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CT Tamburello says 'nothing real happened' in showmance with Phaedra Parks on “The Traitors”

"Honestly I have too much respect for her to try to turn it into something it's not, just to try to be a flash in the pan," CT tells EW.

Warning: This article contains spoilers for The Traitors season 2 finale.

As much as fans keep shipping The Traitors season 2 cast members CT Tamburello and Phaedra Parks, the "Castle Daddy" himself is here to squash any rumors (and hopes and dreams) about their showmance.

"No, nothing real happened, I'll be honest with you," The Challenge alum tells EW. "It was fun. I loved her because she's a cornball. She was great. I would say there was a sense of sincerity, for sure. But it was also playing a game, you know?"

<p>Euan Cherry/PEACOCK</p>

Euan Cherry/PEACOCK

CT and the former Real Housewives of Atlanta star became close while filming season 2 of Peacock's game of deception and murder. But when it became clear that Phaedra was a Traitor, CT put the game above their bond and voted to banish her. "Honestly I have too much respect for her to try to turn it into something it's not, just to try to be a flash in the pan," he says. "I don't think that would be fair, I don't think that's the right thing to do. I mean, what would I do, move to Atlanta?" He smiles as he says, "I can't do that."

CT ultimately went on to win the whole thing with his fellow Challenge alum Trishelle Cannatella, splitting the $208,100 prize between the two of them — but not before they banished fellow Faithful Mercedes "MJ" Javid. The game almost ended very differently, however, when Trishelle doubted that CT was a Faithful and voted to banish him in the final ceremony. Since CT voted for MJ and MJ voted for Trishelle, it was a three-way tie. Before the re-vote, CT flashed his baby blue eyes as he appealed to Trishelle, who felt guilty for turning on her Challenge ally, so she changed her vote to MJ.

Looking back on that pivotal moment, CT says he wasn't really hurt by Trishelle's almost betrayal. "I've got thick skin, and our relationship on Traitors, it was volatile, it was up and down," he explains. "She trusts me, she trusts me not. And we have done it so many times that I honestly did believe, when I got to plead my case to her, I thought she would come around, and she did and we won." He laughs as he adds, "After we had won, I couldn't be mad at her for anything."

While they didn't celebrate their win that night after cameras stopped filming — they just went back to their hotel rooms to eat and sleep — CT reveals they did have conversations about how the game ended later. "Yeah, we keep in touch all the time," he says. "She's a great friend. She asked me to bring my kiddo on down with her and her husband, hang out with their friends and their kids and all that. I was supposed to go down to Mardi Gras this year but something came up last minute — I was looking forward to that. But her and her husband have been very welcoming, so yeah, we talk all the time."

<p>Euan Cherry/PEACOCK</p>

Euan Cherry/PEACOCK

While he was never worried about Trishelle turning on him even after that first vote, he does admit that knowing the game rested in MJ's hands if she had switched to him in the re-vote was stressful.

"If that had gone any different way besides all sharing the money, somebody was going to get upset," he says. "But there were a lot of different suspicions going around. Sandra and MJ were really close. You're telling me, that when Sandra was trying to convince Trishelle that I'm this angel Traitor that's protected her the whole time, MJ, you didn't know about that? It's the same thing that Peter and Kevin did to me in the very beginning, just nobody saw it. But then Trishelle, and that's one of the reasons why I was mad at her, I was like, 'So Trishelle, you didn't know,' when Peter blatantly told her, 'I think CT is a Traitor,' and then some of those people like Janelle and Maks started coming for me and I'm like, 'You didn't know that they were all coming for me? You're in that group with the private meetings!'"

CT smirks as he continues, "And that's why I didn't light her torch, but that was kind of, maybe I'm being a little bitter myself, you know? But it was the same thing that happened there. How can I trust you when I have that suspicion going right into it and we're not going to get to talk about it? I'm not taking any more chances. I've come this far."

He does "feel bad" about cutting MJ out of the win at the end, but they were forced to re-vote no matter what. "If we had the opportunity to go back to that red bag/green bag, I'm pretty confident everybody would have threw in the green bag at that point because hindsight is 20/20 and it was clear that everybody was a Faithful," CT says. "But we didn't have the opportunity to do that. I was like, 'Aw, that's a bummer!' But that's the game, just all the way up to the very end, you're in a state of confusion and paranoia. It's easy from the outside looking in to be like, 'How could you not see it?' I don't see because I don't have all the answers. I don't see people up in the turret. I don't see people's names with Traitor or Faithful underneath it. And it's a game."

<p>Euan Cherry/PEACOCK</p>

Euan Cherry/PEACOCK

After competing on 19 seasons of The Challenge (and winning five of them) over the past 20 years, CT loved getting to play a new kind of reality competition game — and it didn't hurt that he won this one too.

"It's a really good [game]," he says. "I have to say, it takes working smarter not harder to a new level in this game. I really enjoyed it because it was more of a political game. It wasn't just who's the fastest, or the strongest, or who could swim the deepest, or who has the guts to jump out of a perfectly good plane, or get thrown off a cliff. It's different. I did appreciate this game because ... there was a lot more deeper strategy as time evolved. It went from everyone fighting to get a shield to whoever gets it, don't tell anybody. And then planting the seeds, Faithfuls are playing Traitor games, and Traitors are playing Faithful games. And then every time somebody got banished or murdered, it changed the dynamic of the game."

He says he loved having "to swerve and pivot" while trying to predict the patterns of how everyone would vote and picking up on social cues from the Traitors. "And while this is all going on, you don't have enough time in the day to get an answer because there's no answers so everything's on a hunch and suspicion and now we gotta go to a roundtable!" CT says. "Do we really have to vote? Do we really have to banish this person because they drank too much coffee right now? Is that the best we've got? Alan, 'You're out of time, time to vote!' And it's like, 'Ah, what do I do?!'"

CT smiles as he remembers how chaotic it was all the way up to the final moments. "You get to the very end after doing this for God knows how long, and right before you walk in, the person that you trust is telling everybody you're a Traitor," he says. "And the person that's saying, 'You can trust me,' I don't trust because I think you knew that Sandra was trying to get rid of me. What am I supposed to do? The person that I was trusting is trying to get rid of me and the person that I tried to get rid of was the one I should have trusted. I got paranoid."

He laughs as he notices that his hair is sticking completely up after he's been running his hands through it during the entire interview. "Look at me, look at my hair!" he says. "I'm still stressed about it!"

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