Big Brother

She may be a superfan, but even Marissa Jaret Winokur has her limits when playing Celebrity Big Brother.

Though she won the inaugural season of the CBS reality show, Winokur talks about Ross Mathews as if he should have been the one to go home with the grand prize. After the finale, Winokur spoke with EW about why she didn’t campaign for herself and why she owes it all to Mathews. (For Mathews’ thoughts, as well as host Julie Chen’s, click here and here.)

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You were selfless in your final speeches. You didn’t say anything about yourself. You talked more about Ross!
Because he played such a good game and I’m such a fan of the show. I don’t know what people saw at home but he played such a good game.

But you are supposed to campaign for you!
I couldn’t play against him. There was two times he saved me. I wouldn’t have been able to be where I was if it weren’t for him. I knew the two of us had a partnership and I thought maybe he was gonna take me to the final two and I was just going to say, “Yeah, he deserves to win.” And then I was like, “Oh, I brought him!” And it was kind of hitting me while I was doing it, oh I can win. So I just said something from my heart. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t have a speech. The truth was, I couldn’t have not taken him. I wouldn’t have been in the final four if not for him. That felt like the right thing. I know it’s Big Brother. I know it’s a game. But I’m also a mother. It was the more human thing to do. I said 10 times in the house, it’s not worth $250,000 to backstab or hurt my friends. I always said I wasn’t going to do that.

Big Brother: Celebrity Edition
Credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS

You didn’t know Ross before this, right?
No! It’s shocking, right? People were like, “You had to have known each other.” We just clicked. We never had a final two. We were very honest with each other.

Knowing all you know about Big Brother because you’ve watched every season, what rules do you feel like you broke?
I don’t think I broke any rules! Truthfully, I needed to win more challenges. I always knew you can’t win unless you win challenges. You have to get yourself to the winning circle. I always knew I can’t be taken there, I would have to get myself there. So winning that last challenge was the one moment I really needed. Other than that, I played the only game I could play. I knew I had to team up with somebody who was gonna win challenges. I got stuff with Ross, who I didn’t think was gonna win a challenge. But then he did. It just worked out.

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Big Brother
Big Brother

Julie Chen hosts as the houseguests battle it out.

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