“Boston” Rob Mariano is a contestant on season 40 of Survivor. Mariano returns to the game for a record fifth time as a player, which will now be the most times any single person has played the game. This is actually his sixth season, since he was recently a mentor on “Island of the Idols,” though he didn’t actually play that season.
Mariano previously appeared on seasons four, eight, 20, and 22 of Survivor. But, it was season 22, “Redemption Island,” when Rob finally won the grand prize.
Read on for everything you need to know about Mariano.
1. He is a Boston Italian Catholic
Robert Carlo Mariano, aka “Boston Rob,” is very proud of where he comes from. He is a born and raised Bostonian, though he now resides in Florida, and he is a proud Italian — his great-grandparents on his paternal grandfather’s side were originally born in Italy.
Mariano is one of three siblings born to Robert and Linda Mariano. He has a brother named Michael, who still lives in the Boston area, and a sister named Heather who lives in Missouri and has three children.
Mariano grew up in the Hyde Park area of Boston where he attended Xaverian Brothers High School. He played golf and hockey there and graduated in 1994. He then earned a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Boston University. He is well known for his Boston sports fandoms: the Red Sox, the Bruins, and the New England Patriots.
Other than going on reality TV every few years, Mariano works in construction and recently started renovating houses in Florida.
2. Rob Met His Wife on Survivor
In what is truly a reality TV romance for the ages, Mariano met his wife, Amber Brkich, on Survivor: All Stars. The final two came down to Amber and Rob and she won, with Mariano proposing to her during the live finale — before the final votes were read, no less.
The two were married in April 2005, which aired the following month as a two-hour special on CBS called Rob and Amber Get Married. The special showed them planning their wedding, taking dance lessons for the reception, and writing their own vows for the ceremony.
“Amber, I never met anyone who has made me feel so special until I met you. You make me smile, you make me laugh, you make me feel important and smart. Sometimes you make me crazy, then you make things alright again. You taught me patience and you taught me compromise. You brought me into your family. You’ve given me friendship, you given me love. You’ve always given me the window seat. And today you are giving me all of you. For this, I am honored and privileged and in return, I promise I will always be true to you, to always treat you with respect, to always be your friend, to always put you above everything else and to always love you with all my heart, forever and ever and ever,” said Rob in his vows.
“Robert, I want you to know that even though this wedding has turned out to be more than I ever dreamed, it would not be perfect without you standing in front of me today. You are what matters most. Today I stand here telling you that I am yours. My heart is filled with love for you and our future together. I promise to be patient and giving, understanding and truthful and dedicated to your every need. I promise to always be there with you to laugh and even cry and to learn and grow old. Thank you for making my fairytale wedding come true and by that I mean thank you for giving me you.” said Amber in her vows.
3. Rob and Amber Have Four Children
After getting married, the two of them waited a few years to start their family, but they quickly went from having no children to having four children. In the span of just under five years, they had four daughters.
Rob and Amber’s oldest daughter is Lucia, who was born on the Fourth of July in 2009. Mariano has always been very proud of his Italian heritage, so all of his daughters have Italian names. His great-grandparents on his paternal grandfather’s side were originally born in Italy.
The second oldest daughter is Carina, which means “dear one” in Italian. She was born December 10, 2010, after a wild birth that nearly ended with Carina being born in the car on the way to the hospital.
The third daughter is Isabetta, which is a form of both Isabella and Elizabetta, which means “pledged to God” in Italian. She was born on May 5, 2012. And the fourth little girl is Adelina, which means “noble” in Italian. She was born on June 20, 2014.
All four girls have the middle name “Rose” because that was Rob’s paternal grandmother’s name. She passed away when he was a teenager.
“Rob really liked the idea of all of our girls sharing the same middle name,” Amber told People when their third daughter was born. “Many cousins on his side also share Rose as their middle name.”
Find out more about Rob and Amber’s girls in our profile here.
4. Rob and Amber Also Competed on The Amazing Race
These reality TV veterans have not just stuck to Survivor. They have also competed on The Amazing Race twice, in 2005 and 2007.
On season 7, Rob and Amber were engaged at the time and ran a really good race. They were the only team to never come in last place on any legs of the race, but they ended up finishing second to married couple Uchenna and Joyce. On season 11, which was The Amazing Race: All Stars, they were competing as newlyweds because the show filmed just a few months after they got married.
On that season, they finished in first place on the first three legs of the race but then ring the fourth leg roadblock, Mariano got hung up sorting letters addressed to their team when he accidentally pushed one to the ground and could not find it for the longest time. It cost them too much time and they lost out in a foot race with another team and were sent home.
5. Rob Says He and Amber Have a Plan
Obviously, the target on Rob and Amber is going to be a bit bigger than on anyone else because they have a built-in, rock-solid alliance coming into the game. But Mariano isn’t worried. He told Xfinity in a pre-“Winners at War” interview that his wife can handle herself.
“Amber can stand on her own two feet, I’ve got no doubt about it. If there’s a situation where we’re on separate tribes, I’m not going to be able to do much to help her. But, she’s completely qualified to handle herself,” says Mariano. “If we’re on the same tribe, that’s a different dynamic. And it may work for me or against me.
He adds that the main thing is being able to adapt as twists and turns are thrown your way.
“[T]he basic premise of this game is the person who’s the best able to adapt to any situation that they’re thrown into, is the one who will do the best. That’s remained constant. Yes, there’s new twists, there’s a new style of playing, it’s faster, they switch alliances, they’re not old-school. But still, you have to be able to adapt. You can’t come into this and say I’m going to do this, this, and this. You’ve got to go on the fly. And I’ve always been really good at being able to read people and adjust and think one step ahead of them. These people have all won, they can think two or three steps ahead. I’m going to try to think further ahead,” says Mariano.
Survivor: Winners at War airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.
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