Big Brother 19 is set to kick off, but the fallout from last summer’s edition of the CBS summertime reality competition is still playing out. In a roundup with the Hollywood Reporter, several of the most memorable Big Brother alums talked about the show’s many showmances and why they are a big part of gameplay.
Paulie Calafiore, who made waves with his showmance with Zakiyah Everette, told THR that last season’s winner, Nicole Franzel, wasn’t in a fake showmance with Corey Brooks, but that their relationship was more of a “thing.” However, Calafiore called out his Big Brother co-stars Natalie Negrotti and James Huling for their phony relationship.
“Nicole and Corey weren’t fake, they just never dubbed themselves a relationship whereas I think everybody on the show knew what James and Natalie were,” Calafiore told THR. “Hopefully they do a better job at casting people who won’t do that. Z and I tried [our relationship] and we broke up in February. It happens. We’re still very close friends.”
This is not the first time Paulie has called out Natalie for using James to further her Big Brother game.
“After Natalie has said multiple times that she will only be friends with James outside of the house, I think it is pretty obvious,” Calafiore told Us Weekly last summer.
“I think their relationship in the game is purely strategy. They do have genuine feelings, but as far as a relationship she has stated multiple times that she has no interest in dating him and will only be friends.”
Big Brother 16 alum Zach Rance also pointed to Natalie and James as examples of players using someone to further their game.
“It helps your game if you have someone there who has your back,” Rance told THR. “Natalie and James went really far and Nicole and Corey both went really far.”
In the new interview, Negrotti defended her Big Brother relationship, telling THR she had true feelings for Huling, whom she once referred to as her soulmate.
“Are you saying that I was in a fake showmance [with James]?” Negrotti asked THR.
“People are very shallow and wanted to judge it. I genuinely cared for this person with all of my heart and it’s sad people say it wasn’t true because we look different and come from different backgrounds.”
James and Natalie continued their relationship for several months outside of the Big Brother house, but things took a bad turn earlier this year. Now it appears the former Big Brother lovebirds are no longer on speaking terms. In April, Huling posted a photo of a cease-and-desist letter Negrotti’s lawyer sent him.
I made that 30 min Rant after I got a visit from the mail man. Of course I'm going to Rant on. Plus her (family lawyer told me to do so.) ???? pic.twitter.com/2uO2r5ceiI— James Huling (@AsianJamesBB17) April 26, 2017
James also posted a Periscope in which he explained how his relationship with his Big Brother girlfriend ultimately ended. In the video, James admitted he and Natalie played up their romance for fans, but he also accused the New Jersey cheerleader of cheating on him with her ex-boyfriend while they were still “officially” a couple. You can see Huling’s explanation of those things went down in the video below.
Now that the Big Brother alums are no longer in a romantic relationship, James seems to have moved on. Huling recently posted a photo of the new Victoria’s Secret credit card he received, so it looks like he has another lady to buy lingerie for.
Although Negrotti’s relationship with her Big Brother showmance went downhill within a few months after she exited the BB house, she is still one of Big Brother’s biggest cheerleaders. Negrotti told THR she hopes to see a diverse cast this season.
“Obviously I want to see a cheerleader and peppy girl like me,” Natalie added. “I’m always rooting for the cheerleaders. I want to see people that are eager to play the game. I want it to be a house full of thirsty and competitive people.”
Big Brother 19 premieres June 28 on CBS.
[Featured Image by James Huling/Instagram]