Report: Te'o Hoaxer Was "in Love" With Football Star

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 30 2013 11:35 AM

Te'o's Catfish Hoaxer Apparently Had Fallen "Deeply, Romantically in Love" With Him

NBC's Today show this morning brought us our first look at Ronaiah Tuiasosopo's sit-down with Dr. Phil McGraw. Tuiasosopo, you no doubt recall, is the apparent mastermind behind Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o fake dead girlfriend. The first half of the interview won't air in full tomorrow, but the big takeaway from today's short excerpts and McGraw's account of the interview include the fact that Tuiasosopo took full credit for the scam, and backed Te'o's claim that he was the victim of, and not a knowing participant in, the hoax. Oh yeah, and there was this:

"Here we have a young man that fell deeply, romantically in love," McGraw told NBC’s Mike Taibbi in a segment that aired on TODAY Wednesday. "I asked him straight up, 'Was this a romantic relationship with you?' And he says yes. I said, 'Are you then therefore gay?' And he said, 'When you put it that way, yes.' And then he caught himself and said, 'I am confused.' "
Advertisement

That account lines up pretty flush with the one offered by Tuiasosopo's lawyer earlier this month. The attorney, Milton Grimes, told the New York Daily News that his client hadn't executed the elaborate prank in an attempt to hurt Te'o. "It was establishing a communication with someone," Grimes explained, somewhat vaguely. "It was a person with a troubled existence trying to reach out and communicate and have a relationship."

***Follow @JoshVoorhees and the rest of the @slatest team on Twitter.***

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM Going Private To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  Life
The Eye
Oct. 1 2014 9:26 AM These Lego Masterpieces Capture the Fear and Humor of the “Dark” Side
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 8:46 AM The Vintage eBay Find I Wore to My Sentencing
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 1 2014 7:30 AM Say Hello to Our Quasi-Moon, 2014 OL339
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.