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Celebrity Big Brother: Keshia Knight Pulliam Seriously Considered Staying to Backdoor Shannon

Why she ultimately decided to go

Sadie Gennis

As the Celebrity Big Brother house was gearing up for its second consecutive blindside of the season, the entire plan was derailed by...breast milk?

With HOH Ross Mathews and his alliance of Marissa Jaret Winokur, Brandi Glanville and Ariadna Gutierrez planning to backdoor Shannon Elizabeth with the help of Mark McGrath, it all came down to the Veto. Nominees Omarosa and Keshia Knight Pulliam fought their hearts out, but ultimately Marissa secured herself the Power of Veto and everything seemed to be going according to plan. That is, until Keshia immediately began sobbing, leaving viewers stunned as to why she would be so inconsolable when her safety was now so close.

As it turns out, Keshia's breast milk had been depleting in the house and she begged Marissa not to use the POV so that she could get evicted and go home to feed her one-year-old daughter, Ella.

It was a truly shocking turn of events that perfectly encapsulated the Big Brother motto to "expect the unexpected." TV Guide spoke to Keshia about the events that led up to her tough decision and what she hopes will happen to Shannon in the wake of her exit.

The Celebrity Big Brother Houseguests Are So Not Ready for Zingbot

When did you start becoming concerned about your breast milk and begin seriously considering leaving?
Keshia Knight Pulliam:
Honestly, I didn't really seriously consider leaving the house probably until yesterday or maybe just the night before. My breast milk supply, it kind of slowly had been decreasing over the last couple days and I asked for more bottled water and more mother's milk, it's like a tea that you can drink to help your breast milk supply. I was trying to up my pumping and my milk just wasn't as plentiful as it had been. And then the final straw was I got up at 6 a.m. to pump the morning of eviction and my breast pump just died. I was like, you've got to be kidding me. We got a replacement and all of that, but I'm one of those people who I don't ignore the signs and I was like, okay, all of these signs, my body is just letting me know that my baby needs me and my baby needs more milk. The stress and everything in this house and being away from her, it was only going to continue to deplete and I can't let that happen.

​Keshia Knight Pulliam, Celebrity Big Brother

Viewers who don't watch the feeds were really confused when all of this went down after the Veto. Can you walk me through some of the conversations you had with the other houseguests about your situation ahead of the Veto?
Ahead of the Veto, I was really honest. We were on the block and I knew they were going to send one of us home and I just was honest with them. I was like, "this is what's going on. This is my situation." I had planned to fight. I am a competitive person. I came to Big Brother, I came to win, but ultimately, my daughter as always been my priority and there's no amount of money worth sacrificing her needs. So I know a lot of people are parents in the household, but it wasn't just the fear fact of "oh, I miss my baby. I want to go home." It was, "I'm my baby's main nutritional source." She is drinking breast milk even though she just turned a year old, my daughter just simply wasn't interested in baby food and transitioning. And that's the truth of the matter. We had all of those different conversations and there were conversations of, "oh, can we backdoor Shannon instead of sending you home" or all of these different other options, and honestly, I was open to it. I very much considered it. But given their track record in how they completely blindsided me and turned on me the week before, unfortunately, their word was not that valuable to me anymore. And I just had to stress to them that this isn't gameplay. This is real life. This is my daughter's needs. I'm not gaming you. I'm not doing any of that. This is true honesty and I have been upfront and honest this entire game with each and every one of you and I need you to give me that same honesty right now.

It looked like you were really fighting it out in the Veto. Why were you seemingly gunning for the Veto if you wanted to go home?
Pulliam: Well, because you don't have to use the Veto. And if you win the Veto, then you have the decision what to do with it.

After Marissa won the Veto, it looked as though your mind wasn't 100 percent made up to leave that night. What options were you weighing?
Pulliam: I was weighing the option, as I said, of staying until the next eviction, but it wasn't guaranteed. But the rate the breast milk was depleting, it wasn't to say that I could even continue pumping during that time. There were way too many factors. Like, yes, there was another eviction on Friday, but we had no clue who was going to be HOH and in the Big Brother house, with them knowing the situation, just because they knew the situation doesn't mean they were going to put me up again because everyone was very much about their individual game. So I knew that this was probably the only opportunity in the time window that I needed to make sure that I could get back, to make sure that my breast milk would sure be flowing, to get home to make sure that Ella had her needs.

Was the main appeal of sticking around until Friday to ensure that Shannon got evicted?
Pulliam: Shannon out, yes. That was the main appeal.

You did blow up her game a little bit in your speech. Why did you want to cause that trouble for Shannon?
Pulliam: I wanted to call out her game because I did want to help them in terms of getting Shannon out because Shannon was very much the eye of the storm and the puppet master to a lot of the deceit and everything going on in the house. She was just cutting side deals with everyone, she completely orchestrated the whole alliance to turn against me and they needed to know what they were up against. And James had become her main ally because she had convinced him that it was my doing putting him on the block. What he didn't realize was that it was really hers. So the only way that I thought they were going to have a chance to get Shannon out is for James to turn on her. And [this was] the only way I felt that he would because I didn't have anything to lose or to gain. I'm like, "look James. I'm leaving. So just so you know, this is what Shannon did and you need to watch your back. You don't need to trust her." Because if they teamed up, they would have been able to pick off everyone in that house.

What are the chances that James will heed your warning?
Pulliam: You know, I don't know what the chances are. But one thing about me is had I said nothing, I know it would have been closer to zero. Even if I helped give even a 20 percent chance, then it's worth it.

Do you think that evicting you was a sacrifice for many of the houseguests since who knows when they'll get another clean shot at Shannon again?
Pulliam: No, I don't think it was. I think I was already a target and if I wasn't going this week, they were going to take me out [next]. And I feel like ultimately, it was either go out on their terms or mine and they were going to try and take me out.

Shannon Elizabeth, Celebrity Big Brother
Monty Brinton/CBS

So if you had stayed, you wouldn't have aligned with Ross and Marissa and worked with them going forward?
Pulliam: I don't know. I don't know what exactly I would have done. But I feel like, in general, the plan was to get me out. And the little bit that I've seen since I've been home, my instincts were correct.

You were the first off in Splash and The Celebrity Apprentice, but you really seemed to be doing well here. How far do you think you could have gone if you stayed?
Pulliam: I feel like I definitely could have gone to the Final 2. But again, my daughter and her needs come first. It's amazing, the thought of winning $250,000, anyone, no matter how much or little money you have, if they said different, they're lying. Ultimately, her, my baby, is priceless and there's nothing that I wouldn't give up for her.

Metta has also expressed his desire to leave multiple times. Do you think the house should also help him out and evict him, or do they need to focus solely on helping their own games going forward?
Pulliam: I have been an advocate for letting Metta go home. I felt we should have let Metta go home already. However, I feel like they're making the grave mistake because Metta was clear,"if y'all don't let me go home now, I'm going to start playing this game." And I feel he's reached the point where he's about to take all of them out and I'm cheering for him.

Do you think he has what it takes to make it to the finals?
Actually, I do. Metta definitely beats to his own drum, but he's a champion and you can't take that away from him. And when you mess with a champion mentality, they're underestimating him gravely.

It seems like you and Omarosa had a real bond. Did you ever expect that would be possible before this?
Pulliam: I never in a million years thought that Omarosa and I would actually become friends. I would have lost a bet every time. But I'm really happy that I just allowed her to show me who she was and I did not judge her based on her past or any preconceived notions based on decisions she's made, who she supported in the White House or any other things. I just took the opportunity to get to know her as a human being and I'm really happy that I did that.

Do you think you'll continue this friendship outside the house?
I do. I feel like you let people show you who they are and you just take it one day at a time, and if she continues to be consistently exactly who she shows me to be, then I think why not?

Other than Metta, who are you potentially hoping to see in the finals?
I would like to see Marissa there. I wish everyone well. My final ask is that I just pray that whoever makes it sets an example in terms of yes, Big Brother is a game of just kind of how you can maneuver behind the scenes and all these different things, but I really just pray someone who plays a really good, clean game wins.

Overall, how do you think you did in the Celebrity Big Brother house?
Pulliam: I feel like I did a really great job. You know, I feel like I definitely trusted my gut, I trusted my intuition. I'm happy that I did because there was one scene that they may or may not have shown because when you're in the house, you don't know what the world sees, but right before the [eviction] last time, I just had this gut feeling that something was wrong and I went to them like, "something just feels off. But I just feel this, are you sure you're voting for James? Are you voting for James?" And my instincts were never wrong. I felt it and I trusted it and that's reassurance. So often we, as people, we have these intuitions, we have these gut feelings and we talk ourselves out of them when we don't believe them. And I'm just really grateful that I did.

Celebrity Big Brother airs Wednesday, Friday, Sunday and Monday at 8/7c on CBS.

(Full disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS.)