Josh Martinez, the winner of Big Brother's nineteenth season, was surprised to learn that his biggest enemy in the house, Cody Nickson, was sorry for his actions.

Josh, a 23-year-old in haircare sales from Miami, FL, and Cody, a 32-year-old former U.S. Marine, clashed in the house right up until Cody's eviction. The pair got into some brutal fights, and the word "bully" was often used to describe each man's behavior this season.

"It was so crazy. [Cody] came up to me and shook my hand and congratulated me [at the September 20 finale]. I was not expecting that and he said, 'I apologize. It was just a part of the game.' I apologized too, and he then went to my family and said, 'I apologize. It was just a game move and just a show. If I hurt you guys I'm so sorry,'" Josh recalled to Us Weekly.

"That was huge. As a man I really respected that and it meant a lot. Even though we're not friends and we probably won't talk after this, I really appreciated that and it meant a lot to me."

When the live finale of Big Brother's nineteenth season aired, Cody was the deciding jury vote that ultimately awarded Josh the $500,000 grand prize over the runner-up, Paul Abrahamian, who finished in second place two years in a row. (Josh also received votes to win from Alex Ow, Jason Dent, Mark Jansen, and Elena Davies).

"I honestly thought Paul had won. Me and Cody never had a conversation since Week 1 when I decided to keep [Christmas Abbott] for a game move for my game. And from there, it was just arguments, arguments, arguments," Josh explained.

"I think what played a vital role for him to vote for me was that he saw how straightforward I was and how honest I was. I would say to your face how I felt, and if I was targeting you and didn't like you, I would say it and [add] let's handle it as men. And I think that's what he respected and that's why I got his vote."

Josh respects Cody more as a person after his apology, but that doesn't mean Cody is completely back on Josh's good graces.

"Oh, he's for sure a meatball in my book! One-hundred percent he's still a meatball," Josh joked. "But the respect is there. The respect is there and I appreciate that he appreciated how I play my game and I stayed true to who I was and I played a straightforward game, and that means a lot to me."

When Josh won the final Head of Household competition, he could choose whether to take either Paul or his best buddy Christmas -- who never really upset or offended the jury -- to the Final 2.

It was a shocking decision during the finale when Josh announced Paul would advance, because the returning player boasted a long resume of big moves, competition wins, manipulation and control over other players.

Although it appeared Josh made a last-minute decision about Paul's position in the game, he revealed to Us he had "honestly made the decision probably a few days prior."

"A lot played into it -- jury being bitter, the way I was working my goodbye messages and basically exposing the Final 3 and how I chose to be loyal and stick by my word. I knew jury would be bitter against both me and Paul but also Christmas didn't tell me she would take me to Final 2," Josh revealed.

"If she won, I don't think she would have taken me to Final 2. She would have taken Paul because she had a better chance against him because I did play a better game. Not only that, as people were walking out, they would congratulate, hug and wish Christmas the best and that was signs of, 'Okay, she has their votes.'"

Josh, however, didn't warn Christmas during that period of time that he had decided to take Paul to the end.

"She was like, 'No matter what happens, I'm happy for both of you. Do what's best for your games.' She actually told me a week, two weeks prior, 'I think it's best for your game to take Paul.' And I told her, 'I'm taking you, can you promise the same?' And she said, 'I don't know if I can promise you that because I'm not there.' Instantly I knew she was taking Paul. I didn't have to hear anything else," Josh shared.

When Paul found out Josh was throwing him under the bus in goodbye messages taped for the Big Brother evictees each week, the veteran player appeared shocked and pissed off. Paul also called the strategic move cowardly.

"I think the whole coward comment really threw me off because he knew how people were calling me a coward the whole season, and for him to say that to me was really offensive. But you know, I think he also underestimated me. I knew that the game doesn't end until you walk out," Josh told Us.

"And I knew the goodbye messages were huge. So, yeah, you play your game and put all the blood on me and Christmas -- but guess what buddy? I have a voice and I'm going to be completely honest and let jury know that I stuck by you and Christmas and I was loyal and I had a Final 3 and I did not lie, fabricate or say anything that wasn't true. And that's what I think got me the win."

Thankfully, Josh insisted his current dynamic with Paul is not awkward and they are "for sure going to be friends" in the future.

"I love those two so much," Josh said, referring to Christmas and Paul. "They became genuine friendships. Besides game and everything I love them and we will be great friends. They are stuck with me for life even if they are bitter, whatever it is, they are stuck with me. We're going to be good friends."

Looking back on how the jury reacted to his gameplay as a whole, Josh now believes he would've beaten Christmas in the Final 2 as well.
About The Author: Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.