It's rare to get a glimpse behind the curtain at the great Oz of reality TV, Mark Burnett. But in her new memoir, his ex-wife, Dianne, takes readers on her incredible journey with one of television's most prolific producers. In a recent exclusive interview, she told us all about her new book "The Road to Reality: My Journey as a Real Life Survivor."
Long-Island born Dianne Minerva first met a married Mark Burnett when they both worked at Faces International. She was a talent consultant, and he was a vice president at the company. Sparks flew immediately, and before long, she had relocated from Manhattan to Los Angeles, where she married the charming and ambitious Brit.
Dianne and Mark traveled the world with kids in towDianne was by Mark's side when he mounted the early "Eco Challenge" productions and created "Survivor," even noting that she came up with the show's title. Along the way, the couple had two children. The young, enterprising family would travel together to film Burnett's thrill ride TV shows.
As Dianne recounted, "James was a baby when we first started, and then I had two of them. So it was definitely like 'Swiss Family Robinson' when we had two kids. We did very adventurous things -- rock climbing, repelling, and watching Mark do all his stuff. It was fantastic. It was like living the dream. We did enjoy what we were working on, and we had a beautiful family, and we were in love. And we were traveling the world. It was fantastic."
Dianne had countless memorable adventures during her marriage to Mark BurnettShe recalled some of her memorable moments during those years: "Everything was exciting. I would say more during the 'Eco Challenge' days was more exciting. I definitely did a lot of adventurous things in Argentina. I definitely experienced more adventurous stuff during the 'Eco Challenge Argentina.' I went on horseback and then went hiking up the ice crevasses over to Chile... I did kayaking. We were always in helicopters -- through storms and the Outback -- with kids in tow."
But along the way, the relentless demands of production took a toll on the once-fairytale marriage, which came to an end in 2003. But Dianne explains that she has fond memories of her union with unscripted TV's most powerful man. "I always look back and live in gratitude. And just because things didn't turn out differently doesn't mean it's a bad thing. It just means that our lives are separate. We are raising two sons, so we're still in each other's lives. And we're moving on in different paths romantically. He's in a relationship [with actress Roma Downey]. I was in a relationship. And we're just moving on."
Besides her new book, Dianne is an entrepreneur who founded the lifestyle website TheOtherSide.com and has a new beverage line called Mulberry Love coming soon. "The Road to Reality: My Journey as a Real Life Survivor" is available now.