Janelle Pierzina’s husband is Jess DeSanto. On Wednesday, August 5, she is about to become a four-time Big Brother player when the show premieres its 22nd season (and first all-star season since 2006). Ahead of the premiere, here’s what you need to know about her family, including her husband and three children.
1. Janelle Had A Famous Showmance on Big Brother But They Didn’t Last
During Pierzina’s second time playing Big Brother, she had a showmance with Will Kirby, the winner of Big Brother season two. They were on the first all-stars cast together back in 2006 and hit it off right away.
They actually had a four-way alliance with Kirby’s friend and fellow “Chilltown” member Mike “Boogie” Malin and his showmance, Erika Landin. When they got to the final four, Pierzina voted to evict Kirby, though she really had no choice because he was the only houseguest eligible to evict. Then Malin won the final Head of Household and evicted Pierzina.
Outside of the house, Pierzina and Kirby are friends, but their showmance fizzled out. She went on to compete on Big Brother season 14 in 2012 and on The Amazing Race season 31 in 2019 with her Big Brother co-star Britney Haynes. They finished in 8th place.
Pierzina told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune in 2017 that she was generally happy with the way she has been portrayed on the show, which is probably why she has signed on for a fourth season.
“There was a lot of stigma because reality TV was still kind of new and you didn’t know what [producers] were going to do,” Pierzina said. “You’re signing your life away, basically, and they could make you into anything … I played the whole ‘dumb blonde’ thing and it worked because everyone thought I was dumb. My whole character was this tough girl who was kind of at the bottom and I just fought my way to the top.”
2. Janelle and Jess Got Engaged in 2009 and Married in 2010
In September 2009, Pierzina tweeted a photo of her engagement ring. She and DeSanto were married the following June and started their family shortly thereafter.
They live in Edina, Minnesota, where Pierzina works as a real estate agent. Her bio on the Edina Realty website reads, “As a self-motivated workaholic, I have a little different outlook on real estate. Not only do I get results for my clients, but I also work hard to turn buying or selling a house into a pleasant process. I live and breathe real estate and do whatever it takes to represent my clients. A home is the largest purchase made in one’s life and I’m both honored and excited to have guided and assisted my past clients with such an important endeavor and decision and I’d be honored to assist you as well!”
She has a plethora of great reviews for her work, including ones that call her “hardworking,” “professional, responsive, knowledgeable, and fun to work with” and “five stars across the board.”
DeSanto, whom Pierzina originally met when she was studying at the University of Minnesota Duluth, owns the AmericInn in Apple Valley, according to the Star-Tribune. It is part of the DeSanto Investments group that DeSanto runs with his brother, Jake. According to an article about their 2012 purchase of the AmericInn, the company owns three hotels and seven rental properties in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
In a 2018 Instagram post, Pierzina wrote of DeSanto, “I know I’m a day late, but #happynationalspouseday. I met my husband when I was 18 so I’ve known him longer in life than I haven’t!”
In her interview with the Star-Tribune, Pierzina compared playing Big Brother to working in real estate, saying, “You have to be very, very good socially, and I feel like real estate’s the same. People have to like you; that’s the biggest thing.”
3. The DeSantos Welcomed Baby Girl Violet Anne in December 2011
Pierzina and DeSanto welcomed their daughter Violet Anne on December 14, 2011. She tweeted throughout the birth, writing, “Was in labor all morning. Contractions hurt like hell!!!? Finally got my epidural and am so happy! Dr says we’ll have a baby by 2night.”
Pierzina credits her mom Ann Pierzina-Killian with raising her to be a confident, determined mother because her mom raised Pierzina by herself and they didn’t have a lot, but Pierzina-Killian did what she had to do to get by.
“I didn’t have a lot,” Pierzina told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune in 2017. “In junior high, I had like two or three pairs of pants and four shirts, and shoes from Wal-Mart, but it was fine.”
4. Son Lincoln William Was Born in August 2013
On August 10, 2013, Pierzina announced her son’s birth by tweeting, “I’m a mommy again! Meet Lincoln. I am absolutely in love with him. #BabyBoy #WelcometotheWorld.”
Pierzina-Killian told the Star-Tribune she’s not surprised her daughter is such a good mom because she had to be responsible from a young age.
“She would get up all by herself and make herself breakfast,” Pierzina-Killian said. “I worked the afternoon shift, so I would basically set her alarm and tell her she had to get to school on time.”
5. Daughter Stella Was Born in 2014
In June 2014, Pierzina announced she was pregnant with her third child, a baby girl, on Instagram. Daughter Stella Rose was born in September 2014. Pierzina’s mom said that despite all the affluence her family has now, her daughter has never become spoiled.
“She’s never been spoiled, never been given life on a silver platter,” Pierzina-Killian said. “If she wanted something, she put her mind to it and did it. … She liked to be top dog. She always just liked to be in the limelight.”
In 2019, Pierzina wrote of Stella on Instagram, “My daughter Stella is such a ray of sunshine on this cold snowy day.” The family also has a golden doodle named Sprinkles.
Big Brother premieres Wednesday, August 5 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. The second episode will air Sunday, August 9 at 10 p.m. ET/PT, then after that, episodes will air on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Sign up for the live feeds on CBS All Access now.
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