Big Brother Season 23 is only days away from debuting, but in a seemingly rare occurrence, the hit CBS series had to make a last-minute casting change after publicly revealing the cast in the days prior. The series was forced to remove Houseguest Christie Valdiserri ahead of the start of the season. Though the surprising news crept out unofficially on Independence Day evening, both CBS and Valdiserri went public the day after to explain why she's missing this season.
The Big Brother social media account uploaded a personal video from Christie Valdiserri on Monday that revealed exactly why she wouldn't be a part of the season. The 27-year-old professional dancer, who is originally from Philadelphia, shared the circumstances behind what's going on, explaining how the situation was more or less out of her control. Here's how she put it:
Hey, guys. 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. And I just have to say that when faced with adversity, I'm just telling myself that it's for a bigger reason, and I want to believe that. I don't know the reason yet. I've had a rollercoaster 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 put myself out there to share their vulnerability of being bald. And all those comments, good or bad, are affecting everyone else that also is bald and experiences this vulnerability, so spread love. Whether you're just finding out about alopecia or you know what alopecia is, you know that we're unstoppable and I'm gonna bounce back in one way or another.
Christie Valdiserri didn't get a chance to share her message by advocating for alopecia in Season 23, but at least she got to share some positivity through her departure video. It's also probably a good move that Big Brother and Valdiserri were upfront about the COVID diagnosis and how they are handling, as it could've caused some negative reactions had the reality series to keep that under wraps. Here's hoping the best for Valdiserri's health, and that she'll hopefully get another shot to play Big Brother in the future.
Valdiserri's exit meant Big Brother needed to call up one of its alternates, and producers have selected 25-year-old AI engineer Claire Rehfuss, who hails from Ohio. Rehfuss is ready to use her smarts in the house and credited players like Season 17's Vanessa Rouso and Season 3's Lisa Donahue and Danielle Reyes as players that she's a big fan of.
With Claire Rehfuss in the lineup, the Houseguest count is back up to 16, and there presumably won't be anymore casting changes before the Season 23 premiere of Big Brother. Of course, it's in the fandom's nature to "expect the unexpected," so perhaps we shouldn't count anything out until the big night.
Big Brother Season 23 is set to kick off live on CBS on Wednesday, July 7, at 8:00 p.m. ET. Learn more about the incoming Houseguests with our cast guide, with Claire Rehfuss presently not included just yet, and sound off in our poll if you would like to see Christie Valdirserri get another shot to play Big Brother in the future.