Ronaiah Tuiasosopo Interview on Dr. Phil: Major Takeaways from Day 2
On Thursday, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the man behind former Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o's fake girlfriend Lennay Kekua, told Dr. Phil McGraw the intricate details behind his years-long scheme.
Friday was a day for explanation. The public came to Dr. Phil's program looking for answers, and Tuiasosopo provided throughout the second half of the interview. He delved into the reasoning behind his deception, with an emotional candor on display throughout.
Though much of interview was sympathetic in nature, Dr. Phil finally got around to answering most skeptics' biggest question. Was Tuiasosopo the voice behind Lennay Kekua? And if he wasn't, who was his co-conspirator.
Well, with voice recognition experts on staff to help Dr. Phil out, Tuiasosopo finally answered those questions once and for all on Friday.
Why did Tuiasosopo feel the need to deceive Te'o, and was he truly the voice behind Kekua? Here is a complete breakdown of the biggest takeaways from the conclusion of Dr. Phil's interview with Tuiasosopo.
"Lennay Kekua" Was Escape For Tuiasosopo After Being Molested
The second day of Dr. Phil's interview with Tuiasosopo started with the question on just about everyone's mind: Why would he create this world and deceive Te'o for so long?
According to Tuiasosopo, the persona of Lennay Kekua was created to escape the reality of his existence after being molested as an adolescent. Here is the exact way Tuiasosopo phrased his way of thinking, per the Miami Herald:
I felt that I couldn't do things, accomplish things, pursue things, live out as Ronaiah. And I felt the need to create this. It has everything to do with what I went through as a child.
As the interview progressed, Tuiasosopo went into deep detail with Dr. Phil about the nature of his molestation. He said that he was repeatedly assaulted, almost to the point he was unable to walk, but was too afraid to tell anyone. According to Huffington Post Sports, the abuse started when Tuiasosopo was just 12 years old:
Ronaiah Tuiasosopo says he was molested for the first time at age 12.— HuffPost Sports (@HuffPostSports) February 1, 2013
Tuiasosopo also mentioned that his relationship with his father was a factor in him not telling anyone about the abuse. Titus Tuiasosopo was a youth pastor, and the man who molested Ronaiah was heavily involved in the church.
Tuiasosopo Hears Parents' Thoughts, Says He's Sorry
After speaking with Tuiasosopo and getting ultimate reasoning behind him creating the Lennay Kekua persona, Dr. Phil brought in both parents to get their take. Both his mother and father denied having any involvement or knowledge of the scam while it was happening.
Perhaps the interview's emotional apex happened when Dr. Phil asked Tuiasosopo's father, Titus, about his feeling when hearing of the sexual abuse. Here is what Titus Tuiasosopo said, per the Miami Herald:
When he told me the location, the time, I could go back and vividly remember those trips, the times that these guys came over. That part, right there, was kind of gut wrenching for me.
Titus went on to say that hearing about his son being molested to himself helped him understand why Ronaiah would mastermind the scam against Te'o. Continually supportive during their sit-down with Dr. Phil, Titus Tuiasosopo also said the family would support Ronaiah if he was gay.
Do you believe Ronaiah Tuiasosopo?
It was then where the true emotional apex of Friday's interview happened. Upon hearing his parents' support, Tuiasosopo emotionally and profusely apologized to Te'o, his family and plenty of others. Prior to the show, Dr. Phil sent out a tweet with a partial quote of Tuiasosopo's tearful words:
“I can’t express how sorry I am toward Manti and his family, and everyone affected by this.” - Ronaiah Tuiasosopo bitly.com/RonaiahPT2— Dr. Phil (@DrPhil) February 1, 2013
Tuiasosopo Does Lennay Kekua's Voice
While it was teased on Thursday, Dr. Phil did not actually air Tuiasosopo performing Lennay Kekua's voice until the last segment of the program. Prior to the portion of the interview on Friday, three different analysts said that Tuiasosopo could not have been the voice of Lennay Kekua.
When presented with this evidence, Tuiasosopo performed the voice for Dr. Phil behind a veiled curtain.
Like the initial results, those came back as inconclusive at best. With a 60 percent voice match needed for experts to feel comfortable, Tuiasosopo performed the voice once again. This time, Dr. Phil put him in his own element, away from the pressures of a camera.
Here is a look at the shocking results:
With his voice being almost a perfect match, it's hard to dispute Tuiasosopo's claims that he was the voice behind Kekua. As for the rest of his story, whether or not that is to believed will be very much up to the court of public opinion.
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