Ryan Lochte's agent reveals why the swimmer is doing 'Celebrity Big Brother'
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 01/21/2019
Ryan Lochte's agent has revealed why the Olympic swimmer decided to join the cast of Celebrity Big Brother's second season on CBS.
"He's not how he is in the media. He's a great person, laid-back and down to earth," Ryan's agent, Jeff Ostrow, toldPeople ahead of Celebrity Big Brother's Season 2 premiere on January 21 at 8PM ET/PT on CBS.
"I thought it would be nice for the 10 million people that regularly watch the show to get to see who Ryan is."
Ryan, 34, is a decorated professional swimmer who has been involved in his fair share of headline-making incidents and scandals over the last five years.
"People who want to see Ryan -- what they think, he's a party animal, crazy person. That's not what they're going to see and that's not what Ryan is," Jeff explained of the athlete, whose former wild lifestyle was documented on the E! reality series What Would Ryan Lochte Do? for one season back in 2013.
"And, in fact, he made a commitment to change his lifestyle a little bit and sought a little bit of help for alcohol and he doesn't party like that."
Ryan recently entered the Big Brother house and began filming just a few short months after completing a rehab stint for alcohol abuse -- an outpatient program that "went very well," according to his agent.
Ryan sought treatment and therapy for his addiction in October 2018 after police were reportedly called to his hotel in California following an incident.
"It was something that he voluntarily wanted to do even though many professionals would suggest that he didn't necessarily need to," Jeff told People of Ryan. "He needed to kind of take control over himself and his decisions better."
Ryan also surprisingly chose to participate in Celebrity Big Brother despite the fact he's currently training for the next Summer Olympics.
"Ryan always goes into everything to win. His mindset is to win," Jeff said, adding that CBS agreed to provide a pool large enough for the swimmer to train in.
Ryan therefore seems to view Celebrity Big Brother as a vehicle that will provide him with another comeback in America's eyes.
The athlete attempted a similar feat when he competed on Season 23 of Dancing with the Stars in Fall 2016 and was hoping to dance his way back into people's hearts.
Ryan was reeling from negative publicity and backlash stemming from his big 2016 Summer Olympics scandal in Rio de Janeiro.
The gold medalist had fabricated a story about being robbed and held on gunpoint when, in actuality, he vandalized a gas station's bathroom with the help of three swimming teammates.
Ryan -- who faced angry protestors on Dancing with the Stars as a result -- lost major endorsement deals, including one with Speedo. He had to wait out a 10-month suspension in swimming at the time, which cost him participation in the 2017 National Championship.
Ryan reportedly turned down Celebrity Big Brother once before, but 2019 just seemed like the right time to thrust himself back into the spotlight.
He will be competing against 11 other celebrities to win $250,000, and multiple episodes of Celebrity Big Brother will air weekly until the February 13 finale.