Ross Mathews may have lost the title of Celebrity Big Brother winner but he still feels like a champ, having earned the America’s Player prize and the $50,000 second-place jackpot. After Sunday’s finale, Mathews talked to EW about whether the jury picked the best gamer, and why he never promised to take Marissa Jaret Winokur to the final two. (For Winokur’s thoughts, as well as host Julie Chen’s, click here and here.)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How are you feeling?
ROSS MATHEWS: I am thrilled, truly really thrilled. I’m thrilled for my friend. Second place and America’s Player? I’ll take that any day. I love this game. I know how tough it is. I made it to the finale. I already won.
You are a superfan, which means you know how to play the game. You also know the jury doesn’t always vote for the best gamer.
Yes, but you can’t control that. I stand by everything I did in the game. You don’t behave outside of the house, the way you behave inside of the house! This is a game. This how you play it. The rules don’t say you don’t join more than one alliance, or you can’t not tell the truth all the time. I played this game hard. If I didn’t, I would have been home sooner. I made it all the way to the final two. I don’t apologize for anything I did it in this game.
Did you get any intel about how and why everyone voted?
I don’t need intel. I assume the people who voted for Marissa did so because they love Marissa. They thought she should win, and they played with feelings and not strategy. But I’m fine with that. I really am thrilled.
Do you think Mark McGrath made the wrong decision throwing the HOH skiing competition to you?
No. I was true to Mark. I told him I wouldn’t put him on the block, I told him he would go to the final four, and he did.
So Marissa knew you had a final two deal with Mark? How did she know that?
I told her! I told Marissa everything throughout the entire game. I don’t know what was on-air, but I told Marissa everything from day one that I loved Mark, we had a gentleman’s agreement to take care of each other throughout the game. I never once told Marissa I would take her to the final two. Not once.
And yet she stuck by you.
Yes, because we love each other. I don’t know, had I won that final HOH, that I could have not taken Marissa. I don’t know if I could have looked her in the eye. It was going to be a real moral dilemma for me. I still don’t know what I would have done.
Who did you think was going to win America’s vote?
I had no idea. When you are inside the house, you are so isolated from everything, including what other people are saying and what’s going out in the world. All I knew was my game. I was the Carrie Bradshaw of my game. We’re all the starring character of our game! I knew what I was putting out there. I knew I was playing hard and I didn’t know if people were hating me or rooting for me because of it. I’m sure there was both. But I don’t know! America’s Player, as a super fan, means more to me than the title of winner. Because the fans get this game. They want people to go hard, play to win and enjoy every second, to relish the Big Brother experience. Even when I was put on slop, I relished being on slop. It was part of the game!