Originally written on The Other Paper  |  Last updated 1/30/13

As if the Manti Te'o story couldn't get even any weirder, now Dr. Phil McGraw — who questioned Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the mastermind behind the Te'o fake girlfriend prank, in his first public interview which will air Thursday and Friday on the "Dr. Phil" show — told NBC that he believes Tuiasosopo genuinely fell in love with the Notre Dame football star during the course of the two-year deception. "Here we have a young man that fell deeply, romantically in love," McGraw told NBC's Mike Tiabbi. "I asked him straight up, 'Was this a romantic relationship with you?' And he says yes. I said, 'Are you then therefore gay?' And he said, 'When you put it that way, yes.' And then he caught himself and said, 'I am confused.'" Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy In the two-part interview with Dr. Phil, Tuiasosopo said Te'o was nothing more than an innocent victim in the Catfish hoax. "I wanted to end it because after everything I had gone through , I finally realized that I just had to move on with my life," Tuiasosopo told McGraw in the interview. McGraw told Taibbi that, after speaking with Tuaisosopo, he believes that Te'o "absolutely, unequivocally" was not involved in the hoax in any way.

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