Making a powerful return. KellyAnne Judd dominated on The Challenge: All Stars after nearly five years off of reality TV — so much so that no one would have known she was seriously ill for years leading up to her appearance.
“I have been really sick for a few years,” Judd, 35, explained during the Thursday, June 10, episode of the “Watch With Us: Challenge Edition” podcast. “I have heavy metal poisoning, and so I was bedridden for almost two straight years. So, I had just started getting better probably six months before we did the show. I hadn’t worked out. Every time I’ve tried to move, I’d pull my back because one of the things that heavy metal can do is cause full-body inflammation. So, lifting my arms would be exhausting — just lifting them.”
The Real World: Sydney alum, who last competed on a season in 2016, added that when Mark Long called her about All Stars, she knew she wanted to go back. However, it wasn’t easy after not leaving bed for so long.
“I was impressed with myself, and I’m so happy I did it,” she said, noting that since there wasn’t the drama of an original season of The Challenge, it was the perfect competition for her. “I was like, ‘I need to get out of this like slump that I’m in.’ I think it’s so much cooler for adults to do these challenges rather than [people in their] young twenties, because they don’t even know about the monogamy of life yet.”
The Ruins finalist also detailed the lasting effects of her diagnosis, which included memory loss.
“Stress and different things can make it worse,” she explained. “It makes you have memory loss. There were times when, like, my brain would try to tell my hands to move, but my hands wouldn’t move for a couple of seconds. It’s really weird.”
Luckily, she created a great support system — which began before filming even happened. Many noticed her close friendship with Kendal Sheppard, but they didn’t even meet until quarantining. Each cast member could only check one bag for free. Judd had two bags because of the all vitamins she was bringing, so Abram Boise offered to check one for her.
“Abram just had a backpack cause he’s Abram. He was like, ‘Hey, I’ll check someone’s bag for free under my name,’” she explained. “He ended up not being able to go because of COVID stuff, so my bag was lost because it was under Abram’s name. … Kendal calls me in my [hotel] room. I don’t even know how she got my room number. She was like, ‘So you don’t have anything. What do you need? Vitamins? This, that I’ve got. What do you need?’ And I was like, ‘Wow, how genuinely kind that this person is thinking about me when she is stuck in a crazy room.’ Most people are having a panic attack in this room. I was!”
As for her future on the show, Judd plans to take a season off but would love to do more All Stars — no matter who is there. The Texas native is aware that it’s likely she’ll run into an ex or two on another season since she dated Wes Bergmann and Cohutta Grindstaff.
“I mean, you never want to do a challenge with an ex, unless they’re, like, super, super good because people always pin you guys together. You know what I mean? Unless you hate each other, which we don’t,” the Island vet said about Grindstaff. “I went to a cousin’s wedding a few years back. I was in Montana last year and I called him up to see if he was around to say hi. He wasn’t, but he gave me some good tips on places to go. We don’t really talk in general, but it’s always good to see old friends.”
While Grindstaff, who Judd met during The Real World in 2007, is physically smaller, he doesn’t have many enemies. Bergmann, on the other hand, “begs for enemies,” she said before joking, “I didn’t choose well with the dating scene of the show. I was always going to personality, but I didn’t think about my game!”
For more from Judd — including how she felt about the show only having one winner at the end — listen to the full podcast above. For more exclusive TV news and interviews, subscribe to the “Watch With Us” podcast for free.