Ricky Williams on his fateful Celebrity Big Brother choice
Ouch. Ricky Williams dominated down the stretch in Celebrity Big Brother, winning the last two Head of House competitions as well as the final veto challenge. But in the end, he couldn’t even get a single jury vote for his efforts. Ricky was shut out against Tamar Braxton, who won the season unanimously while the former Heisman winner and NFL star was left with the $50,000 runner-up prize.
How does Ricky feel about being swept? Does he regret not taking Dina Lohan or Lolo Jones to the end instead? And what does he make about Lolo calling him out to Julie Chen after he evicted her? We asked Ricky all that and more just an hour after he stepped out of the house. (Also make sure to read our interview with winner Tamar Braxton.)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You dominated in competitions down the stretch so why do you think Tamar won, and won unanimously?
RICKY WILLIAMS: Yeah, that’s a good question. Honestly, I don’t know. I’m sure I’ll reflect on it in the next couple of days and try to come up with an answer. But Tamar is a wonderful human being, a big personality. And she said it in her speech, she was all over the place, but she came back to kindness. And she kept us laughing, and she was just a joy to be around.
Which votes surprised you the most?
To be honest, when I sat down and looked at the jury, I started doing the math. And none of them surprised me. I kind of went through my head and the different exchanges that I had with everyone, and it just made sense to me that they would all vote for Tamar.
You didn’t think they would respect the fact that you were such a threat so early in the game? You had people like Tom Green, it was his mission to get you out, couldn’t do it, and you’re winning everything down in the stretch. You didn’t think that would get his vote?
I didn’t. I didn’t. I didn’t believe it. But, one of the things that Lola and I talked about a lot these past couple of days is, you don’t want to get blood on your hands because it’ll hurt you in the final vote. And I didn’t believe it. But I think people are still emotional about the way the game was played and what happened. So, it makes sense to me.
Ricky, you’re an interesting cat, because you’re very even-keeled. Yet at the same time, you’re a huge, big time competitor. Really competitive. So just take me through how you’re feeling now. I mean, I know on some level you have to be kind of bummed to have not won, just cause you’re such a competitive guy, right?
I think what I’m bummed about the most is I felt like I had genuine connections and conversations with a lot of people in the house, and that none of them turned into a vote. It’s a little bit of a bummer. But honestly, and I said it a lot during the show and Joey said it best, he said only one person can win, but everyone plays a role in the whole narrative. And the fact that I got really close with Tamar, and we had a lot of amazing conversations. I feel even though she’s the grand champion, that I contributed to her being there, and that feels good to me.
How do you think you would’ve done against Lolo Jones or Dina Lohan if you had brought one of them to the end instead of Tamar?
It’s hard to answer that question because that thought never crossed my mind. And coming down to the final two, their consideration of how many votes that I would get, it honestly never crossed my mind. It really didn’t. I’m a competitor, and I liked to compete more than I actually liked to win.
You tried to make a deal with Lolo for the final two. She said no. Had she said yes, would she have been sitting next to at the end?
Well, had she said yes, the deal was, and I wasn’t going to compete, I wasn’t going to try to win, and I’d let her and Tamar fight it out in hopes that whichever one of them won would bring me with them to the final two. So either way, even in that scenario, Tamar beat Lolo in the in the final HOH. So it would have been the same ending, except I wouldn’t have won on the final HOH. So, I really liked this ending. Like you said, I’ve got a couple of big wins. The last two Head of Households. And I got to sit next to one of my closest allies and friends in the house and be a part of her winning. And I get a decent size check to go home with myself. So, it was a good experience and a happy ending for a lot of people.
I don’t even know if you know this yet — because you’ve only been out of the house an hour as we’re speaking — but when Lolo got out of the house, she said to Julie that you made a big thing in there about wanting to be friends with people outside of the game, but then she didn’t know if she could now be friends with you after what you did in getting rid of her. What do you make of that?
Sleeping on the other side of the room from Lolo I got a chance to get to know her, and I’m not surprised by it. I really respect her and I think she’s a fierce and a wonderful competitor. And hopefully, she changes her mind. But if not, I have to respect that.
Is there anything you would change about how you played in there?
There’s not one thing that I would change about the way I played. Again, I’m a competitor and I like to compete, and I wasn’t playing to win. I was trying to compete, to play my game, and to play a game that my children and my wife could be proud of. And I feel like I’ve accomplished all of those things.
How do you compare this experience to the one on Celebrity Apprentice?
The Celebrity Apprentice experience really prepared me for this experience. I’ve learned so much about myself and my leadership style, and I took all the lessons from Celebrity Apprentice into this and it helped me end up as the number two in this game. So, just realizing that I’m a deep introvert and that if I want to win in a social game, I have to do something to come out of my shell and make genuine connections with people. And I think I was able to do that, and that’s why I was able to survive so long.
I remember we asked you before you went into the house and you brought that up. You said, listen, this is going to be the hardest thing for me. I am an introvert. Were there points at times in the house where you were just kind of enjoying your solitude and being alone and you said, listen, get your ass up. Go talk to people.
Oh, so many times. On a daily basis. I mean, if I’m being honest, I’m an introvert, but mostly kind of a deeper thinker. And one of the things that I had to overcome was my dislike of small talk. And so, I had to engage in small talk more than I’m comfortable with. And times where I was enjoying the peace and quiet in my own room. You get this eerie feeling like, someone’s probably talking about me. Many times I jumped up and started to walk around and find someone to talk to.
Whom did you end up getting closest to in the house?
I think Natalie. Natalie and Tamar. Natalie, until she left, and once Natalie left, Tamar and I grew closer.
Were you able to have any of those deeper discussions that I know you like to have?
I had a lot of them. Tamar and I had some extremely deep conversations, as did Natalie and myself. And I did with Lolo. Even Kandi. And I tried to with Dina, but yeah. [Laughs]
How did it feel to get out of that house? I saw you run over and all of a sudden you’re making out on stage. Clearly, you had a good time in there, but an even better time getting out.
Yeah, I’m looking forward to getting home and getting in my own bed. It’s nice to have some freedom and see other people. And especially my wife and my son. It feels great to be out.
Will you watch any of this season playback? I mean you lived it. Will you go back and watch any of the episodes, you think?
I probably won’t. I’ll get the play by play from my wife and my son. And if there’s something that they think I need to watch, I’ll probably check that out.