Earlier this year, “Survivor 42” saw one of the best love stories of the show’s modern age…even if it didn’t amount to much. All the way back in episode 2 of the season, eventual winner Maryanne Oketch publicly confessed that she had a crush on Zach Wurtenberger, who had become the season’s first boot the previous night.
Although many hoped that Maryanne and Zach would eventually couple up, that did not end up happening (though Maryanne’s revelation did lead to Maryanne finding her first boyfriend shortly after the scene aired). Nonetheless, they are now close friends, and recently, Zach spoke out about how Maryanne’s crush actually hurt his game…and his dating life.
Here’s what you need to know:
Drea Wheeler Told Her Tribe of Maryanne’s Obsession With Zach After the Summit
In an episode of Rob Has a Podcast in which they recapped the “Survivor 43” premiere, Zach revealed to Rob Cesternino that his Ika tribemate Drea Wheeler had actually strongly suspected the truth about Maryanne’s crush while she was on the trip to the Summit with her and Jenny Kim.
Apparently, during the journey Maryanne couldn’t stop talking about Zach, asked Drea numerous questions about him, and even revealed that her tribe had even labeled him the “New Cochran.” When Drea got back to camp, she told her tribe about this.
“Guess what, guys?” Zach recalls Drea saying to Ika. “Zach, they are a big fan of you … Maryanne couldn’t stop asking about you, Maryanne was talking about how they thought your intro answer was so funny.” Drea apparently added, “they think you’re the new Cochran. They keep calling you ‘new Cochran’.”
Zach was happy about this news at first, but soon realized it may not bode well for his game. “I was trying to play it off as best as I could,” he said, “but in my mind I’m like, ‘oh crap, all of a sudden now I accidentally have an alliance with the other tribe that I didn’t even mean to!”
When it came to whether it actually affected his game, Zach was hesitant to jump to such strong conclusions. “I think we’re talking about a very minor thing,” he said, “I don’t think this tilted things either way. But I know that in the moment, I was certainly not too pleased that Maryanne had that crush. Until I get voted out, and I find out about it…and then I’m like, ‘Well, this is hysterical’.”
Maryanne’s Crush Also ‘100% Hurt’ Zach’s Dating Life
When Cesternino asked how Maryanne’s crush helped Zach’s dating life, the former contestant responded that it actually “100% hurt me.”
Noting how both he and Maryanne played into the love story crafted largely by fans (in part by simultaneously changing their last names on Twitter to the other’s), Zach said that most potential suitors would assume that Maryanne was in fact his actual girlfriend. “All of a sudden … any girl would look at me, and they’d be like ‘well he’s taken’,” Zach said. “It definitely was something that people would bring up.”
However, Maryanne’s crush also gave him a reason to root for her, and was thrilled when he found out she won. “Maryanne was always [my] #1,” he said. “It’s a very good thing that someone I love so much won the season … so I was very happy for her and very happy to watch the season unfold for her.”
“Survivor 43” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CBS.