Rupert Boneham is one of the most favorite, beloved players of all time for a lot of Survivor fans. He just seems like such a likable guy. In an interview around the time of Survivor: All Stars, Boneham got real about his fellow castmates, how he feels about host Jeff Probst, and told a crazy story from “Jury Camp,” as he called it.
Boneham Got Picked Up by a Whale
In an interview with Nuvo back when Boneham was fresh off of all-stars, the castaway talked about the best thing that ever happened to him playing Survivor — being picked up and flung by a whale.
“[The best thing] didn’t really happen to me until I was in the jury camp, where I had my whale experience,” said Boneham. “I actually came close enough that a mama whale came up from under me and touched me, picked me up out of the water and I’m riding on a whale’s back as it slams me down in the water and they take off. That was probably a best that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”
He also said the worst thing about playing Survivor was that he was not prepared for how cutthroat it was going to be.
“The game itself is a pretty mean game. I went out there thinking it was a game of Survivor and I came home from ‘Pearl Island’ knowing it was a game of Conniver. The hardest thing for me was playing that game of Conniver. It got a little easier for me on Survivor: All-Stars because I didn’t play the same game. But ‘Pearl Island’ was very hard on me,” said Boneham.
When asked why it was so hard on him, Boneham said his tribemates were taunting him and it put him right back in middle school.
“When Burt [Roberts] and Shawn [Cohen] and Michelle [Tesauro] are taunting you and poking you, grabbing your fat and just kind of teasing you like you were when you were younger, you click back into that 14-year-old little insecure kid, even though you could kill ’em all, you don’t see it anymore and you play that role. That’s the pain of it; it was all self-induced,” said Boneham.
Who Are His Favorite and Least Favorite Players?
Boneham revealed that from “Pearl Islands,” he stayed friends with his Drake tribemates Sandra Diaz-Twine and Christa Hastie, and from all-stars, he has the most contact with Boston Rob Mariano.
“I still have the most contact with Boston Rob. I really never saw that bad side of Boston Rob, I still like Boston Rob; he’s a good guy, even though he’s portrayed as being the bad guy,” said Boneham.
As for least favorites, Boneham said he’s glad he made it farther in the game than either of his least favorites.
“My least favorites went early in the game … Jerri [Manthey] and Ethan [Zohn] were the ones that I met that really rubbed me the wrong way and I’m glad I made it further than both of them,” he said.
He also said Rudy Boesch was the one person he felt he “truly could have trusted on the show” and he was really sad when Boesch was voted out.
How Does He Feel About Jeff Probst?
Boneham said that Probst can take a little while to warm up to you, but he thinks it’s because Probst sees the worst sides of people.
“Jeff Probst sees a very bad side of people. He is used to seeing that conniver, liar side of people, so it takes a while for him to warm up to you, but Jeff and I became pretty good friends by the end of ‘Pearl Islands,’ and when I went into All-Stars I felt like I had a friend,” said Boneham. “So did probably everybody there … I’m sure Jeff has his favorites, but I felt like I had a friend.”
He added, “There were a few times in the game of All-Stars where he would look right at me and tell me my strategy was wrong, with trusting, ’cause I’d come right out and say, as we got into the game more, that I trusted people.”
Survivor will most likely not return until fall 2021 with season 41, which should begin filming in April.