‘Big Brother 17’: Julie Chen Says Audrey’s Transgender Status Was Always Going To Be Revealed

Audrey Middleton has been a standout in the opening days of Big Brother 17, but her gender identity is not the reason. Middleton at first appeared to control the game, before players shared notes about her conversations and her lies were exposed. She quickly lost allies and is in danger of leaving the Big Brother house sooner rather than later.

Following the first eviction of the season, Entertainment Weekly asked Big Brother host Julie Chen whether the show ever considered not identifying Middleton as transgender, since that fact is irrelevant to her game play. Chen said no.

“It was always agreed on both sides – hers and [the] networks – to be transparent about her being transgender. She wanted to do it and the network thought it was the right thing to do as well.”

Chen also said Audrey’s choice to vote against Jackie, while the rest of the house voted out Jace, probably hurt her game.

“I have no idea how the Audrey vote will end up affecting her game. My gut says bad. Shows she cannot stick to her word and she changes on a dime. Shows you can’t count on her.”

Audrey told Jeff Schroeder in her pre-season interview that she might be a “misunderstood villain” in the program. She is a Big Brother superfan who applied online to be a house guest.

Big Brother producers had planned to wait until Audrey introduced herself as transgender to her fellow house guests before discussing her backstory. But the details were leaked to TMZ before the season began.

Producer Alison Grodner told Entertainment Tonight Audrey’s backstory is not the sole reason she was cast.

“Honestly, she would have been cast whether she was transgender or not. She is fabulous. We love her, and we’re excited that we’ll ultimately have our first transgender [houseguest] in ‘Big Brother’ history this season.”

Grodner said being transgender is not all there is to Audrey, calling her “charismatic, bright and a strategic player too.”

Julie Chen made an unrelated interesting comment to EW. Thursday night, Big Brother finally revealed that Liz and Julia Nolan are participating in the “twin twist.” They are playing as the same person and will enter the game as individuals if they can survive five evictions. EW asked Julie where the other twin goes while her sister is in the house.

“No idea where the other twin goes other than in a sequester situation. Good question!”

Big Brother 17 airs in CBS prime time, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday nights.

[Photos: CBS; Michael Loccisano / Getty Images Entertainment]