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Dr. Phil

Sues Deadspin

They Jacked My Cliffhanger

5/7/2013 12:50 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0506_drphil_interview_articleThe "Dr. Phil" show is royally pissed off at a media outlet that allegedly stole its thunder by publishing footage of his exclusive interview with the dude who hoaxed Manti Te'o BEFORE it aired on Phil's own show ... in fact Phil's so pissed off he's suing.

You may recall ... Phil landed an exclusive interview with Ronaiah Tuiasosopo -- the guy who created a fictional GF for Manti.  Phil's interview was a 2 parter.  The cliffhanger in part 1 was that Ronaiah would "do the voice" of the phantom girlfriend during part 2. 

According to the suit filed by Dr. Phil's company -- Peteski Productions -- immediately after part 2 aired in a few TV markets ... Deadspin posted footage of Ronaiah doing the voice without permission.  Phil believes it was thievery, because the show hadn't aired in 98% of the country. 

Phil claims ratings significantly suffered as a result of Deadspin's actions.

So Phil is suing Gawker Media, which owns Deadspin, for unspecified damages.

Manti Te'o

Real

Live Girls

3/3/2013 6:56 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

0303-manti-teo-gettyManti Te'o posed with some flesh and blood cheerleaders yesterday after accepting the Maxwell Award and Chuck Bednarik Award as last year’s top player at an event in Atlantic City, NJ.

"Do any of you girls know a guy named Ronaiah? No? Ok, good." 

Terrell Suggs

No Problem With

Manti Te'o Being a Raven

2/28/2013 12:40 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

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NFL superstar Terrell Suggs doesn't care how many not-dead-fake GFs Manti Te'o had ... he'd still welcome the ex-Notre Dame stud in the Baltimore Ravens locker room.

Suggs was in NYC when we asked if he'd work with Manti if the Ravens drafted him, and he said ... "Manti? Most definitely."

He added, "He's got a future, man."

Suggs' comments are a huge vote of confidence for Te'o ... because some experts have said the whole Ronaiah-Lennay mess might make NFL teams think twice about drafting him.

Oh, and you gotta see why T-Sizzle says the NFL Scouting Combine is a "s**tty" way to judge a player's skills. It's interesting since Suggs' own coach was pretty critical of Te'o at the Combine.

But are you gonna argue with a 6'3", 260 lb. Super Bowl champ and ex-Defensive Player of the Year?

Didn't think so.

Ronaiah Tuiasosopo

Gives Tearful Apology

'I Hurt Everyday'

2/1/2013 1:40 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

020113_ron_dr_phil_sorry

Ronaiah Tuiasosopo
broke down crying to Dr. Phil as he tried to apologize for the Manti Te'o girlfriend hoax ... saying he "hurts every day" for the decisions he's made.

Tuiasosopo expressed his regret for the entire ordeal, telling Dr. Phil, "I can't express how sorry I am towards Manti and his family and everyone affected by this."

As for why he came on the show, Tuiasosopo said, "I came here to own up to my involvement in what I've done. I am not seeking everyone's forgiveness ... I stand with courage to say I'm very sorry."

Ronaiah Tuiasosopo

Performs 'Lennay' Voice

On 'Dr. Phil'

2/1/2013 9:45 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

0201_Tuiasosopo_still

Ronaiah Tuiasosopo
performed his "Lennay Kekua" voice for Dr. Phil ... re-performing the same voicemails he left for Manti Te'o ... but from behind a curtain.

Dr. Phil gave Ronaiah the curtain because Tuiasosopo said he felt uncomfortable doing it in public ... and the curtain gave him a false sense of privacy he needed to get back into character.

During the episode that airs today, Tuiasosopo not only read the voicemails ... but also called a producer for the show on the phone ... simulating the same conditions of the original voicemails he left Te'o.

Experts for the show concluded the voices were a match.  

Tuiasosopo also revealed he was molested as a child ... and says he concocted the online hoax as a way to escape from his real life.

You gotta hear all the calls.  They air on "Dr. Phil" Friday.

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Ronaiah Tuiasosopo

I'm a Recovering Homosexual

1/31/2013 11:50 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF


013113_ron_dr_phil_gay
The man behind the Manti Te'o girlfriend hoax -- a deeply religious Christian -- told Dr. Phil he believes he suffers from homosexuality ... and desperately needs to "recover" from it.

During his interview, Dr. Phil asked Ronaiah Tuiasosopo straight ... "Are you gay?"

Ronaiah replied, "If you look at this situation and everything that I've been through, I would say yeah I'm gay. But honestly I'm so confused."

Ronaiah -- who admitted he had deeply romantic feelings for Manti -- added, "It takes a lot of courage to recover from homosexuality and this type of thing and coming back to your real life. As hard of a task it is, I'm going to do all I can to live right."

Dr. Phil was blown away by Ronaiah's response, saying, "This is for another time, but I have so much to say to you about what you just said, because a lot of it bothers me so much." He added, "But we will talk about that another time."

Baltimore Ravens Player

We Should

Draft Manti Te'o

1/31/2013 12:30 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

013013_adrian_hamilton_launch
Manti Te'o is already getting support from NFL players -- including a Baltimore Ravens linebacker -- who says he would WELCOME Manti to the team with open arms ... 'cause the dude CAN BALL.

TMZ spoke with Ravens linebacker Adrian Hamilton -- who broke the Manti draft dilemma down to our photog.

Photog: Would you want [Manti] on your team?
AH: Is he a good linebacker?
Photog: Yes
AH: Then why wouldn't we want him?

Hamilton explains that all the drama surrounding "Lennay Kekua" is irrelevant ... 'cause it's what Te'o can do ON the field that matters.

You agree?

Ronaiah Tuiasosopo

Crushing Social Pressure Drove Him Into 'Fantasy World'

1/30/2013 12:20 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0130_ronaiah_myspace

Ronaiah Tuiasosopo -- the man behind the Manti Te'o hoax -- is telling friends he felt compelled to create a "fantasy world" for himself because he felt crushing social pressure from 3 major forces in his life ... TMZ has learned.

We already know Ronaiah thinks he might be gay because he fell in love with Manti while pretending to be the fictional "Lennay Kekua" ... and told Dr. Phil he's "confused" about his sexuality.

But sources close to Ronaiah tell TMZ ... he was always afraid to explore his sexuality fearing scorn and ridicule from the Samoan community, his church community and the football community.   At an early age, we're told Ronaiah created a private world for himself, that was not rooted in reality.

Besides playing high school football, Ronaiah's family is a VERY football-centric group -- with several members having played in the NFL.

Instead, we're told Ronaiah created a female character, like Lennay, to interact with men through her ... because instead of feeling guilt about his sexuality, he could chalk it all up to make-believe.

Ronaiah is now seeing a therapist -- not Dr. Phil -- and we're told he's finally dealing with the issues he's been avoiding for most of his adult life.

Ronaiah Tuiasosopo

I'M GAY

... I Think

1/30/2013 6:10 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

013013_manti_teo_dr_phil

Ronaiah Tuiasosopo is gay ... at least he thinks he's gay ... he's not really sure -- at least that's what he told Dr. Phil.

Phil appeared on "Today" this morning ... and dished about his interview with the man behind the Manti Te'o not-really-dead girlfriend hoax.

"Here we have a young man that fell deeply, romantically in love," Phil said of Ronaiah.

"I ask him straight up ... was this a romantic relationship with you? And he says, 'Yes.'"

Phil continued ... "I said, are you then, therefore, gay?  And he says, 'Well, when you put it that way, yes.'"

Phil says Ronaiah then "caught himself" and said, "I am confused."

Phil says Ronaiah admitted to running the hoax -- but says he had a number of life experiences that left him "damaged" in many serious ways.

As we previously reported, Manti says he had NOTHING to do with the hoax and was just an innocent victim. He also told Katie Couric he was FAR, FAR, FAR from gay.

Dr. Phil

WINNER in Race for

1st Ronaiah Interview

1/25/2013 12:55 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

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Dr. Phil
just scored HUGE -- TMZ has learned, he's landed the first on-camera interview with the alleged mastermind behind the Manti Te'o girlfriend hoax ... Ronaiah Tuiasosopo.

Sources tell us, Phil and Ronaiah sat together for several hours yesterday in L.A., where they discussed Manti's interview with Katie Couric ... after watching the entire interview together.

According to sources, Phil's interview with Ronaiah is "emotional and deep." It's expected to air some time next week.

Ronaiah has yet to address the public about his alleged involvement in the Manti hoax -- even though Manti has already said Ronaiah privately confessed to concocting the whole thing.

TMZ broke the story ... Ronaiah had intense feelings for Manti -- feelings he channeled through the female persona of "Lennay Kekua" ... Manti's fake girlfriend.

Interesting ... two female oriented daytime talk shows have snagged the key interviews in a football scandal.

Manti Te'o

I'M FAR FAR FAR

FROM GAY

1/24/2013 12:25 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

0124_katie_couric_manti_interview_article_superhero_3
Manti Te'o
just revealed ... he's NOT GAY ... despite rumors he used a fake girlfriend to hide his homosexuality.

Katie Couric asked Manti flat-out whether he's gay because it's the most obvious explanation for the bizarre "Lennay Kekua" hoax -- but Manti replied, "No. Far from it. FAR FROM IT."

Manti also revealed Ronaiah Tuiasosopo's full confession, which Ronaiah sent via Twitter, saying, "I completely accept the consequences to the pain I've caused and it's important that you know the entire truth before anyone else."

Katie played Lennay's voicemails -- and Manti replied, "Sounds like a woman. Incredible talent to do."

pic0124_ronaiahs_confession_small_video_lennay_vm


Katie asked why Manti didn't come clean sooner -- Manti said, "I was scared and I didn't know what to do." Manti's parents also had a chance to speak -- and things got emotional.

pic0124_ronaiahs_confession_small_video_lennay_vm_4


Manti also addressed Ronaiah, saying, "You hurt me." And the big question -- how Manti thinks the hoax will affect his draft status ... Manti said, "That I don't know ... Whatever happens happens ... I hope and pray that good happens."

pic0124_ronaiahs_confession_small_video_lennay_vm_4

Ronaiah Tuiasosopo

Intense Feelings For

Manti Te'o

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

0124_ronaiah_article_tmz
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.

Manti Te'o

Releases Voicemails

from 'Lennay Kekua'

1/24/2013 9:52 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news


012413_teo_voicemails
Manti Te'o has released 3 voicemails he claims he received from "Lennay Kekua" during the hoax -- in which Lennay comes off as a very jealous ... and very emotional person. 

The first VM was supposedly left on Manti's phone right before she began her first round of chemotherapy for the fake cancer. During the call, Lennay says, "Just wanted to call you and keep you posted ... I miss you, I love you ... bye."

FYI -- TMZ has confirmed the person doing the voice of Lennay on the voicemails is Ronaiah Tuiasosopo.

0124_ronaiah_article_tmz
Call #2 is a sobbing mess ... in which Lennay accuses Manti of having another girl in his room. Lennay tells Manti, "I don't know why you don't answer your phone ... and I don't care."

She continues, "This is my last time trying ... you made it clear what you want."

Manti claims Call #3 was placed on September 11, 2012 -- the day before she supposedly died.

During the call, Lennay tells Manti, "Hey babe, I’m just calling to say goodnight.  I love you."

She adds, "I know that you’re probably doing homework or you’re with the boys, or grubbing, what a fatty.  I just want to say I love you and goodnight and I’ll be okay tonight, I’ll do my best.  So, yeah, get your rest and I’ll talk to you tomorrow.  I love you so much hun, sweet dreams."

Manti released the voicemails to Katie Couric -- and will discuss them during his sit-down interview on her talk show.

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