Taylor Halethe first Black woman to ever win Big Brother, didn’t have an easy path to victory. Week after week, she was torn down by other houseguests and it was her inherent resilience and propensity for forgiveness that started to change people’s opinions.
But someone who had her back from the beginning was fellow player Joseph Adbin with whom she formed a close friendship.
The former pageant queen, 27, and attorney, 25, exclusively sat down with Us Weekly to talk about the game and their relationship – and what the future may hold for the two, who clearly had a connection from the start.
“There was just something really warm and inviting about Joseph,” the Michigan native exclusively tells Us Weekly. “It was really hard that first few weeks of the house. I could not walk to a room without people just stopping a conversation, changing a conversation. I felt like my fate was sealed every single day and my best friend was my bed. And I’m an introvert on top of all of that. But Joseph, no matter whether I was forced or needed to be in a corner, you would always just check on me and be like, ‘Hey, what’s going on?’ And for someone to even care or feign like they could care, even a pinky amount about how I was doing, it was very, very difficult in that house. And Joseph was willing to be a friend to someone that everyone was painting out to be the most disgusting villain.”
Joseph tells Us, “I was trying to let her know in some aspect, just please stay hopeful. Keep your hopes up. … For me personally, I think Taylor’s hilarious. She is an introvert and so she does like to be alone, but when she would come out of her shell here and there, I was like, ‘OK, you can’t be funny and run away. I love to laugh so get back here.’ For me, it was definitely humor. I can definitely come off, like, I love to joke. Sometimes I have to just step back, let people have their space. So that was like a fine balance. I was trying to navigate with her initially because I wasn’t too sure. We’re all strangers still trying to get to know each other.”
The Florida native had his eyes on her from the beginning, he explains: “I kind of saw Taylor a little bit right before we walked in. So she always stayed on my radar in that aspect. I was like, ‘God damn.’ So even on premiere night, when I walked in, the first thing – which I just, like, hours ago find out I’m coming on the show – I’m like, ‘Where’d that girl go?’
The two were separated when he was voted out of the game during Dyre Fest week. While Taylor was devastated to see her closest confidante go, she went on to win the $750,000 in a landslide 8-1 vote against personal trainer Monte Taylor.
Not only did Taylor’s social game carry her through, but she made a final two speech that will go down in history. “When she was making her speech, I was like, ‘There you go, girl,’” Joseph, who was beaming with pride at the time, tells Us. “That was the nail in the coffin. We’re good. I was like, ‘This should be unanimous.’”
Now that the game is behind them, the pair have spent the last few days together having fun and exploring their relationship. Both, however, recognize that there’s a lot they need to process before they label things.
“We spent a lot of time apart, like, literal weeks apart and in those weeks, I had a lot of people messing with my head trying to make me doubt any friendship [or] relationship with Joseph,” Taylor says. “And I’m still trying to work through that. And then there’s just the nature of being in the game for so long and being separated from the people that can support you and love you. So, walking out, I need to make sure that I’m taking care of myself first and that I have my own stability, my own head on straight. I don’t wanna be too dependent on Joseph to help me through that. He’s literally the best support system ever. Everybody saw that in the game and getting it back is the best thing in the world. But I don’t wanna jump into a relationship, almost trauma-bonding with someone. I just wanna make sure that I have my head straight. He’s good. And then we can really work on exploring.”
She adds, “But, these fans are hilarious. Like we literally will be sitting nice to each other, wasting hours away, cracking up at these tweets. It’s just so funny because we love cloning each other, clearly. And these fans will clown the hell out of us too. Like, it’s the best thing ever. So, we’re having fun. We’re making sure we’re taking care of ourselves, but yeah, I’m not gonna let go of Joseph anytime soon.”
He agrees, saying that there “was just so much for both of us to process.” Joseph continues, “We’ve been away from each other for so long and kind of getting the full picture, even till today as we start to talk and piece things together, we’re still kind of seeing how things played out and why they played out the way they did. So we are truly just taking everything day by day. We do just naturally love and enjoy each other’s company. So we won’t allow any pressure or anything to force something. But at the same time, you know, this is just like how it naturally occurs and we’re just going day by day and enjoying things, and getting a full picture, decompressing the whole situation. It’s been such a unique and great experience, but regardless, you know, we still have each other.”
This time Taylor and Joseph, who fans affectionately call #Jaylor now, won’t be forced apart. “We have the time,” Joseph says. “And I told her this before, ‘This time I won’t disappear to the yard.’ And we do have that luxury, so there’s no reason to rush it. There’s no reason to overload or overstimulate. Let’s just take it slow. Especially for Taylor, she was in the house longer. She won. She had a lot more that she was facing with, so a slow and steady pace is how we’re kind of going with this.”
As for possibly going on The Amazing Race together, consider it a done deal in their eyes. “This is clear,” Taylor says, with Joseph adding, “There would be nothing more fun but to travel and take this all over the place. That would be a dream come true.”