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Man admits masterminding Manti Te'o hoax, says he was in love with football player

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In this Jan. 24, 2013, photo provided by CBS Television Distribution/Peteski Productions, talk show host Dr. Phil McGraw, left, interviews Ronaiah Tuiasosopo during taping for the "Dr. Phil Show" in Los Angeles. The program, scheduled to air Thursday, Jan. 31, and Friday, Feb. 1, will show the first on-air interview of Tuiasosopo, the man who allegedly concocted the girlfriend hoax that ensnared Notre Dame football star Manti Te'o. (AP Photo/CBS Television Distribution/Peteski Productions) (The Associated Press)

A California man says he created the hoax involving former Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o and a fake girlfriend because he was in love with the football player.

Ronaiah Tuiasosopo (roh-NY-ah too-ee-AH'-so-SO'-poh), spoke publicly for the first time in an interview with Dr. Phil McGraw for the "Dr. Phil Show," the first part of which aired Thursday.

The 22-year-old Tuiasosopo says he created the online persona of Lennay Kekua, a nonexistent woman who Te'o said he fell for without ever meeting and later believed had died of leukemia.

Tuiasosopo says Te'o knew nothing of the hoax. He also says the loyalty and support he gave Te'o was real.

Tuiasosopo says he is trying to "recover from homosexuality" and get his real life back. McGraw replied that "I have so much to say to you about what you just said, because a lot of it bothers me so much."