(NEW YORK) — Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the alleged mastermind behind the Manti Te’o “catfish” hoax, told Dr. Phil on Thursday that he killed off fake girlfriend Lennay Kekua because Te’o told “her” he didn’t need her anymore and had been talking to four other girls on Skype.
Tuiasosopo said that Kekua and Te’o had broken up when “things had gotten a little shaky” two weeks earlier. He said that when he checked Te’o’s social media accounts, which he had the passwords to, he found that the only irregularity were conversations with other girls on Skype.
An angry “Lennay” called Te’o and demanded to know if he had been talking to other girls. Te’o then told her that his grandmother had just passed away, which Tuiasosopo claimed he did not know.
“Forget I ever asked the question,” Tuiasosopo recalled telling Te’o. “I’m here for you. I’ll support you. I’m praying for your family.”
He claimed an angry Te’o said he didn’t need her, never needed her and didn’t want to speak to her again. He also said that Te’o later texted that he had been talking to other girls on Skype, including two of his ex-girlfriends.
Tuiasosopo said that Te’o’s anger hit him hard and upset him, as Ronaiah, not just as Lennay.
“I poured so much into Lennay,” Tuiasosopo said. “I was crying that morning, hurt, emotionally.”
He decided at that point that he couldn’t be Kekua anymore and need to end it.
Dr. Phil McGraw pressed Tuiasosopo to replicate the fake girlfriend’s voice that spent countless hours talking to the Notre Dame star linebacker.
“Much of this relationship you had was on the phone…let me hear that voice,” Dr. Phil demanded of Tuiasosopo. “If that is you on those voicemails, then prove it.”
“I can’t, even if I tried,” Tuiasosopo said. “There’s a whole lot that went into pushing me to do something like that..to go to that extreme consistently. Even if I tried, it doesn’t come off right.”
Tuiasosopo said it was “awkward and uncomfortable” and he had never done the voice in front of a person, doing it alone in a dark room every time.
Dr. Phil told Tuiasosopo that he was “very skeptical” and just wanted the truth.
A lawyer for Tuiasosopo has claimed that Tuiasosopo used a falsetto voice to impersonate Te’o’s fictitious girlfriend Lennay Kekua for two years. The attorney has not responded to requests for comment from ABC News.
Te’o told ABC’s Katie Couric that he doubted it was a man’s voice he listened to all those hours and audio experts who reviewed voice emails from Kekua for ABC News concluded it was a woman talking.
Tuiasosopo initially refused to recreate the voice, but eventually agreed to do it behind a privacy screen. That portion of the interview is scheduled to be shown during part two of the interview on Friday.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Blake Ellis and Melanie Hicken, CNN
Amberlee Lovell, FamilyShare