Dr. Phil Sues Deadspin They Jacked My Cliffhanger

EXCLUSIVE

The "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.

Terrell Suggs No Problem With Manti Te'o Being a Raven

EXCLUSIVE

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'

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'

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.

Ronaiah Tuiasosopo I'm a Recovering Homosexual

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

EXCLUSIVE

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'

EXCLUSIVE

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

Breaking News

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

EXCLUSIVE

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

Breaking News

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."

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.

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."

Ronaiah Tuiasosopo Intense Feelings For Manti Te'o

EXCLUSIVE

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'

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.

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.

Manti Te'o & Ronaiah Tuiasosopo Most Awkward Hug In the Universe

EXCLUSIVE

TMZ has obtained footage showing Manti Te'o hugging Ronaiah Tuiasosopo -- the man who allegedly masterminded the fake girlfriend hoax on the Notre Dame football star -- and it's pretty obvious from the tape ... Ronaiah wanted to hug Manti A LOT more than Manti wanted to hug him.

The video was shot in L.A. back in November on the same night Notre Dame played USC -- before the hoax was exposed -- and it offers a pretty fascinating glimpse into Manti and Ronaiah's relationship before this whole thing blew up.

In the footage, you can see the two were having a conversation before they each go in for a hug at the same time. But when Manti gives Ronaiah the "it's time to let go" pat on the back, Ronny continues to hold the squeeze.

Manti recently told ESPN ... he knew of Ronaiah during the hoax because his imaginary GF "Lennay Kekua" told him Ronaiah was her "favorite cousin." Manti said he had never seen Ronaiah in person before the USC game.

FYI -- The USC vs. ND game was the same day Ronaiah allegedly duped a Notre Dame superfan into meeting Lennay's fake sister U'ilani at the Tommy Trojan statue near the stadium. When the fan arrived, U'ilani wasn't there ... but Ronaiah sure was.

Manti says Ronaiah reached out to him in the wake of the scandal to confess to the hoax ... and apologized.

But really ... the hug says it all.

Manti Te'o I Brought My Imaginary GF To Football Practice

Here's a shot of Manti Te'o with his arm around his girlfriend ... the first photo of the happy couple ever since news broke the woman didn't exist.

Manti was spotted running football drills today at a private training facility in Florida.

Before the hoax, Manti was a projected first round draft pick, but now NFL experts are saying Manti's draft stock may have taken a hit in the wake of the scandal.

If Manti crushes it at the NFL combine next month, he might improve his chances of landing a spot in the top ten.

Side note: Lennay's hotter than we expected.

Manti Te'o to Katie Couric I Lied But You'd Do the Same!

ANYONE in Manti Te'o's situation would have done the same thing he did -- and would lie to the media to protect their reputation after being hoaxed ... at least that's what Manti said to Katie Couric.

ABC is finally releasing clips of the big sit-down interview he did for Katie's new talk show -- in which the Notre Dame football star says he perpetuated the lie after he found out he was duped because he didn't know how else to act.

He then asks Katie ... "What would you do?" ... as if there was no other option.

On a related note, ABC is rolling out the interview in bits and pieces ... making it seem as if the interview was a big get for ABC News -- but the fact of the matter is the Manti booking was a score for Katie's talk show ... and a good one at that.