shame and embarrassment.
There are still many unanswered questions for Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, including whether he perpetrated the hoax on others, as has been suggested. Catfish movie director and actor Ariel Schulman told Good Morning America today that he believes fake girlfriend Lennay Kekua duped others as well.
Tuiasosopo has also not hinted at a motive for the hoax. Though it was once reported that he was a friend of Manti Te’o, new reports suggest that the two didn’t know each other well and only corresponded via Twitter. Tuiasosopo will likely also answer questions about who else was involved on the hoax, as it’s been suggested that his sister was the one who actually spoke to Manti Te’o on the phone.
The Ronaiah Tuiasosopo could be a boon to the Dr. Phil Show as well. When Manti Te’o appeared on Katie Couric’s talk show, it generated ratings 30 percent higher than the show averages.