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‘Big Brother’ Winner Cody Calafiore Admits He ‘Struggled’ While Filming ’The Traitors’: ‘I Was Just Completely Losing It’ (Exclusive)

Cody Calafiore has played multiple seasons of Big Brother – even winning the all-star edition of the long-running CBS series – but he calls his appearance on Peacock’s latest competition show, The Traitors, the “hardest thing [he’s] probably ever done.”

The New Jersey native was picked to be a traitor alongside Survivor legend Cirie Fields and Army veteran Christian de la Torre, a role he was excited about at first. “If I want to have an opportunity to win, the best opportunity to win was probably being a traitor,” Cody exclusively tells Us Weekly. “This isn’t a game where you can go and win a competition. You could form alliances and then if your alliance wins a competition, you’re kind of safe. But, not really, you know? I was kind of trying to wrap my head around how I can equate this to Big Brother.”

He admits to underestimating just how much “being a traitor was gonna weigh on me,” adding, “I just could never have calculated that.”

'Big Brother' Winner Cody Calafiore Talks 'The Traitors,' Getting Banished and More
Cody Calafiore on ‘The Traitors.’ PEACOCK

Cody says he bonded with other players, but it was clear that the “faithfuls” were bringing morality into the game as they tried to suss out who was lying. “I wasn’t even myself right from the start. And it all started very early on after the first murder,” Cody explains. “That weighing [on me] of, ‘Everybody thinks you’re a low life.’ I was like, ‘Man, this is not what I’m used to.’ Like, you don’t make a decision in Big Brother and somebody goes home and everybody’s like, ‘Man, oh man, that is horrible. How could they do that?’ In Big Brother, there’s a group of people that know ultimately the decision that’s being made. So you’re doing it together as a group. This didn’t feel like that.”

Cody says he knows guilt “was written on my face,” adding, “So many people after the fact were like, ‘Oh, everybody saw you struggling, but nobody really questioned you because you were likable.’ And then all of a sudden stuff started happening because I really started completely losing it. Like, I was just completely losing it.”

Related: ‘Big Brother’ Winners: Where Are They Now?

One of the actor’s critical mistakes seemed to be when he told Summer House star Kyle Cooke that Olympian Ryan Lochte – who had just been murdered by himself and the other traitors – wanted him out. “I just slipped up because I was just losing it,” Cody tells Us, adding that Kyle “was super strategic” and more of a player than even what viewers saw. “He’s an entrepreneur. He’s a businessman. He’s intelligent. There’s so much more to Kyle. And it was starting to come out on The Traitors because he was strategically trying to figure it out. He wasn’t just there to have a good time. He was getting pissed off that he couldn’t figure out who the traitors were. I should’ve known that beforehand, but I was close with Kyle, so we were talking a lot. So it was just word vomit. That’s why I say if I was sitting next to anybody else, I wouldn’t have word-vomited like that. I was comfortable with Kyle.”

The Traitors’ Cast Reveal Whether They Wanted to Be Villains or Faithfuls

Prior to that, tensions also seemed high among the traitors when Cirie accused Cody of knowing and having a friendship with Ryan outside the game. “Never spoke to him. Never met him before,” Cody tells Us. “Don’t know where I would’ve ran into Ryan Lochte, the Olympian. I mean, I guess people could, maybe, say because Ryan was on [Celebrity] Big Brother. I didn’t even think of that. And so when that was thrown at me immediately, I was very defensive. Because I was like, ‘Why are you doing this?’ I was like, ‘That’s not true when you’re believing somebody outside of our turret.’”

He adds, “And to me, it was a manipulation strategy. I was like, ‘She wants to get her way. This is her way of trying to do it.’ I was like, ‘OK, you can have this one.’ But at that point, I was like, ‘I’m done. I don’t wanna work with either of you.’”

Related: ‘Survivor’ Winners Through the Years: Where Are They Now?

After that conversation in the turret, “There was no more trust with her,” Cody explains. “Cirie wasn’t questioned by anybody because not a lot of people in the house watch Survivor and nobody really was like, ‘Oh, Cirie could be a traitor.’ It was always, ‘Cody could be a traitor. Cody’s definitely a traitor.’”

Despite their brief tension, Cody says Cirie – who went on to win – “played the game exactly how you had to play.”

“It’s like a script,” he says. “It’s like when you watch these other shows, you try to emulate how other people played the game. Cirie went in, she didn’t say anything. She barely said anything in the traitors turret. She just would be like, ‘OK, I’m gonna observe. I’m gonna observe.’ And that’s obviously the rule when you go and play these shows. You don’t wanna be too reserved, but you don’t wanna be talking more than other people are talking because that always draws attention. And Cirie did it masterfully. She was a beast. I didn’t hold any resentment – even though in that situation it seemed kind of tense between the two of us – there was zero resentment.”

'Big Brother' Winner Cody Calafiore Talks 'The Traitors,' Getting Banished and More
Cody Calafiore, Cirie Fields, Amanda Clark, and Quentin Jiles on ‘The Traitors.’ Euan Cherry/Peacock

Cody is still wrapping his head around the experience: “When you’re going through this, it’s not losing that bothers me. I’m a winner. I like winning, but losing doesn’t make me immediately go, ‘experience ruined.’ It’s the struggle of this one was watching it back, knowing how bad I struggled each day there. There’s stuff that I really can’t mention, but I was struggling.”

“Why was this so hard on me? Why was I struggling every night? Why couldn’t I sleep?” he wonders. “I would wake up with knots in my stomach. I was like, ‘What was going on in my head that was going through the rest of my body?’ I was like, ‘I need to figure this out. I need to talk to somebody about this.’ There were obviously struggles on Big Brother, like, there were people that I nominated that I just didn’t want to, and that hurt. But I got over it. I couldn’t get over this.”

As for his future on reality TV, Cody tells Us, “It really depends. It depends on the circumstance.” He also wants to start a family with his fiancée, Cristie LaRatta. “I want to get married. I want to have a family. … There’s not a dollar amount that I care to have. I just want a family. I want some consistency in my life and a lot of these shows don’t bring that.”

The Traitors is streaming now on Peacock.

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