Celebrity Big Brother's Keshia Knight Pulliam Breaks Down Her Decision to Leave and Her Surprising Connection With Omarosa
It was an emotional night for Keshia Knight Pulliam.
After the Big Brother: Celebrity Edition contestant found herself on the block alongside Omarosa thanks to HOH Ross Mathews and failed to win herself the coveted Power of Veto in last night’s episode, the former Cosby Show star made the difficult decision to not fight for her life in the game, but rather beg her fellow Houseguests to send her home to baby Ella. In turn, Knight Pulliam became the second person eliminated from CBS’ all-celeb edition of their reality TV mainstay.
Now that she’s been reunited with her daughter, E! News got on the phone with Knight Pulliam to discuss when and how she came to the decision to pull herself from the game, why she blew up competitor Shannon Elizabeth‘s game in the process, her thoughts on Omarosa’s many admissions about life in President Donald Trump‘s White House, and who has her vote to win the whole thing. Our Q&A is below.
E! News: What an emotional night you had last night! At what point did you have it made up in your mind that you were going to appeal to the other Houseguests to evict you? When did you make that decision?
Knight Pulliam: Really, it was that day. Or the night before, but it wasn’t confirmed until that day because my breast milk supply had been continuously going down and I had been doing everything that I could to try to get it to increase—from upping my water to, over the past few days, taking lactation aid, the natural teas, and all of these different things. And it just continued to deplete. Even up into that, I was rallying to get my votes that I needed to stay in the house, to come up with a plan to stay. But I’m a person who—I look at the signs and I follow my intuition. When I kept doing things to try and it just wasn’t working? And the final straw was the morning of eviction, at like 6:30, I got up to pump because I was just trying to pump, pump, pump because my breast milk just wasn’t coming down the way that it normally did. My breast pump broke! The sucker wouldn’t turn on. I was like, “You have got to be kidding me.” We got another breast pump in, but at that point it was like, “OK, I’ve got to look at these signs and this is not getting better.”
With all those signs, was it an easy decision to make or was there still some hesitation about taking yourself out?
When it comes to her, there is no waffling. Her needs are always going to come first. I’m honest. $ 250,000 would have been an amazing prize to win, but no amount of money is worth sacrificing her needs. It’s just one of those things. As a mom, I can’t even describe it. She comes first, and I’ve made the commitment to continue breast-feeding her. And I was going to stick with that commitment because I feel that it’s the best for me and for Ella and for her needs and health and wellness.
We didn’t get to see much of you telling your Housemates that you wanted to leave. We saw you breakdown after the Power of Veto challenge, where winner Marissa Jaret Winokur told you she’d do whatever you wanted, and then we saw your speech. What was it like in between the challenge and when you made your appeal?
It was definitely emotional. And it proves that it wasn’t something that was pre-meditated, it wasn’t something that was thought out. It really happened in that moment and that’s why a lot of the viewers were like, ‘What the hell is going on?’ Because you didn’t have the time to see something different because it happened in real time. It was just hard because I was just really trying to get them to understand that this was a real-life thing. It wasn’t game. This isn’t any of those things. I really needed to do what was best for Ella. And I feel like, in the end, they really heard me. They felt my authenticity and knew that it was about making sure my baby had what she needs.
What was your reunion with Ella like?
It was so good to see her. Just to see her little face and to ensure that she’s OK. She has had all the booby snacks she wants. Since I’ve been home, it’s been a booby snack free-for-all. [Laughs]
During your appeal to your Housemates, you also blew up Shannon’s spot a little. Do you see her as the biggest threat in the house? How do you view her game play and what was the reason why you wanted to blow up her game?
I wanted to blow up her game because she had been the main person who was orchestrating all of the drama, all of the lies, all of the deceit. They have to take her out. I am sensitive to them wanting to get her out, and I wanted to help them however that I could. Especially in terms of ensuring that I could get back to Ella and give her what she needed. The only way to do that was to expose her to James [Maslow]…He needed to know the truth. He was very upset with me and feeling as though I was the one who had put him up on the block. And Shannon had him believing that. He didn’t realize that, in fact, it was her. Granted, as the alliance, we all wanted him out, but her hands were not clean.
I want to ask you about your relationship with Omarosa. In the beginning, we obviously saw you two clash in that conversation about Donald Trump and Bill Cosby. It didn’t seem like there might be an opportunity to form the bond that it seems like you did by the end. Were you surprised by the way that it evolved so quickly between the two of you?
I was absolutely surprised because you couldn’t have paid me to think that me and Omarosa would come out of this as friends, or have any commonality whatsoever. But I really went into the house with an open mind with everyone to really just not make assumptions about people and allow people to show me who they were. And I’m grateful that I really did that because it allowed me to see Omarosa, to see her heart, and to experience her not for the things that she’s done in the past, but for who she is today. And even in that discussion we had, it was two grown women who were able to have a conversation respectfully, coming from different points of view and being very truthful and honest with our opinions, our truth. Agree to disagree with certain things, but move forward from there. And that’s how it should be. You don’t have to cuss, fuss, argue, fight, and call each other out of your name. We were very clear, very transparent, very articulate about how we felt, where we stood. And ultimately, I feel like, that was the test into us being able to form a true bond.
As viewers, we’ve all been watching attentively for her to drop bombs about her time in the White House. What did you guys make of her telling these tales about what’s happening in Washington?
I mean, I think we’re just like everyone else…We’re like, “Wow, that was some kind of experience.” You know, I really feel like all of our experiences shape us and they contribute to who we are as people. That is an experience along her journey that’s just a part of her story.
When this whole game is over, who among your Housemates are you looking forward to spending some time with outside of the house?
I honestly would be interested in seeing everyone so we can talk offline. It’s a very interesting dynamic when you’re A. playing a game like Big Brother, but then, on top of it, when you are doing it in front of all these cameras and all of these microphones. So I really look forward to—we have talked about it and I do hope that we are able to all come together after Big Brother, even if it’s just to have some pizza or something.
What surprised you most about the game? Were there any misconceptions you had about it that by the time you entered the house, you were like, “Oh, what I thought was different”?
I feel like just the actual house. It’s different. It’s one thing to know you’re not going to have your phone or internet or computer. And that’s fine. But to not be able to have books, not be able to read, not be able to write, not be able to go outside, there are no windows. All those things. Not be able to control the light fixtures, those light switches, when you go to bed, when you wake up. That’s a whole other piece of the challenge. I definitely feel like it’s designed to put you out of your comfort zone and keep you off-kilter and just see how you respond in those circumstance. So, you know, you have to really just be patient, keep your cool, just be present in the moment, and relinquish that aspect of having to be in control.
If they came asking for a future season, would you do it again?
I’ll have to cross that bridge when I come to it. [Laughs]
Fair enough. Lastly, if they were to get to the end, who automatically has your vote to win? Who do you think deserves it at this point?
Of course, if Omarosa makes it, she definitely has my vote because out of everyone she was very loyal to the end. And Metta [World Peace], just because he’s playing the most un-game game I’ve ever seen in my life. If he makes it the end, he just deserves to win.”
Big Brother: Celebrity Edition airs Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 8 p.m., leading up to the big finale on Sunday, Feb. 25, on CBS.