'Big Brother' Replaces Season 23 Contestant Days Before Premiere Due to Positive COVID Test

Claire Rehfuss will compete on season 23 of Big Brother in Christie Valdiserri's place

Christie Valdiserri and Claire Rehfuss
Photo: cbs; Cliff Lipson/CBS

Big Brother's new season hasn't started yet and one Houseguest is already out!

On Monday, days ahead of the season 23 premiere, CBS revealed that Christie Valdiserri — a professional dancer from California — would no longer be appearing on the show.

Valdiserri was one of the 16 cast members previously announced to live and compete for the $500,000 grand prize on Big Brother's 23rd season, which kicks off on Wednesday.

In an Instagram post, the 27-year-old opened up about her exit.

"So, I don't want to be sharing this news, but I tested positive for COVID and I have no idea how I got it. I have the vaccine and I've been following all the guidelines up to this point. I have absolutely no symptoms. I feel perfectly fine. So I'm really grateful for that, but it's really frustrating because I won't be playing in Big Brother this summer," said Valdiserri in the clip.

She continued by saying that although she doesn't know why yet, she believes everything happens for a bigger reason. She then compared her brief time on Big Brother to the adversity she's experienced having alopecia.

"I have had a roller coaster of emotions the past 48 hours, and as I've been reading through all the comments online, whether they're good or bad, I just have to say that I have put myself out there and shared this vulnerability of being bald and all the comments, good or bad, are affecting everybody else that also is bald and experiences this vulnerability, so spread love," Valdiserri added. "And whether you are just finding out about alopecia or you know what alopecia is, you know that we're unstoppable and I'm going to bounce back in one way or another."

Following the announcement of Valdiserri's exit, CBS revealed that Claire Rehfuss will join the show as a replacement.

Rehfuss is a 25-year-old AI engineer from Ohio. According to her official Big Brother bio, Rehfuss is planning on trying "to get out the strong alpha dudes early," and is building her strategy around her "intelligence, drive and adaptability."

She's also one of the founders of Survivor Michigan, the University of Michigan's fan-made version of Survivor — proving she knows a thing or two about CBS competitions.

Season 23 of Big Brother will kick off with a 90-minute premiere special on Wednesday, July 7 at 8 p.m. ET. Then, beginning Sunday, July 11, Big Brother will air Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m., with the latter featuring the live eviction show hosted by Julie Chen Moonves.

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