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What used to be he thinking?!? That used to be certainly the response of millions of Survivor: Winners at Battle viewers when Ben Driebergen — honest two days far flung from the discontinuance of the recreation — gave his greatest ally permission to vote him out of the recreation. Why would the Heroes v. Healers v Hustlers champ throw away his chance at $2 million? Potentially attributable to he knew that chance didn’t no doubt exist.

Ben used to be in a local to study the jury and knew he had no viable path to his second Survivor title, so fell on his sword in the hopes of serving to somebody else discontinue the dream. It used to be a mettlesome transfer for a guy who has brazenly struggled with private demons, and a signal that he valued his own psychological successfully being over the gap (and a few more money) that just a few more days in the recreation would possess supplied.

We spoke with Ben honest minutes after the finale carried out airing to procure his rep on the ravishing dedication, some insight into his mysterious feud with Jeremy, and intel on what we didn’t gaze on TV. And the man sounds in actual fact at peace alongside with his Survivor scoot.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Well, we honest watched it all lunge down. How are you doing Ben?

BEN DRIEBERGEN: Upright! Or no longer it’s miles a pleasure to be right here, and an honor too. Or no longer it’s superior in an effort to explain with you.

Let’s procure honest to it attributable to or no longer it’s miles the inquire of each person’s asking. You are sitting there, there are fully five avid gamers left, you’re seemingly the fully fireplace maker in the bunch. Nothing in this recreation’s ever assured, however the road is huge open for you to procure to the closing three. It will most definitely be your second straight recreation of going the gap, and you then give permission to Sarah to vote you out. Now, I’m staring at this to myself and I’m thinking, “No approach does Ben attain this if he thinks he has a gamble of winning at the discontinuance.” And I saw you even shaggy dog tale at one point that you were not very in style accessible after having the drawback performed on you and no longer getting any advantages or Fire Tokens sent your approach. So, is that what part of this dedication used to be about, you finding out the writing on the wall with the jury?

Totally. When Michele’s getting all these recreation tokens, and I’m getting deprived from the Edge performed on me, you would possibly maybe per chance per chance well seemingly seemingly roughly gauge as how the jury — attributable to that is who’s over there on the Edge — is perceiving your recreation. And so when Natalie got right here abet in and educated us everything about what used to be occurring, I knew I wasn’t respected on the jury. I performed very laborious, I built a quantity of relationships, and then those relationships fell apart and in the close ended up hurting me sooner or later. And so I no doubt didn’t desire to transfer and procure crucified. At the discontinuance of the jury, with the approach I conducted my recreation, I honest predominant to procure to the discontinuance, roughly deal. And so I knew I was in for a hurting.

Survivor takes an immense psychological toll on you. And coming home, questioning if you’d won a million greenbacks? And so gleaming that Sarah, Tony, and I took it to the discontinuance and I’d procure scraped at some stage in the coals there, mentally coming home and attempting to accommodate if I had won $2 million or whatever, it honest wasn’t one thing the attach I predominant to be at lifestyles. I’m contented the attach I’m at in lifestyles. And I desire $2 million, however Tony winning the recreation and being perceived as the supreme target and the fully one to pick out used to be honest, honest? He performed a heck of a recreation accessible. And when I lost that worry, Sarah and I had talked about seemingly taking Tony out. Treasure, we knew Tony used to be a huge possibility, however our fair used to be to procure to the discontinuance.

And so after Tony won his final immunity, it used to be devour, Tony goes to pick out this for determined. And Sarah used to be my #1. Tony used to be my quantity two. I wasn’t going to write Tony’s title all of the style down to leave. And I aloof had my dinky loyalty with Sarah. And that’s the rationale what it got right here all of the style down to used to be I no doubt predominant to support her out and I didn’t desire her to feel devour she used to be getting dragged to the discontinuance by Tony or myself. For the rationale that three of us worked no doubt laborious from the merge on to protect together and attain all this loopy stuff, even after the Sophie blindside. But I credited it to attributable to we’re all very paranoid and excessive-strung of us, and so we would possibly maybe maybe well seemingly attain that with one every other, we would possibly maybe maybe well seemingly leap it off one every other. After which that’s the reason I feel we worked so honest with one every other.

Tony is who he’s on TV, honest? And Sarah is an improbable participant and improbable person, too. And so if you compose that bond of friendship and gameplay, it used to be easy to in actual fact work with one every other and abet one every other. But when it got right here all of the style down to that moment, it used to be honest one thing that that is who I’m, honest? I’d attain the leisure for my online page visitors and attain the leisure for my household. And in that moment I saw a buddy in need roughly deal, and I knew that I would possibly maybe maybe well seemingly support her out in favor to being selfish, to transfer to the discontinuance and know that I would possibly maybe per chance not pick roughly deal.

That is absorbing, attributable to even when you disclose, “Okay, there’s no path to the $2 million,” you are aloof sacrificing money by doing that in the sense that you would be capable to’ve picked up a dinky more green if you had gotten yourself into even the three space, honest?

Upright. Upright. But what I did with my million the first time used to be I invested it. That isn’t any longer a quantity of money, and I mentioned it on the remark, and after taxes it’s miles not any longer a quantity of money. But what I’ve carried out to financially space for my household with the volume I in actual fact possess isn’t any longer a lot, however it no doubt’s ample to be devour, you understand what? Cash’s no longer everything. Being in a local to tuck my kids in tonight and hug my wife and now being in a local to possess online page visitors in the Survivor community that I’m able to belief and my online page visitors abet home. After I got right here home for the first time, I performed a gigantic recreation in some of us’s eyes, however I was a bull in a china store, honest? I needed to procure by device of and procure to the discontinuance. And I won a million greenbacks, it used to be wonderful.

But of us additionally checked out me in a different mild. About a of them checked out me devour, “Oh, the massive, frightening Marine, he got to the discontinuance,” which that used to be a ingredient of my lifestyles at one point, however that isn’t any longer who I’m now. If you address negativity and hurting of us, that goes to be your culmination in lifestyles. But I consistently disclose protect determined, protect humble. Because if you address the positivity in lifestyles, you glimpse at what you possess and no longer what you need or what you would possibly maybe per chance per chance well seemingly seemingly procure.

You glimpse at what you possess to your lifestyles and if you’re contented with what you possess to your lifestyles, you then’re in a determined space. Nothing else can matter, regardless of how powerful money you possess, how powerful checking myth roles or autos or whatever you possess, if you possess dinky quantity devour I had earlier than, we were very, very contented. After which we got some money and it used to be improbable, and we’re very contented now. However the recreation used to be more about being a human this time, in favor to being a Survivor castaway, if that makes sense.

What I chanced on no doubt absorbing is that you mentioned at one point that you predominant to “no longer return home and no longer devour the person I was.” And you’ve got been very open on the remark and in talking to me in interviews, speaking about your own demons. And when I heard that quote, I puzzled, does that imply that you did no longer devour the actual person that got right here home from season 35?

Not that I didn’t devour the person, however I saw how I would possibly maybe maybe well seemingly address of us. And I saw that, sure, when I in actual fact possess a fair, regardless of what, I’m able to discontinue that fair. But what attain I attain getting to that fair, honest? How many of us am I elbowing out of the approach honest to procure to the attain line and be devour, “Yeah, I won.” But no one cares that you won if you honest elbowed everyone out of the approach. And so this time used to be to compose those relationships. And I no doubt did compose those relationships accessible. And with Tony and Sarah and Denise speaking about enduring and let lunge. Upright? And so this used to be a scene the attach the fireplace is crackling and I’m obsessed with stuff.

Because there’s things that I’ve carried out and skilled previously that aloof weigh on me as of late. And or no longer it’s devour, “Am I a honest person?” And to acknowledge to your inquire of as to 35, it used to be devour, I didn’t know if I was a honest person. And in an effort to manufacture sturdy friendships with Mama D and I got tattoos on my wrist, honest devour her. We in actual fact bonded accessible. All four of us did. And that’s the rationale what I excited by this time. And per chance did I over-honest attributable to I predominant to compose a relationship so frightening? Presumably.

But can I glimpse in the relate this time when I come home and be devour, “You appreciate what? You are pleased with yourself, man. You seemingly did honest. You bought off the couch, went and performed Survivor and won it. After which if you performed Survivor all-winners you went out in a formula that your loved ones would possibly maybe maybe well additionally very successfully enjoy with and your online page visitors would possibly maybe maybe well additionally very successfully enjoy with. And I’m able to glimpse in a relate at myself, more importantly, no longer what each person else thinks, however I’m able to glimpse in the relate and revel in with who I’m and the recreation I play. And that’s the rationale all that matters.

I endure in solutions talking to you earlier than the recreation, and in addition you in actual fact predominant to remark that you would be capable to attain successfully in this recreation without detonating Ben bombs in each attach. You venerable one at the very discontinuance there, however you made it all of the selection to finale evening without playing an idol. So that it’s foremost to feel you were winning in that mission.

Yes. And you address the determined. That is an improbable feat for me, honest? For me as a participant and as a castaway, for me to procure to the finale without using an idol and using relationships. And there is a motive I wasn’t voted out first. I went to hundreds of Tribals. Michelle talks about going to all of the Tribals. I feel she went to yet every other Tribal than I did. And we were each never immune, honest? That has to be a testament to each of our social video games. She’s an improbable participant. And he or she’s very determined. And he or she performed an improbable recreation as successfully. And neither of us were on the chopping block unless the discontinuance. And so, yeah, for me, I’m contented with that.

That used to be my fair. And I did it. My fair used to be to pick out $2 million. But you would possibly maybe per chance per chance well seemingly seemingly no longer glimpse at devour you quit, and if there possess been seven objectives on the board and if you honest compose no longer test off a model of objectives, you’re going to be down about it. Witness at the different six objectives you checked off. Treasure running by device of the forest after I chanced on an idol awkwardly with Tony. After which carrying him off and he’s screaming. “No!” Upright. So powerful honest determined experiences got right here out of this. That it used to be value it in so many suggestions.

We saw that you and Jeremy having this compose of mini-feud, however we never no doubt understood what it used to be about or the attach it began or the device it came about. Is there any compose of mild you would possibly maybe per chance per chance well seemingly seemingly shed on that?

You requested me earlier than the recreation, “Who attain you wish to work with?” And Jeremy used to be one of the crucial guys I predominant to work with. Day one, we hit the seashore and I’m honest afraid. I’m going to be honest. I’m nervous devour, “Holy cow, I’m out on the seashore.” Jeremy is a firefighter, and I was in the defense power, so for me, it used to be happy to explain with him and Tony and Sarah. And so day one, I was devour, “Okay, successfully, we can possess that bond.” And so I went to him and absolutely honest unfolded, used to be devour, “Dude, I respect your recreation. I respect who you are. I no doubt desire to work with you. And I feel if you and I’m able to stick together and procure to the merge, we can connect with Tony and Sarah. And we can procure to the discontinuance.”

And so he’s devour, “Yeah. Yeah.” He is giving me the lunge ahead. And so then we open walking up these stairs and he’s in the abet of me. And I turn spherical and glimpse, and he’s giving the, “This guy’s is a clown,” glimpse to the camera. And so I known as him out at him. I was devour, “Jeremy, what are you doing, dude?” And he’s devour, “Oh, I’m honest doing my factor. And y’all let me attain my factor.” And I’m devour, “Okay. So right here’s how Survivor works.” I got to let him attain his factor. I’m able to’t blow up. I’m able to’t procure inflamed.” Within the muse I’m devour, “Oh man, right here’s no longer honest.” But it’s miles the cardboard I was dealt at that time. I honest forfeited all my data to him. He used to be no longer having it. And he got caught no longer having it. But I needed to let that lunge and take a look at and work with him and compose that bond with him.

After which it got all of the style down to the discontinuance, and in addition you glimpse on the jury and who’s over there, and everyone’s going to vote for Jeremy attributable to he’s likable. And he’s a nice guy. But in the recreation of Survivor, it’s foremost to possess targets and in addition it’s foremost to connect targets on of us’s abet. And, unfortunately, Jeremy had all his online page visitors with the poker alliance, the long-established schoolers, he’s a extremely likable man. I would possibly maybe per chance not be in the recreation with him anymore. And so as that’s what it got right here all of the style down to focusing on Jeremy. And the recreation makes you very harassed out. The recreation is a $2 million recreation and we butted heads and there’s editing that wasn’t shown and everything devour that. But what it boils all of the style down to is, or no longer it’s only a recreation. And I respect Jeremy as a man and as a winner and as a Survivor participant and as a firefighter. So there’s no laborious emotions between Jeremy and I. And I wish him and Val and the kids all of the fully.

Is there the leisure that came about accessible that we didn’t procure to possess a study that you wish had made it into an episode?

I’d attain stuff for the experience of fun and positivity, devour that extensive hump. I went head-first backwards after Jeff’s devour, “Okay, head off to camp.” And I honest laid on my abet and went down backwards. And so, for me, it used to be so draining accessible. The recreation used to be so snappily. I imply, you glimpse at Sarah and Tony and I, we were honest sunken in and Michelle, honest? After which you glimpse at Nat and he or she’s all peanut buttered up, ready to return abet in devour a spitfire. And he or she did, she used to be improbable. That used to be her recreation. And he or she did very honest accessible on the Edge, getting all of the tokens and stuff. But for us in the recreation, betraying these of us and betraying our online page visitors, it used to be mentally and physically laborious and in addition you would possibly maybe per chance gaze it on our faces. But being in a local to rep that moment out on a hump and honest be devour, “Here’s going to be an adrenaline bustle.”

And I endure in solutions Jeff being devour, “Okay, everyone, head abet to camp.” And I honest kicked my legs up and went head-first backwards on my abet, down a hump. And I was devour, “Okay, we’re aloof having fun. Even supposing you’re drained, even supposing you’re tired, even supposing you honest lost immunity to Michelle, you’re aloof having fun.” And so as that’s what I no doubt tried to attain accessible, used to be honest protect focused, protect determined and no longer lose who I was as a man and as a father, as a husband.

Well, pay attention, I’m blissful you took yourself out of the recreation, honest so I’m able to rep a gander at that improbable horseshoe mustache you were rocking at Tribal Council!

How about that? After I got to Ponderosa, I tried to neat my beard up and it didn’t work out very successfully. And so I wasn’t going to transfer fat tremendous shave, and then that’s what we ended up with. My wife made me shave when I got home.

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