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Big Brother 17‘s sixth live eviction broke up this season’s power couple. Shelli and Clay were separated by the hands of the self-proclaimed “Asian hillbilly,” James.
After Clay sacrificed his game, urging the other houseguests to vote him out and keep Shelli, the unavoidable question was: What made their relationship worth more than half a million dollars? Does he even call her his girlfriend? “We’re together you could say. It’s hard to put a label on it,” Clay tells The Hollywood Reporter. Here, the Texas A&M football star talks to THR about giving up his game, and whether wedding bells will be ringing anytime soon.
You were a recruit and only watched the show a few months prior to entering the game. Do you think you were qualified to play?
I think everyone is equally qualified. You look at someone like Johnny Mac, who I don’t think has watched all of the first season, and he’s still there. Jason was a super fan and knew everything about the game and he ended up getting evicted as early as he did. I don’t really think there are qualifications. The more you watch the show, the more you know the game, which definitely helps. However there are so many aspects that take part in this game and how to play it. A lot of it’s luck and chance. I don’t think me not being a super fan hurt in any way.
On the live feeds things got heated with you and James. What stopped it from being a physical altercation?
I would never cross that line as far as being physical with somebody in that setting. Emotions are flying, things do get heated, but that’s not who I am. As for him, I don’t think that’s who he is either. There wasn’t for a second a time when I thought I would lose my temper and have it turn physical. Right before the eviction I told him it was water under the bridge. We squashed it right there.
It would be obvious for Shelli to go after James. Did you advise her to align with him at all?
He’s a great game player, but I don’t think she should because there’s no way to trust him. He’ll always have in the back of his mind that she’s coming after him, which she should.
It seems from the fight that Vanessa’s game has blown up. Do you think she’s the next target?
I don’t hope that she’s the next target and I don’t think she is. She’s a great player. She’s extremely loyal in this game. I don’t think she’ll be the [next] target, but eventually she will be because she’s getting too in with too many people. I know Shelli needs her right now though, that’s her person to fall back on after me leaving. The two of them together are a deadly duo.
How will you respond to super fans and thousands of people who applied who may think you gave up playing the game and took their spot to play?
Everybody’s going to have their opinion, and I understand that. At the end of the day one of us is going to have to leave, so this has been a huge dream for her, and I didn’t want to take that away from her. She would have been extremely devastated if she was sitting in this chair right now. I’m not saying I’m not, but she didn’t deserve to go home for the events that put her in that situation.
Out of the past five evicted houseguests who will be the first that you reach out to?
I fully expect to connect to all of them. Jeff, Jason, even Jace will be the first three I connect with and look forward to talking to.
Eventually, of course Da’Vonne. There’s no hard feelings with her. I fully expect to communicate and have a relationship with everyone in this house after it’s all said and done.
You mentioned in the DR that you and Shelli had the greatest bond in the house, but there’s also a pair of twins. Do you think your bond is greater than two twins?
Let me specify: we have one of the greatest bonds in the house. Of course, twins — they’re going to have that bond that you can’t have with anyone else. Aside from them I don’t think anyone in the house has trust and loyalty like Shelli and I did.
Was part of the reason you sacrificed your game because you would rather be home with your family and friends than potentially stuck in the jury house?
No, not at all. In the jury house you’re in this extremely nice house, you’re getting paid to be there — of course I wanted to be in jury. I’m excited to be with my family and friends, but if I had to pick I’d much rather be in jury than go home this early.
Had Shelli gone home, would you have had a romantic relationship with Meg if it meant furthering your game?
It’s funny because Meg was actually on my list to target if I would have stayed. I don’t know how this whole little Meg thing was portrayed, but there’s definitely nothing there. She’s a cool girl, fun to hang out with, but that’s it. No romantic connection whatsoever.
You and Shelli were shocked that James didn’t keep his word, but it is Big Brother, and part of the game is lying. Don’t you think it was a good move he made, or are you still bitter about it?
No, I’m not bitter at all. Of course, if you look at it from where he was before his HoH reign to where he was after he definitely made some moves that put him in a better position. He made a comment to us that in this game you have to leave your morals at the door. That’s one way to play the game; however myself, and Shelli included, didn’t get the memo, obviously. We came into this house knowing we weren’t going to play a certain way. We wanted to play an honest game and we did that for the most part.
If you could come back for an All-Showmance season would you come back?
One hundred percent.
What past showmance would you align with?
Maybe Brenchel if they were to come back. I know they’ve come back twice, but that would be a cool couple to align with. Even Jeff and Jordan would be awesome.
Brendon and Rachel got married. Daniele and Dominic are married. Jordan and Jeff are engaged. Will there be wedding bells for you and Shelli?
(Laughs.) Wedding bells … that’s a long ways away. I said I’ll take her on a date, I owe her a date. That’s the next step and we’ll take it from there. Wedding bells, I don’t hear them ringing anytime soon. If they do, that’s great.
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