Todd Bridges Talks Settling His ‘Big Brother’ Feud With Cynthia Bailey on ‘Celebrity Beef’

Celebrity Beef - Season 1
Q&A
Charley Gallay/E! Entertainment

What better way to settle a disagreement from a reality show competition than to go on another show? At least that’s the way Celebrity Beef host Joel McHale sees it as he welcomes former Celebrity Big Brother castmates Todd Bridges and Cynthia Bailey to his E! series’ kitchen in the August 16 episode.

The Diff’rent Strokes star and Real Housewives alum, who got into it during Season 3 earlier this year, are tasked on Celebrity Beef with making a chicken dish. McHale will decide the winner based on taste and presentation. The victor takes home $10,000 for their chosen charity and a trophy they may or may not want to display.

Ahead of the episode, Bridges sat down with TV Insider for some dinner conversation.

Did Celebrity Beef bring back all those memories of Celebrity Big Brother?

Todd Bridges: Me and Cynthia made up before Celebrity Beef. So, it was nice to do the show with her, actually, because we are friends, and she is such a good person. We just had a misunderstanding on the show — a dumb misunderstanding. When you are smart adults and realize you both had a misunderstanding, you fix it. That’s what we did.

How much of a cook are you?

I’m a big cook at home. My food tastes amazing. My son has always said that about me. I’m a very good seasoner. Remember on Celebrity Big Brother when I tasted all seven of those things and could tell you what was in them? That will make you a good cook, if you can taste everything.

Do you have a specialty dish?

I love cooking chicken. I do steaks a certain way. I make this steak in the oven, seared on both sides, and put it in there with potatoes and carrots. It’s amazing. The steak is so tender and delicious.

Cynthia Bailey and Todd Bridges

CBS

How was it working with Joel?

He is exciting, moves a lot, talks a lot, and cracks jokes. The amazing part about it is I’ve never had to cook in that small timeframe. Normally, you can take your time. It’s a rhythm. I got thrown off my rhythm, but you’ll see how the show turns out. It’s interesting because everybody’s food tasted good. Let me tell you that. That shows we know how to cook. Joel is a good guy. I dug his jean outfit.

How close are you to the Celebrity Big Brother housemates since the show wrapped?

Cynthia and I talk all the time, but we’ve both been busy, so it has been hard to get together. We’re going to get together really soon and have sushi. I’m in communication with a good amount of them. In fact, we all went out to dinner in L.A.

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Even Todrick Hall? Seems like someone you need to bring on Celebrity Beef.

I don’t think anyone is talking to Todrick. I don’t even think Miesha [Tate] is talking to Todrick, and I talk to Miesha all the time. If he would apologize for his behavior in the house, he’d be cool with me. I’m all about apologies. I think if you can apologize and move forward, it would be great. He owes a lot of people apologies. He was terrible on that show.

Moving on to something positive, I saw on social media that you tweeted a photo of the scale. I remember after Celebrity Big Brother, you mentioned you saw yourself and were motivated to make changes.

I weigh 163 now. I was about 210 before. I got the best diet plan ever. I should sell it. It worked. The good part about it is I’m still very healthy. And the weight is not coming back. I eat right. I don’t drink soda anymore. Soda is the worst thing for you. I drink sparkling water and regular water. I eat healthy meals. Today, I had a protein shake for breakfast. I really like protein shakes. Tonight, I’m going to have sushi. Sushi was our go-to on the show. We all loved it.

Celebrity Beef - Season 1

Charley Gallay/E! Entertainment

Cynthia mentions that you were her celebrity crush as she grew up watching Diff’rent Strokes. It’s crazy to think that you are the last remaining main cast member.

I’ve done a lot of shows that were historical. I was the first Black person on The Waltons. First Black kid on Little House on the Prairie. I was in Roots. There were no other kids with dialogue. To be on Diff’rent Strokes and the one left, when everyone thought I’d be the first to go. Even I thought that at one point. To be still here, it’s amazing to me. It shows you how much I‘ve changed my life. Here I am today with kids. There is something also coming up soon that I can’t say yet. All I can say is it’s coming on September 21. I will not tell you yet. But it’s all about being happy. That’s what it’s all about. I’m very happy with myself.

DIFF'RENT STROKES, Gary Coleman, Dana Plato, Conrad Bain, Todd Bridges, 1978-86. © Columbia/Tri-Star

Columbia/Tri-Star/Courtesy: Everett Collection

Live in Front of a Studio Audience brought renewed visibility to Diff’rent Strokes. What do you make of the show’s impact from today’s lens?

The show made such an impact because we told the truth. We showed the real scenarios happening in America and still happening today. It’s not as bad today, but it’s still happening. That’s the only thing that is sad to me about the country I love. We still got to deal with this mess, of being brown-skinned. We’re Americans. We need to be treated like Americans. That’s who we are. Not everyone is like that, but we still deal with it. It’s a terrible thing to be judged by the color of your skin. To have that in the country I love is not a fun feeling.

What did you take from your Celebrity Beef experience?

I think that people will learn if you can have an argument with someone and forgive each other and move forward, you can become good friends. You don’t have to stay angry with anybody. That’s what kills you early — all that hostility people have for one another. You get sick from that stuff. It’s good to forgive. What I love about Cynthia is she is so special. She is a hustler. I love her.

Celebrity Beef, Tuesdays, 10/9c, E!