‘The Challenge’ Star Preston Charles Explains Why He Chose Not to Return for Another Season

Constantly underestimated, Preston Roberson-Charles performed reasonably well in The Challenge: Rivals II and Free Agents. However, he never returned to the show and subsequently dealt with a bout of homelessness. Now a community activist and business owner, the fan-favorite revealed why he chose not to compete in another season of the popular reality show.

TV personalities Ryan Knight (L) and Preston Roberson-Charles appear on MTV's "The Challenge: Rivals II" final episode and reunion party
TV personalities Ryan Knight (L) and Preston Roberson-Charles appear on MTV’s “The Challenge: Rivals II” final episode and reunion party | Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Preston Roberson-Charles appeared on ‘The Real World’ and ‘The Challenge’

Boston-native Preston Charles initially debuted on The Real World: New Orleans (2010) at the age of 22. Two years later, he, along with three of his former roommates, competed as Team New Orleans on competition spinoff The Challenge for Battle of the Seasons (2012).

However, they didn’t perform well, and the entire team was eliminated by the fifth episode. Preston returned for Rivals II (2013) alongside then-nemesis Ryan Knight.

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Despite the dysfunctional pairing, they won an elimination and almost made it to the finals. The Real World star last competed in Free Agents (2014), where he had his best performance, winning two daily missions.

However, he narrowly lost an elimination toward the end of the competition.

He dealt with homelessness after ‘The Challenge’ appearances

Three years after viewers last saw Preston competing on the show, a 2017 New York Times article revealed the fan-favorite was homeless following his time on the series and sleeping on friends’ couches before enrolling in LaGuardia University.

According to the reality star, he spent time in homeless shelters and sleeping under a desk in an office where he worked until the college helped Preston with a loan to get him into a better living situation.

In a 2021 interview with Mike Lewis, the Boston native explained he was no longer homeless and currently a business owner and community activist.

He also pointed out that the New York Times article didn’t dive into his past with MTV and its media company ViacomCBS and how his falling out with “specific producers” played a part in his “spiraling” and ending up homeless following his last season.

Why Preston didn’t return to the show after ‘Free Agents’

When asked the Boston native seemingly disappeared after his impressive Free Agents performance, Preston explained the deaths of co-stars Diem Brown and Knight affected his decision to compete on the show again.

According to the Real World alumnus, he received a call to return for another season but declined and reportedly told the producers he wanted no part in the show anymore following the funerals of his friends.

He noted he thought MTV should have done more when tending to the castmates’ mental health as Knight previously had addiction issues and Diem had health conditions the challenges could have exacerbated.

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Preston continued, explaining he believed MTV “exploited” them instead of properly “supporting” the cast. Therefore, he no longer wanted to participate in the show.

Although he noted he had a negative experience following his time on the network, Preston admitted he didn’t regret it because it helped him “take an introspective look at himself” and allowed him to travel all over the world.

The Challenge airs on MTV.