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Ronaiah Tuiasosopo

Intense Feelings For

Manti Te'o

1/24/2013 11:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Ronaiah Tuiasosopo
had intense feelings for Manti Te'o ... feelings that developed over time that he channeled through a female persona, but the emotions -- like the scam -- were rooted in fantasy.

Sources very close to Ronaiah tell TMZ ... he struggled for years trying to adapt to the expectations of his culture, his religion and his family.  Ronaiah, we're told, never had a serious physical relationship with anyone and created a female persona online as a way to vent his feelings.

We're told Ronaiah used the female persona in many encounters, but so far there's no evidence he became intensely emotionally attached to anyone -- until Manti.  We've confirmed when Ronaiah spoke with Manti as "Lennay Kekua" he used his own voice.

Indeed ... Ronaiah's feelings became so intense, he blew his cover on December 6 because it was hard to walk away.  He never intended to reveal Manti was actually talking to a man ... he just wanted to reconnect with Manti, but still as a woman. 

Our sources say Ronaiah has buried his feelings to the point he has little emotion about anything.  We're told even the scandal has not produced intense emotions. 

We're told, Ronaiah shut down emotionally at a very young age.  He lived his life through fantasy.

For more sports stories, check out tmzsports.com!

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Is this the point at which I am supposed to feel sorry for him? Because I don't. He scammed a lot of people, and now he blames his repressive culture. Bullcrap.

636 days ago

Drew Hall    

I think I am going to stop checking TMZ if they continue to push this heaping pile of sh*t of a story. WHO CARES!!!!!

636 days ago


This story is getting crazier and crazier. I don't feel bad for this guy for manipulating Manti. What I don't understand is how people keep saying "this can't be real" Have ya'll seen Catfish lately? There is an entire culture of people that live like this and apparently this guy was doing a lot of things that had Manti believe him and a lot of other people. It wasn't just Manti that was fooled. This is all just crazy

636 days ago

American Patriot    

This football player is a closet GAY. anyone who is a national football player and aged 21 - is GOING to have at LEAST one girlfriend. Cmon America, lets get real. The fact that this dude had a "online" girlfriend is proof that he is a "GAY". America feels sorry for this waste of life.

636 days ago


This dog and pony show has to stop--these people are just bat **** crazy. Make this all go away now.

636 days ago

Black Dirt Goodness    

Come on, everyone. They're both gay. How hard is that to figure out.

636 days ago


I guess this was the only logical explanation, but it's a pretty sad story for both.

636 days ago


ESPN/TMZ are covering for Mantis. This guy is coming into millions. TMZ (if anyone) KNOWS you cannot release voicemails/conversations unless consent from BOTH people. Ronaiah is making millions also.

636 days ago


Fake girlfriend..............real boyfriend...

636 days ago


This guy should be in a straightjacket.

636 days ago


Sounds like Manti was trying to do the morally right thing by hiding Ronaiah's secret. He could've gone to the media and said I was tricked by a guy that is in the closet and outted him but he didn't.

636 days ago


This is by far the weirdest chain of events I've read on TMZ ever.

636 days ago


This is all so stupid. Sick of seeing it all over the internet. Go away!

636 days ago


It figures that this would be turned into a "gay victim" story. Thanks media.

636 days ago

Bossy Potato    

I don't think the whole truth is being let out... This story doesn't even make sense. None of it makes any sense. Tmz, are you hiding something from us?

636 days ago
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