Keshia Knight Pulliam and Omarosa Manigault may have agreed on strategy in the Celebrity Big Brother house, but they never saw eye to eye about two people in the outside world: Bill Cosby and President Donald Trump. Nevertheless, the actress is content with how their exchange went down, noting that they “absolutely” agreed to disagree.
“As women you can have conversations. And we had a very real conversation,” Pulliam, 38, exclusively tells Us Weekly. “We were both in a respectable way able to voice our opinions, voice our differences, and then move past it and be able to see each other for human beings. You can have political differences, you can have all types of differences, but ultimately we are all human beings.”
As previously reported, Pulliam and Manigault, 44, briefly got into a nail-biting chat about their respective relationships with Trump and Cosby in the Head of Household room early on in the game.
“Do you feel like you were able to understand how people from the outside looking in just saw the hate that that campaign kind of incited and that you supported it?” Pulliam asked at the time. The former political aide, who left the White House in December 2017, replied: “When you’re in the middle of the hurricane, it’s hard to see the destruction on the outer bands. Since you’re asking me, you stood strong by somebody who you have known and have been loyal to and have known for a long time and who has supported you, and people judged you for that. But only you know the inner workings of your relationship with Mr. Cosby. That’s the same thing with me and Mr. Trump.” (Dozens of women have accused Cosby of sexual assault.)
The former Celebrity Apprentice alum would go on to talk about her Oval Office experiences with the rest of the cast. But, no, Pulliam doesn’t think Manigault did so for strategy.
“I feel like that is some real life stuff. What people have to realize is that trumps — I know, pun — but that’s real life stuff she has going on that can affect her freedom, her livelihood. So many things. And I just can’t see anyone using that as gameplay,” she tells Us. “Everything going on with her with the White House is real life stuff that I feel that far eclipses anything that is going on in this house that you’re only going to spend a couple weeks of your life in.”
Manigault’s villain persona past didn’t seem to phase the child star either. “I feel like we all evolve, we all have our history, we all have things that we’ve done that we may look back on and go, ‘Oh, I don’t know why I did that.’ Or you were just in a different space in your life when you made those choices,” Pulliam explains. “How she showed up was a very different person than how she showed up on TV [in the past]. And let’s face it, we have to be real. Reality TV isn’t quite real. And people take on personas.”
She adds: “I feel like she’s finally realized that when you become these people on reality TV, even though in you’re mind you may be playing a character, people view it as being exactly who you are. So I don’t know if its through marriage or whatever has happened in her life that are kind of transitioning her and her being a different, newer, updated version of herself. And my thing is, I’m going to treat you as you show up. And that’s just that. So until you break my trust you’ll have my trust.”
And she had Manigault’s loyalty until the end. Despite their awkward sit-down, the pair quickly decided to make a final two deal. And even when she felt cornered to choose a side, Pulliam stuck by Manigault.
“When everything happened and she was gone from the house [for an asthma attack] Shannon [Elizabeth] actually told some really crazy lies against Omarosa and tried her best to turn me against her,” Pulliam claims to Us. “And I’m really grateful that I kind of turned inward instead of reacting and really thought about it and really considered the source of who it was coming from and the overall picture. And I was like, ‘This just doesn’t make sense.’ So I’m really happy that I trusted my gut. I trusted my intuition. And I based how I responded based on how people showed up. And that’s something that I always say. When people show me who they are not only do I appreciate it but I believe them. And Shannon had more than several opportunities had she shown me her true colors. And Omarosa had shown me nothing but loyalty while we were in the house.”
Pulliam may have exited the CBS show on Monday (she grew concerned about not having enough breast milk for her 12-month-old daughter, Ella), but she will still be rooting for Manigault at home. As for if she has a shot to win?
“I really hope that she does. But the little bit that I have seen since I’ve been home — we were never a part of their equation of being in the final of this show,” Pulliam tells Us. “My hope for her is that she goes in there and she gives them hell. And she fights and does her best. But does it in a way that keeps with the integrity of the person of who she is and she’s desiring to be.”
Celebrity Big Brother airs on CBS Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 8 p.m. ET. To watch the live feeds, click here.