This weeks top 10 comes from the mind of another one of our newest Ozlets in Rileigh Marshall, as she brings you the top 10 couples that we have ever seen in the history of Survivor! Some of these couples met on their season and got their started when stranded, while others started things in the comfort of ‘regular life’, but there certainly have been a fair share of couples to come out of the show! With so many to choose from, which will crack the top 10?
It’s almost unfathomable that romance can be found in the midst of a Survivor game. Surely the poor hygiene and lack of toothbrushes alone would be enough to turn anyone off. However, Survivor couples are not an uncommon occurrence, both inside and outside the game. Whether it was a mere ‘showmance’ or it turned out to be true love, each couple has been memorable in their own way. Here are our top 10 Survivor couples.
10. Ryan Opray and Mary Sartain
Mary may have been quite unmemorable in her season, Survivor: Micronesia, as the second person and first ‘Fan’ voted out of the game. However, she soon gained recognition at her season’s live finale when she publicly announced her engagement to Ryan, a previous contestant from Survivor: Pearl Islands. The couple were introduced by the most unlikely Cupid imaginable, Johnny Fairplay, after he convinced Ryan that she was the “female version of him”. They hit it off and were engaged in February 2008, with plans to marry in September. Unfortunately, the couple never made it down the aisle, breaking up only a few weeks after the on-air announcement. Ryan was recently asked the question on Survivor Oz who he thought was more important to Survivor history: Pelican Pete or Mary Sartain. Unreservedly, he chose Pete. Safe to say, that relationship is well and truly over.
9. Candice Woodcock and Adam Gentry
Yes, she has a hilarious last name, but that’s not why she made this Top 10. Candice and Adam both competed in Survivor: Cook Islands, as original members of the Caucasian tribe, Rarotonga. The two quickly hooked up, but were separated as the four tribes merged into two and Candice ended up on the wrong side of her alliance. In one of the most infamous moves of the season, Candice mutinied against her new tribe to be reunited with her man. The two stayed loyal to their original alliance, along with Parvati, but were eventually picked off by the Aitutaki four. Upon Candice’s departure, the couple took Tribal Council goodbyes to a whole new level when they had one last make out session in front of the entire tribe. Jeff swiftly brought them back down to Earth when he remarked “A kiss is nice. Maybe if it were love he would have given you the Immunity necklace.” Evidently, it wasn’t love for these two, with both players firmly denying any ongoing romance at the season’s finale. Of course, this made way for Candice’s other, possibly more memorable on-screen romance that season, though one that she didn’t actually know about at the time, with Jeff announcing “Billy, Candice is now available.”
8. Gregg Carey and Jennifer Lyon
Gregg and Jennifer were both members of the dominating Koror tribe in Survivor: Palau, during which they were part of a long-standing five-way alliance with Tom, Katie and Ian. However, as a relationship quickly developed between the two, it became increasingly clear that the pair felt true loyalty only to each other. Gregg and Jenn didn’t do much to hide this during a reward challenge, when Gregg asked “Is that horrible if I hit you Jenn?” regarding him potentially eliminating her from the challenge so that he could keep a promise to Katie, to which Jenn responded “You’ll never live it down, ever!” Jeff then proceeded to draw more attention to the couple, exclaiming “Wait, Gregg, did you ask permission?” Of course, as all good boyfriends should, Gregg gave in and sided with Jenn, taking Katie out of the challenge. This unbreakable bond ended up being their downfall, as Gregg was soon voted out and a stunned Jenn was left without a sleeping companion. Unfortunately, it seems that this was another couple that didn’t continue their romance off the island, with both declaring they were “just friends” after the show. On a sadder note, a few months after the finale, Jenn was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer, which initially went into remission, but later metastasised to her bones. She lost her battle in 2010 at age 37.
7. Benjamin “Coach” Wade and Jerri Manthey
OK, so they weren’t officially a Survivor couple, but they were just so darn cute together. The Black Widow and the Dragon Slayer were brought together in Survivor: Heroes Vs Villains as members of the Villains tribe, where they formed a close alliance that led them far into the game. Rumours of a romance were instigated early on, after the pair cuddled up on the beach the first night, which sparked much teasing and scrutiny from the rest of the tribe about their relationship. They denied it, of course, with both players voicing their criticism against becoming romantically involved during the game, as it is likely to only hurt your chances of winning. They decided to distance themselves to curve the rumour, though they still considered each other to be their most trustworthy companion on the island. Some conflict arose when Jerri decided to align with Russell, despite Coach’s protests against voting off his other Survivor crush that season, Boston Rob. However, the pair remained loyal to each other for the rest of their time together and, although nothing happened during the game, both players said they looked forward to getting to know each other on the outside when the season ended.
6. Todd Herzog and Spencer Duhm
Todd, the winner of Survivor: China, and Spencer, from Survivor: Tocantins, are another cute couple that met off-set, and they are the first gay couple (at least that we know of) to come out of Survivor. They started dating in 2009, about a month before Spencer’s season began. Todd announced their relationship whilst the season was airing, saying of Spencer “He’s got this confidence that pours out of him and a piercing stare that you can’t help but notice, so I went ‘fishing’! Started talking with him and reeled him in!” It’s no surprise that Spencer was unable to resist Todd’s charm, given Todd’s expert ability in “reeling” people in (he swayed the jury in Survivor: China to give him a million dollars, even though he was probably the most deceiving and manipulative player in the game). Unlike Todd, who was openly gay in his season, Spencer kept his sexual orientation a secret from his tribe mates, fearing that certain members, particularly J.T, would be prejudiced and want him out of the game because of it. Spencer was eventually voted off regardless because of his poor performance in challenges. Todd and Spencer’s current relationship status is uncertain, though it’s unlikely that they are still together given Todd’s recent tweet: “Going on dates after being out of the game for 4 years is scary!” Such a shame.
5. Courtney Yates and Stephen Fishbach
Courtney and Stephen are another unlikely couple, but one of my personal favourites. Like Todd and Spencer, with whom they are good friends, they met outside of their respective seasons, Survivor: China and Survivor: Tocantins, in 2009. During their seasons, both made it to the final Tribal Council and both came in second place. They also have similarities outside the game, with matching personalities defined by their wit, intelligence and great sense of humour. Stephen was rooting for Courtney when she returned for Survivor: Heroes Vs. Villains, where she planned to team up with Stephen’s best friend J.T as well as Amanda, whom with she played in China. Unfortunately they were put on opposite sides and Courtney was voted out before the merge, though she still made a place on the jury. Both Courtney and Stephen are currently living in New York and are still together.
4. Ozzy Lusth and Amanda Kimmel
This Survivor couple caused quite a stir early on in what would turn out to be a season full of surprises in Survivor: Micronesia. Both players were members of the Favourites team, Malakal, and the connection between them became immediately obvious, with Amanda admitting that she already had a crush on Ozzy after seeing him in Survivor: Cook Islands, and Ozzy similarly expressing his attraction towards the Suvivor: China beauty. They formed a “couple-y” alliance with Parvati and James and, with Ozzy in possession of the hidden Immunity idol, appeared to be in control of the game. One very intense make-out session and a steamy, half-naked shower scene later, Ozzy and Amanda seemed to be the couple to talk about, with Cirie convinced there would soon be a bunch of little Ozlets running around. (The Ozlets have since been captured and are now working for Survivor Oz). The canoodling came to an end, however, when Ozzy was blindsided by the emerging “Black Widow Brigade”, leaving Amanda feeling shocked and betrayed by her friend Parvati. Amanda still made it to the end and was the envy of every girl watching when Ozzy addressed her with this speech: “I honestly feel like I started to fall in love with you. I’m glad I didn’t win Cook Islands so that I could be here and meet you.” Awww. The couple started dating when they returned home and confirmed that they were still together at the live finale. They were fast becoming the new Romber, soon to be known as Amandzy. Ozanda. Amoz… Ahh, never mind, it didn’t last anyway. The two split not long after the show ended, simply citing that they couldn’t make it work when they got back to the city. Both returned to the game again, but for different seasons: Amanda for Survivor: Heroes Vs. Villains and Ozzy for Survivor: South Pacific. The idea of bringing both back for the same season was brought up in an interview with Ozzy, when he was asked who he thought the other returning player was for Survivor: South Pacific: “I thought it could be something as sick as bringing Amanda back. God, if they did that they would really be screwing me over.’ Hmm, it would be good TV though.
3. Erik Huffman and Jaime Dugan-Huffman
One of the more genuine and successful Survivor romances of the lot is the one that blossomed between Jaime and Erik during their time on Survivor: China. Both were members of the Zhan Hu tribe, and they quickly formed a close friendship, professing their growing feelings for each other early on in the game. Erik also revealed to Jaime that he was a virgin, explaining that it was because he hadn’t found the right person. Who knew he would find the right person on a reality show in the middle of China, right there in front of him. Erik’s confession cemented his trustworthiness in Jaime’s eyes, and she revealed information to him about the hidden Immunity idol in return. Although their alliance was strong, the two players found that they were on the wrong side of the numbers and were voted out after the merge, with Jaime playing a fake Immunity idol on her way out. They started dating as soon as they returned home and became engaged in 2008, after Erik proposed to her during a fake photo shoot. They entered a contest to win a free wedding worth $80 000, which they won, and they were married in April 2009. In September 2010, they welcomed their first son, Harper.
2. Ethan Zohn and Jenna Morasca
Ethan and Jenna are undeniably the couple that has been through the most together and, more importantly, are still going on strong despite the hardships. The two met at the finale of Jenna’s original season, Survivor: Amazon, which she ended up winning. Ethan, who also won in his season, Survivor: Africa, said jokingly of his girlfriend “I took one look at her and thought to myself, ‘Wow…two million is way better than one million.’” They started dating and both returned for Survivor: All-Stars, but decided to keep their relationship out of the limelight whilst on the show. Jenna left early on to be with her mother, who was terminally ill with breast cancer at the time. Tragically, she died several days after Jenna arrived home. Ethan, whose own father died when he was fourteen, spent time with Jenna’s family prior to All Stars to help Jenna cope with her mother’s illness, and he was there to support her after the show as well. But there were more hardships to come for the enduring couple. In April 2009, Ethan was diagnosed with a rare form of Hodgkins Lymphoma. With Jenna by his side, he began his battle against the disease and underwent 3 months of intensive chemotherapy. Ethan has described his gratitude for having Jenna in his life at that point, saying “I was overwhelmed with her strength, compassion and eternal love… She is why I wanted to fight like hell and stay alive”, with Jenna expressing equal affection for Ethan, stating “I admire him now more than ever because of his brave battle”. The cancer returned in September 2009, but went back into remission for 20 months following a stem cell transplant. Jenna and Ethan went to compete on the nineteenth season of The Amazing Race in 2011, but were eliminated on the second episode. In September 2011, the cancer was found to have returned in Ethan’s chest, and he underwent further chemotherapy. Although they are feeling positive about the treatment, it is likely to be an ongoing battle for Jenna and Ethan. With all that they’ve been through, this extraordinary couple have certainly embraced their Survivor titles, but in an entirely different context. They have been together almost 10 years now and, with wedding bells ringing in the distance, they are continuing to plan their future together.
1. Rob Mariano and Amber Brkich-Mariano
Though it can probably be argued that Jenna and Ethan deserve the number one spot, the undeniable impact that Boston Rob and Amber made on the game of Survivor, and really on reality TV in general, makes them the clear winners of this Top 10. I mean, when a couple gets their names blended together like Brangelina or Robsten, you know that they’re kind of a big deal. Romber first emerged in Survivor: All Stars, when the two were assigned to the same team, Chapera. Funnily enough, neither Rob nor Amber actually liked each other when the game first started. Rob thought Amber was a snob, while Amber didn’t particularly admire Rob’s loud mouth or cocky attitude. However, the two quickly paired up to become the main power alliance in the game. Rob and Amber flirted back and forth from the beginning, and although it was initially due to strategy, the two began to develop real feelings for each other as the game went on. When Amber was separated from the rest of her alliance during a tribe switch, Rob knew he was going to lose his closest ally in the game and someone he had realised he actually cared about. In order to save Amber from the vote, he promised Lex a deal, “You take care of her; I’ll take care of you”. His plan worked and he was reunited with his girl, though he just as soon betrayed Lex, who was voted out at the next Tribal Council. It was this unwavering loyalty to only each other that propelled Rob and Amber into the final two. In the end, it was Rob’s ruthless game that led to him lose the title and the million to Amber, but not before he proposed to her on live television at the finale. After this, they went on a reality TV bender, appearing on the seventh season of The Amazing Race, as well as the All-Stars season, and they even had their wedding televised by CBS in 2005. Though Amber eventually settled down after the birth of their first child in July 2009, who they named Lucia Rose, Rob continued his reality rampage, going on to appear in Survivor: Heroes Vs. Villains and Survivor: Redemption Island, the latter of which he won and brought home another million to the growing family. Rob and Amber now have three daughters. Their second, who is named Carina Rose, was born in December 2010, and their third, Isabetta Rose, was born in May 2012. Although the couple milked it for all it was worth, it’s quite astounding to see what came out of their Survivor romance. Hopefully they’ll stay off the screen for a while, though I wouldn’t be surprised if an instalment of Survivor: Babies is soon in the works.
What do you think of the top 10? Do you agree? Disagree? Is it in the wrong order or are there ones that didn’t make the top 10 that you feel should’ve? Leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts!