“Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, you’re not gonna fool me again,” Johnny, 41, exclusively told Us Weekly on Tuesday, August 8, while promoting his upcoming stint on The Challenge USA season 2. “You know, they say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result. Well, call me insane. I think one of the issues with [a showmance] is there’s just a lot of [questions about], ‘What is the actual intention here behind — is this for show? Is this for likes? Is this for clout?’ And unfortunately, more often than not, that tends to be the case.”
The MTV personality — who has won seven seasons of the OG competition — further explained that “it’s just not a good look” to enter into an on-camera relationship.
“It leads to way more headaches than I need,” Johnny said. “I’ve got enough to worry about on this show. Last thing I need to do is also start intermixing my personal life with it as well. It never ends well, and it only is gonna make your game more complicated because now you — nine times out of 10, if you get into a showmance on a show — are now taking ownership of this other person’s game as well and are viewed in almost as in like, some sort of an alliance.”
He added: “Females are gonna look at it like, ‘Oh, well, you know, Bananas is with this girl, that means that they’re working together or vice versa.’ The guys are gonna be like, ‘All right, well, we need to get rid of him because they’re [a unit], and if they get messy, and if their game gets messy,’ then it’s, like, you’re kind of now responsible for [the gameplay drama] as well.”
Johnny has had his fair share of steamy Challenge dalliances over the years with the likes of Morgan Willett, Natalie Negrotti and Moriah Jadea. But this time around, he’s laser-focused on “the ultimate prize at the end” of the competition.
“Once you kind of start getting distracted [and] once you lose focus on what the ultimate goal is, it’s sure to not end well,” Johnny told Us. “But I encourage everybody else to continue on with these meaningless, nonsensical showmances, and then I’ll just be there to pick up the pieces when it all falls apart.”
“We all know Tori loves herself some company on The Challenge, and I think it was a great play for Sebastian,” Johnny said, noting he wasn’t surprised by the new pairing. “I mean, listen, this guy’s coming in as a rookie [and] what better way to find protection and also get a great storyline right outta the gate than falling into a showmance with pretty much the female face of The Challenge at this point? I mean, we call that ‘polidicking’ on The Challenge. So, well played Sebastian, well played.”
While a reality TV romance was not in the cards for Johnny this year, he did find the competition itself “challenged me in ways that no other Challenge has before” because of the format and the “level of talent” of his costars.
“The learning curve for this season was very steep, but in a way, it was good,” Johnny explained. “It was a good challenge for me because it was really competing against some of the best and most strategic minds in the game. If you’re able to thrive and rise to the occasion on that, it’s a true testament to your ability. It was a good time.”
The Challenge USA season 2 kicks off with a two-part premiere on CBS on Thursday, August 10 at 10 p.m. ET and Sunday, August 13 at 9 p.m. ET.
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi