With all the amazing players who have passed through the Tribal Council hut, sparks were bound to fly at some point between the good-looking, charismatic host and one of the Survivor castaways. Here’s what you need to know about Jeff Probst’s girlfriend from the show, why they split, and who he is now married to.
Probst Once Called Julie Berry the Love Of His Life
The relationship between Probst and Survivor: Vanuatu castaway Julie Berry became public in December 2004 after Berry’s season had aired. Probst and Berry started dating when he emailed her to say hello after the show had wrapped filming.
Shortly after the season aired, the two told TV Guide that they definitely did not start the romance on set.
Berry was flirting with Probst, but, he said, “she was playing around and I was harder on her than on [the other contestants] because I thought she was not delivering as much as I wanted. We were definitely not having our own little party out there.”
He said that after the show, they began talking and then went on a road trip together, which is where they really fell in love.
“That is when we really got to know each other and I started to fall in love,” he said, adding, “The person on Survivor is not the real me. I play a distinct role — a real hard-*ss. And it was not the real Julie either; she was playing to win a million dollars. When I got to know her, I was blown away by the real wisdom of this woman.”
Berry then moved to Los Angeles to be with Probst and he told TV Guide that he never in a million years “would have dreamed [he] would find a love affair on a show” he hosted.
“I would have lost my house and all the money in my bank account betting against it,” said Probst.
The Two Split in 2008
The two ended things in 2008, with Probst telling USA Today that it became hard to maintain relationships while filming the show.
“I didn’t always treat people in relationships especially well, so I’ve tried to make amends and move forward,” said Probst, adding that it was “hard to be friends” with Berry.
“Maybe it’s too soon. But I definitely fell in love on Survivor. For sure. And wouldn’t change a thing about it,” he said.
Then in a 2013 interview, Berry revealed that the reason she has never been back on Survivor is that she would travel on location with Probst and so now that she’s been behind the scenes, she’s a no-go to return.
“I think I’ve had the luxury of not having to be tortured about [returning to Survivor] … I knew after Vanuatu and then when Jeff and I were dating that I opted out of that option, they told me because I would travel to location … I was very much a part of the other side and seeing all of that,” said Berry on Rob Cesternino’s podcast.
She also said that she completely supports Probst in all of his ventures, saying, “I’m a supporter of him, he’s amazing at what he does and he does it well and I think his life reflects that back to him. He’s very bright, he’s courageous,” said Berry.
Probst Married Lisa Ann Russell in 2011
In December 2011, Probst married actress Lisa Ann Russell. It was the second marriage for both. Probst was previously married to Shelley Wright from 1996 to 2001, and Russell was previously married to actor Mark-Paul Gosselaar from 1996 to 2011. Russell and Gosselaar share custody of their two children, son Michael, 16, and daughter Ava, 14.
On a 2012 episode of Larry King Now (via E! Online), Probst said that the shared custody is amicable and that Michael and Ava see Probst and Gosselaar’s second wife, Catriona McGinn, as an extra set of parents.
“Well, [Russell and Gosselaar] were together almost 20 years. They had a long marriage and they raised these two young kids. They raised them with the 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, adding, “They call me dad, and you know when it locked in? When we were together before we got married, they were playing with it. Sometimes it’d be dad, sometimes it’d be Jeff, dad two, sometimes it’d be D-2. But when we got married, when this ring went on my finger, Michael looked up and said, ‘dad,’ and I could tell that he knew now that this big thing was official and it was real.”