When she started on this season of The Biggest Loser, Stephanie Anderson had a few simple goals: to focus entirely on her own weight loss for life without succumbing to the game-playing aspect of the show and to not go home until she was under 200 pounds. In the process, she also learned to tear down her emotional walls and learn to trust again. The unexpected bonus, as In Touch exclusively reported, was finding love with fellow contestant Sam Poueu, who shared the same attitude. But in a heartbreaking twist, the couple fell below the yellow line in the same week and Stephanie was eventually ousted by her friends — thanks to manipulation by Sam’s own cousin, Koli. "It was ironic because Sam and I were so against gameplay,” Stephanie, who has just 18 more pounds to lose to reach her final goal weight, tells In Touch. “We’re not on Big Brother or Survivor. We’re on The Biggest Loser to change our lives. We all have been at the pit of despair. We are supposed to be here to uplift each other. Am I naïve not to recognize that it’s a game for a quarter of a million dollars? Maybe, but that was never my view. It was always about changing me forever.”
Read on to find out Stephanie’s reactions to what went down behind her back.
The Biggest Loser: Couples
Eliminated March 31: Stephanie Anderson
It was heartbreaking that it came down to you and Sam.
I know. That was our worst-case scenario. That day I told him, “I feel like
with everything that’s been going on and my weight loss last week, I’m going to fall.” And he said “I feel like that, too.” I said, “Out of anything, I hope we don’t fall together.” He didn’t want to think about it. Four hours later, we were on the scale and fell together.
You seemed pretty frustrated to learn that people would be coming back.
Everyone was. It was 11 weeks and when you add two more people, no matter
who it is, it’s a tough pill to swallow.
Were you tempted to vote for Victoria?
I thought about it, but she had also well over 20 percent of her body weight. My thought before anyone weighed in was that the person who loses the least percentage of weight needs help. James was over 400 pounds still and had only lost 14 percent. I just couldn’t not plea for him.
And yet, some saw your vote as calculated, adding to other suspicions about you that Koli mentioned — although the tension between you and other house mates hadn’t really been shown before.
There wasn’t any. Ashley, Drea, Sunshine and I were very close; obviously, I was very close to Sam. I was friendly with everyone. There was never an inkling that this situation was a thought in Koli’s mind. Koli and I got off to a good start and as I got closer to Sam, I felt a little more distant to him. He’s not a man of many words, but he never let me know that there was a problem. But the whole time leading up to this episode, he was unfortunately talking negatively about me to Ashley, Drea, Lance and other contestants. In retrospect, I wish I had known that. I would have hopefully been able to quash any of his fears about my purpose or my character. I can’t make everyone like me, but there was no just reason given for Koli not to like me at that point, or even to this day. In terms of the idea of me throwing a weigh-in, I’ve gotten heartfelt, sincere apologies from Ashley and Drea, saying that they are truly sorry and they don’t believe that that was the situation now and that they made a mistake. I accept their apology and hopefully one may come from Koli at some point, too.
Did Koli say anything to you after the elimination?
Nope. He wouldn’t even give me a hug. I went in for a hug and finally got one. Sam was bawling, I was bawling. I hugged everyone even though I was really upset and angry. But like I said, their votes were not a reflection on me. Ashley made a choice based on what she believed from Koli, based on their connection. In retrospect, she regrets that. She feels played, and so does Drea. But I can’t fault them for that. Honestly, as much as I wanted to stay, I was ready to go home. I lost nine pounds at home. I came back saying, “I know I can do this.” It’s hard, but I can. I’m proud of what I accomplished, of the person that I am and was on the ranch. I’m really proud of the breakthrough I had with Jillian.
She pointed out your need to be in control. Was that a new idea to you?
I know that about myself. The whole Koli-Ashley incident came to my knowledge the night before the weigh-in and the last-chance workout was the day before that. Jillian brought up things that are true: I have this wall because I’m afraid of getting hurt. I’ve been used and taken for granted. Jillian said, “Steph, you can trust your friends like Sam, Ashley and Drea. You just have to let your guard down.” It’s true, but it’s ironic that as soon as I did, my worst fear happened.
Will you and Sam have a talk about this?
We have. I support Sam and love him tremendously. It’s a real bummer. That's all I'll say about that.
Who are you rooting for now?
Sam all the way! And a little bit of me still wants Ashley, Drea and Sunshine to do well. I’m hurt, but I don’t hold grudges. I’ve got a great life. I was sad to leave but I knew I was going home to some great stuff.