Jeff Probst has been married to Lisa Ann Russell for nearly a decade, but many Survivor fans may not know that they actually met because of the long-running CBS reality series. Here’s what Probst said about that in an interview from when they were first married.
Probst Met Russell At Mark Burnett’s Wild Christmas Party
With TV host Larry King recently passing away, some old clips of Jeff Probst appearing on The Larry King Show have been making the rounds on social media. In the interview, Probst recounted how he met his wife and it sounds like it was a wild night at the house of Mark Burnett, who is the creator and executive producer of Survivor.
Probst said that Burnett is “eclectic” because he “hangs in weird circles” due to his having created so many scripted and unscripted TV shows.
“I met [my wife] at Mark Burnett’s party … Mark Burnett has an annual Christmas party, which is the craziest Christmas party I’ve ever been to because of the eclectic group of people there,” said Probst, adding, “You have Gary Busey on one end doing these pressure points on your arm trying to bring you down. … I’m trying to get away from him ’cause he’s doing, ‘I got you, Probst, I got you.’ Meanwhile, there’s Barbra Streisand talking to Paris Hilton on the other couch and there’s Arsenio Hall and then there’s David, the composer, David Foster!”
He said his wife Russell was there “with two other friends just to see the spectacle.”
Probst Said His Marriage is Awesome Because He Married the Right Person
When asked how he liked being married, Probst said it was “awesome” because he “married the right person.” He also said that Russell brought two children into the marriage and they have no plans to have any together, but she did offer.
Probst met Russell when he was in his late 40s and they got married when he was 50 and she was almost 40 years old. So she was very upfront with him about how if he wanted to have a baby together, they needed to do it ASAP.
“Lisa, [she’s] very kind — when we first were together, she said if you want to have a baby together, I’ll do it but we gotta do it now,” said Probst with a laugh. He also admitted to always wanting to have a “great family unit” because that’s how he was raised, but for him, it just happened another way because Russell brought two kids into the relationship.
He and Russell share custody of Michael and Ava with their father, actor Mark-Paul Gosselaar, and his second wife, Catriona McGinn, and it’s an incredibly functional family unit — so much so that the kids call Probst dad as well.
“[Russell and Gosselaar] were together almost 20 years, so they had a long marriage and they raised these two young kids and they raised them with this kind of love that the kids, they see me and he’s now remarried, his wife, they just see us as two more parents,” said Probst.
Despite their rock-solid family situation, Probst did admit once that if he and his wife were playing Survivor in the “Blood vs. Water” format that they’ve used a couple of times on the show, he’d “gut her” if he had to.
“I’d gut her – and then I’d use that move to my advantage,” Probst told People, adding, “Of course, I say that now, but if I saw someone messing with my wife, I’d go crazy.”
Survivor will most likely not return until fall 2021 with season 41, which should begin filming in April.