Cheryl Tiegs Calls Kate Upton’s Sports Illustrated Cover ‘A Step Toward Playboy’; Talks ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ Exit

Cheryl Tiegs made the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue more than once, but the revealing nature of the latest edition, featuring model Kate Upton, had the veteran shaking her head.

“It’s not my favorite Sports Illustrated cover of all time,” Cheryl told Billy Bush and Kit Hoover on Monday’s Access Hollywood Live.

When Billy suggested Kate’s itty-bitty, barely there bikini was “two strands away from Playboy,” Cheryl agreed.

“I agree with that. I like so many of the pictures inside. Sports Illustrated always has that fine line of being very ‘sexy/girl next door/earthy/kind of athletic,’” she said. “This is a step toward Playboy, I think.”

While it isn’t in Cheryl’s taste, she thinks Kate, herself, is a delight.

“She’s lovely in person and actually even prettier in person than that cover,” Cheryl said.

In fact, Cheryl had praise for all the models in the issue.

“I was just in Las Vegas with all the Sports Illustrated models, and they are drop dead gorgeous and very sweet,” she said.

It was Cheryl’s own sweetness that actually helped lead to her elimination on Sunday night from the latest “Celebrity Apprentice” cast – the first this season.

“I went into ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ thinking that I could work with the team and be kind, be good. That’s how I built up 12 companies in my lifetime,” Cheryl said. “I haven’t been backstabbing and mean-spirited and I thought well, ‘I’ll show America that it’s possible to be a nice person and to succeed.‘”

And Cheryl blames the team she was on for her “Apprentice” demise.

“Well, the women’s team — they were rather tough to work with,” she said. “I liked the men’s team a lot and still keep in touch with a lot of them.”

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