updated 01/18/2013 AT 1:05 PM ET
•originally published 01/18/2013 AT 1:30 PM ET
The executive producer of a show that focuses on people who have been “catfished” – duped by someone romantically through a false online identity – says he thinks it’s possible that Notre Dame star Manti Te’o truly was in love, or desperately wanted to be, with a fake Internet partner.
Ariel Schulman, who produces the MTV program Catfish: The TV Show with his brother Nev Schulman, said on Good Morning America Friday that he feels for Te’o, who is under intense scrutiny for touting a relationship with a woman who may have never existed.
“I stand by the guy. I think he’s dealing with more emotionally than anyone gives him credit for. Whether she existed or not, those are real feelings,” Schulman said. “He had his heart broken.”