The former Cosby Show star was chosen for eviction over Omarosa Manigault Newman, whom she had an alliance with, in a unanimous vote on Monday night after tearfully asking her fellow houseguests to send her home. Pulliam explained to them that her breast milk was depleting while inside the house, and that it’s vital in order to provide for her 1-year old daughter, Ella Grace.
Now reunited with her daughter, Pulliam gave a behind-the-scenes look at her eviction to PEOPLE and chatted about her unlikely friendship with Manigault Newman during the show.
PEOPLE: When was the moment you realized, “This is it, I need to go home?”
Pulliam: Well, honestly, it just happened that evening and it had been a steady thing. My breast milk supply had kind of continuously [depleted]. And I just got to the point where I was like, “This is it.” I’m one of those people who definitely follows my intuitions and follows signs. I had done everything in the couple of days leading up to it — I had upped my water intake, I took the tea to help with lactation. Then finally the morning of, my breast pump — I woke up at like 6:30 to pump before everyone got up — it just died. It just wouldn’t come on. I was like, “Okay God, I just have to listen at this point.” That’s when I realized that this situation wasn’t getting better, and Ella definitely needed me.
How hard was it to be away from her while you were in the house?
It was definitely a challenge. I know there are several parents in the house and I feel their pain and I had never spent a day away from my baby until this opportunity presented itself. I’m really proud of how well I did having been away from her. I get it, everyone misses their child, but [in this] situation I’m her food source and I had to ensure that she had what she needs.
Are you sad you couldn’t compete longer?
Yeah I’m sad, but ultimately nothing is more important and priceless than her and her being good and her needs being taken care of. Because that’s the thing, I was ready to go the full mile and I was in it, I was ready to compete, ready to win but I just had to make this decision and this decision wasn’t about gameplay, any of those things, it’s real life. You can kind of escape to the Big Brother world but ultimately real life is happening. As a mom, it was just what I had to do.
Were you happy that Omarosa could stay instead?
Yes, I’m definitely happy that Omarosa was able to stay instead and I told her, “Do this. You have this, you got this, I’m supporting you, I’m rooting for you.” I’m definitely happy that at least one of us can still be there.
Did you ever think coming into this that you and Omarosa would end up being friends?
Absolutely not! If you had asked anyone who I had been friends with in this house, it surely wouldn’t have been Omarosa. But I’m really happy that I came into it void of judgment, void of assumptions for any of the people in the house. My desire was to get to know them truly as people and see them as who they showed me to be, who they showed me that they are versus any assumptions or preconceived notion. I’m specifically happy that I did that with Omarosa because she really showed me someone different and she really was a true ally while I was in the house and I appreciate that. Moreover, it was such a good opportunity because black girl magic is real. I’m so happy that we were able to be the example for so many other little girls — and my own little girl — to show that as women, we can come together, we can support one another, we can empower one another, we can be each other’s cheerleader and it doesn’t take away from the shine of either one of us. That it’s about operating in the spirit of abundance and knowing that what’s for you is for you and that’s what it’s about. Even from the beginning conversation, where we had two different perspectives, we could have that conversation in a respectful and understanding manner. I’m glad that we could be that example on TV.
Ultimately, we left things where they are and we can’t let those different things overshadow the bond as well as the ability to have a conversation. We come from two different sides of the spectrum, but ultimately we’re both human beings. It’s the commonality that you have together that’s way more important than the differences.
Do you have any predictions for who might win?
I’m predicting that the flamingos in the hot tub will. No, I’m joking. It’s really anyone’s game. It’s going to depend on if they’re able to get Shannon [Elizabeth] out and how everything comes together once they do that.
Speaking of the flamingos, Metta World Peace loves them. Did he provide some comedic relief for you while in the house?
Oh, I told them, “You better watch Metta, Metta is going to take all this away. Y’all think he doesn’t know what’s going on, but Metta’s a champion. Don’t let him fool you.” But no, Metta was a joy. He is exactly 100 percent true to who he is but I did really enjoy getting to know each and every person in the house and Metta, especially. His brain works in such a unique, different way. He’s so smart, he’s so kind, he’s so silly. He’s all of those things wrapped up into one. It was really a great time. He was definitely entertaining.
You now get to be on the jury to pick the winner. Is there anyone you definitely don’t want to see win?
I wouldn’t choose [Shannon] specifically just because I came into this feeling like you get to gameplay without being hurtful and spiteful to other people and just play a good game. She has just created so much drama and divisiveness throughout the house and for that reason, I would not be inclined to vote for her. I feel like the house has already turned against her, I feel like it’s a matter of if they can get her out.
What will you miss about the show?
I had a whole lot of fun cooking for everyone. I think one of the last thing’s they said was, “What are we going to eat now?” So I did leave my Keshia’s Kitchen collection behind because they were like, “Please don’t take your seasonings!” I have a seasoning line and I did leave it them for them so even though I won’t be there to physically cook all types of stuff for them, my spices are there.
What was your takeaway from this experience as a whole?
My takeaway from this whole experience is you have to always trust your intuition and gut. I did that throughout this whole process and you have to stay true to yourself. I’m really grateful that I went into this game and I was very clear that I always wanted to do my best, not make assumptions, not take anything personally and always be impeccable with my word. I did that and I’m grateful. Honestly I do feel like I was really able to play the Big Brother game but when it came time, family is always going to come first and I made the choice to be here for my daughter.
Celebrity Big Brother airs Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays and Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.