Major spoilers ahead!
Outwit, outplay, outlast … outlisten.
After 39 grueling days, Denise Stapley, a 41-year-old sex therapist from Iowa, won "Survivor Philippines" despite going to every tribal council throughout the season -- a "Survivor" record.
"I listened," Stapley said during the final tribal council when asked why she deserved to win. There's "value in listening and observing what people say," she argued.
The jury agreed and awarded her the $1 million prize over finalists Michael Skupin, a returning player, and Lisa Whelchel, the former "Facts of Life" star.
During the final tribal council, Whelchel had to defend herself when her celebrity status was outed by jury member Jonathan Penner.
"Lisa was a television star," he revealed, "from the age of 12 to 21, she was America's sweetheart."
That wasn't the only secret Whelchel kept from her fellow castaways: she never revealed that she had just gotten divorced before the season began. It was all part of her pre-season strategy to make herself mysterious.
When confronted with her secret, Whelchel had a quick comeback. "Can I ask you a question? Did you reveal to any of us what job you had as a teenager?" she asked Penner.
Despite her reasonable response, did Whelchel's fame hurt her in the vote? That wasn't addressed during the reunion show, but it was something she worried about before the season.
"I don't think [being a celebrity] will help me," she told Yahoo! TV just before filming began:
Did Denise deserve the win? Did Lisa's famous past influence the vote? Tell us what you think in the comments.
- Sports & Recreation
- Lisa Whelchel
- Survivor Philippines
- Jonathan Penner