Tamar Braxton Sounds Off on Making History with 'Celebrity Big Brother' Win

Scott Fishman
Q&A Sonja Flemming/CBS

The first one in and the last one to leave, Tamar Braxton emerged the winner of Season 2 of Celebrity Big Brother. It was the second time in the CBS show’s history the competition ended with a unanimous vote among the houseguests.

The singer and television personality also became the first African-American winner of the United States version. She overcame former pro football player Ricky Williams to secure the $250,000 grand prize, and the victory celebration was still in full-swing when we caught up with the newly anointed Celebrity Big Brother champ.

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Social media was abuzz after you made Big Brother history in more ways than one. What was it like for you when you found out about all that?

Tamar Braxton: It was like the best day on top of the best feeling ever. I’m such a Big Brother fan. So, to win is astonishing to me. It’s crazy. On top winning, breaking records. Not just being the first African-American or African-American female, but winning unanimously? Those are the things that matter to me because I’m a fan of the show. I’m not really a person who cares about gender or race or anything like that because I have a lot of friends and family from one scope to the other. For me to break a Big Brother record and come into a house with the stigma that you’re going to leave and never going to win. Then to win unanimously, are you kidding me? It’s amazing.

After 29 days and being reunited with your son after all that time, it was one of the more feel-good moments in the whole series. Tell me about this moment.

To see his face. My whole prayer walking into the house was not to have any regrets and to feel like it was worth it. And I promise you when I saw his face, I knew it was worth it. This wasn’t about winning, but honestly, it was about seeing a goal for yourself when you don’t believe in yourself. When it’s manifesting and coming true, and you’re actually feeling it and seeing it in people’s faces, it meant the entire world to me.

Monty Brinton/CBS

You mentioned on the finale how you wanted to buy a house. Is that still the plan?

Absolutely. I’m not going to Saks. Don’t worry about that.

You have such a history on reality TV with your family. How did this experience compare?

Braxton Family Values is based on me and my life as a sister. Tamar & Vince was similar, and now I have my own spin-off about me and living my life as a single-women. It’s all my personal life, but this was like Tamar in the house with strangers and roommates she has never met before. I never had roommates before. This is my first experience with roommates. You see how I am playing the game and when I wake up in the morning because you don’t get to see that on Braxton Family Values or my own reality show.

A big part of the season for you was your reconciliation with Kandi Burruss. What do you think your friendship will be like moving forward beyond the show?

We are friends beyond the show. When the show ended, she came to my room and was like, “Tamar, I have a hit record with Ariana Grande. So, we are both winners tonight.” I’m like, “Yeah we are girl.” I’m celebrating all her successes. She is such an amazing inspiration. I’m grateful for the time we had in the house to mend the fences that needed to be mended.

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What was it like getting your phone back? What were some of the big things you found out about after you were in isolation in the house for all that time?

First of all, my phone blew up in my hands. I just couldn’t believe how cut off I was from the world. I had no idea who won the Super Bowl. I had no idea who won at the Grammys. Information I would know as soon as things happened. It was difficult being cut off from the outside world, but then again it was a nice thing because it gave me the chance to think about what you want to change or need to change. The thoughts you want to manifest to the universe. So, I took advantage of that time.

How do you think you grew as a person? You had your confrontational moments, but then toward the end there came patience and understanding.

That’s something you don’t see on my reality shows. I’ve actually been working on that for a long time, five years. To be able to show the human side of me and the part that shows how I really do care about other people rather than myself. I’m a Pisces, so other people’s feelings and emotions matter more than mine. A lot of people don’t get a chance to see that. They just see me popping off and going from there. But there is another side of me, and I’m grateful people got a chance to see the softer side of Tamar.

Monty Brinton/CBS

When you see people leave the house, it’s with one bag. However, it appeared you had all this hair pieces and accessories, different clothes. Take us through how much you really brought into the house to prepare for your long stay there.

First of all, I want to make it known that Dina Lohan did not repeat one outfit one time. She had more clothes than anybody. I told her, “I’ve never seen somebody pack as much as you have in one bag.” We were only allotted one bag, and I think we left with one bag and like four trash bags.

Do you think the result for Ricky would have been different had he chosen Lolo Jones over you?

I don’t think it would have been unanimous. I don’t think he would have had a less chance of winning. I think Lolo would have been split if I’m honest about it. Lolo was very emotional. I talked about it in my final speech how important it was to not be so emotional when it comes to a response. I think a lot of people are bypassing the fact she was a very emotional player. Not a woman but a player. So was Ricky, so I think it would probably had been split to be honest.

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What is one thing you’ll take from this whole experience?

I think my favorite moment was connecting with Ricky. I’m not saying this because he took me with him. I’m saying this because our conversations were deeper than just player to player. That’s why I called him. It wasn’t just on the finale I started calling him that. I called him that maybe two weeks ago because our conversations were so deep and real. I’m really grateful to know our relationship will continue outside this house.

What’s next for you?

I’m excited about reuniting with my sisters and continue taping for Braxton Family Values and then my own spin-off about me being a single mother. Also, I’m doing a lot of shows. And music is definitely in my future.