How much these Survivor winners are worth today

In 2000, Survivor started an unprecedented experiment to see if strangers could live together on an island with only basic necessities. With gameplay thrown in, these contestants resorted to lying, backstabbing, and doing whatever it took to emerge victorious. 20 years later and the show is still as strong as ever, filming two seasons every year and giving people the chance to outwit, outplay, and outlast to earn the title of “Sole Survivor” and the $1 million prize.

For the show’s 40th season in 2020, only existing winners returned to compete for the biggest Survivor prize ever: $2 million. Even with the contestants’ combined prizes of $21 million, a cup of rice would soon become a luxury. Notably, original winner and shady contestant Richard Hatch didn’t make the cut because host Jeff Probst made it so. “I didn’t feel comfortable having him out on the show and representing a show that is for families,” Probst told Time. Do you think Hatch should have competed in the winners-only season? Several previous champions thrived after their seasons while a few unfortunately spiraled.

What would you do with a million dollars after leaving an island — after eating a huge meal, that is. Do you think you would try your survival skills again in another season? The possible paycheck at the end may just be the biggest motivator. And what did the elite players do with their hard-earned cash? It’s time to find out how much these Survivor winners are worth today.

Rob Mariano keeps going for more victories

Arguably the most recognizable male to ever play Survivor, “Boston Rob” Mariano became the villain viewers loved to hate in Season 4, Survivor: Marquesas. Wildly popular with fans, Mariano returned for Season 8, Survivor: All-Stars, Season 20, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, and finally won on Season 22, Survivor: Redemption Island. Oh, there’s more? 

With this legendary status in place, Mariano mentored players — alongside Sandra Diaz-Twine — for the entirety of Season 39, Survivor: Island of the Idols. Producers even made a gigantic statue of him and Diaz-Twine on the island. “You know I loved it,” the celeb told Entertainment Weekly in 2019. “It was my totem. I cried, and I took pictures with it … I couldn’t believe it.”

Outside of island life, Mariano tried to earn even more money through gambling. In 2007, he starred in the reality show Rob and Amber: Against the Odds, which followed Rob’s “attempt to become a professional poker player under the tutelage of poker champion Daniel Negreanu,” via Mariano’s personal website. The former Survivor winner is also the head of Murlonio Productions to create TV and other entertaining content. Despite the difficulty of having to leave his four daughters at home, of course Mariano decided to return for the all-winners Season 40. At this point, he might just have to build a permanent home on the island, close to his statue, of course. Celebrity Net Worth estimates Mariano is worth $1.3M.

Amber Mariano found the man of her dreams

The other half of the Survivor power couple, Amber Mariano, first appeared on Season 2, Survivor: The Australian Outback. She, too, was a fan favorite and in her next island appearance for Survivor: All-Stars, Mariano famously beat out her future husband, Rob Mariano. But really, both players won that season since he proposed during the live finale. After the fairytale ending to the season, Amber told CBS that she was “never expecting to play again.” Yet, 15 years later, she found herself back again to compete alongside her husband and 18 other Survivor superstars in Season 40.

With a net worth of approximately $1.3 million according to Celebrity Net Worth, plus the popularity and Survivor royalty status, Amber and Rob take time to enjoy the simple pleasures and spend time with their four daughters. As she told CBS, “enjoying family night while eating Doritos and watching Survivor” is a favorite pastime. Pretty blissful, huh?

Ethan Zohn's life became even harder after his win

As a gifted soccer player, Ethan Zohn graduated college and went on to play professional soccer all around the world, like Zimbabwe, Cape Cod, and Hawaii, according to his personal website. Things didn’t stay easy for long, but in despair, something amazing happened. As he told CBS, “I got let go from a job, had a day off in NYC, and sent a VHS audition tape into CBS on a lark the day before it was due. What happened next literally changed the trajectory of my life.” Zohn emerged victorious in Season 3 Survivor: Africa and returned once again for Survivor: All-Stars with other icons like Rupert Boneham and the Marianos. 

Though he didn’t win on his second try, Zohn used his winnings to found Grassroot Soccer, which, according to his website, is “a non-profit providing youth HIV/AIDS education” to children in Africa and around the world. Sadly, Zohn was twice diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and he “endured years of aggressive treatment, including two stem cell transplants.” But, with a true survivor spirit, he fought the disease and won. He became a motivational speaker to share his amazing story. Zohn’s net worth is unknown but he’s looking to add to his pile after competing on Season 40, Survivor: Winners at War.

Richard Hatch's mistakes cost him dearly

In the first season, Survivor: Borneo, Richard Hatch from little Rhode Island walked away as the first “Sole Survivor” with $1 million in cash. His odd gameplay worked, and “Richard Hatch first took advantage of CBS’ ability to pixelate a moving image”, former Survivor winner Ethan Zohn joked about to CBS

Hatch made his return appearance on the star-studded eighth season in Survivor: All-Stars, but this time the tribe voted him out. With his winnings, Hatch cruised around the world as a motivational speaker and “worked as a correspondent for Entertainment Tonight and CBS News’ The Early Show,” according to Hatch’s CBS bio. He used his experience to consult businesses, provide seminars, and earn his real estate agent license. Even more, he “worked as a car salesman and bartender.”

With all these jobs, the man must be loaded right? Not quite. Hatch made national news when he landed in jail for failing to pay taxes on his Survivor paycheck. After serving three years in prison, he still “refused to follow the judge’s orders” and wound up behind bars yet again, Forbes reported. All this jail time clearly took a big hit out of his net worth, which Celebrity Net Worth estimates is $200,000. Turns out, a simple tax form outwitted Hatch and basically destroyed his career.

Earl Cole wanted to keep exploring

Prior to participating in Season 14, Survivor: Fiji, Earl Cole was well-established in the entertainment industry. This included work as writer’s assistant for animated TV comedy, The PJs, and as a composer capable of playing many instruments, according to this CBS bio. Whether his violin-playing helped or not, Cole earned the title of “Sole Survivor.” Even better, he became the first winner to receive a unanimous vote for the victory (via CBS).

Once home, Cole founded the non-profit Perthes Kids Foundation to help children with Legg Calve Perthes Disease. As it turns out, Cole had this same rare bone disease as a child, leaving him bound to a wheelchair — something he revealed to Rob Has a Podcast. The winner also took time to enjoy life after his big win, traveling to numerous countries — 35 in fact. “I wanted this life experience because that’s priceless,” he told E! News. And one of the highlights? A return visit to the same island where he earned his million dollars. Cole revealed, “I went back to Fiji after winning because I wanted to experience the more luxurious side!” His net worth is unknown but stays busy with his charity and as a father.

Tyson Apostol focused on love off the island

If at first you don’t succeed … go to an island full of lying players and try again. Still no luck? Try one more time. As a then-professional cyclist, Tyson Apostol’s first chance at a million dollars came in Season 18, Survivor: Tocantins in 2009. In 2010, he returned for Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains – with still no luck. But, the third time was the charm as Apostol went on to win Season 27, Survivor: Blood vs. Water, which he played with his then-girlfriend, Rachel Foulger. He told CBS that his victory and popularity from the show “opened lots of doors to pursue many different interests.”

One of those doors meant appearing on TV outside of an island location. Apostol and Foulger signed up for the reality series, Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars. It must have worked, since the two are still married, at the time of this writing, in 2020, with children. He dished to CBS, “Survivor has afforded me the luxury of spending lots of time with my kids. For which I will always be grateful.” Apostol is worth an estimated $250,000 according to Celebrity Net Worth, and looking to pile on much more money with his appearance on Season 40, Survivor: Winners at War.

Rupert Boneham won the fans' hearts

Big, loveable, teddy-bear Rupert Boneham first appeared on Season 7, Survivor: Pearl Islands, losing out to queen Sandra Diaz-Twine. Viewers loved the man and so he played for a second time on Survivor: All-Stars. Once again, Boneham lost in the season but then something amazing happened during the reunion episode. CBS announced a fan-favorite vote, with the winner also getting a $1 million prize, as revealed by his CBS bio. Sure enough, Boneham received the most votes and walked away a victor. He tried twice more, first on Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, and then with his wife in Survivor: Blood vs. Water, but ultimately lost both.

All these defeats weren’t enough to deter Boneham, and he used his winnings and popularity to make quite the career after Survivor. He established the Rupert’s Kids organization to provide mentorship to troubled teens. Boneham also took a chance in politics. “He declared his candidacy for Governor of Indiana on August 30, 2011 and hence became the Libertarian candidate for governor of Indiana in 2012,” reported Celebrity Net Worth. Boneham is worth an estimated $3.8 million, showing he successfully utilized his initial winnings.

Todd Herzog deteriorated after his Survivor appearance

When Todd Herzog won Season 15, Survivor: China, he became the second openly gay player to win Survivor, following the footsteps of Season 1 winner Richard Hatch. But sadly, this young victor quickly spiraled downward. 

According to E! News, Herzog “publicly struggled with alcoholism, appearing as a frequent guest on the Dr. Phil Show.” After an embarrassing TV moment when he appeared too drunk to even walk on stage for Dr. Phil, Herzog told Stat that the show set him up. Speaking to the outlet, Herzog claimed that Dr. Phil producers allegedly put vodka in his dressing room and handed him a Xanax before going on stage. A representative for the Dr. Phil Show told E! News, “The show does not give drugs or alcohol to its guests and any suggestions to the contrary is errant nonsense.”

In happier news, Herzog found love and proposed to his future husband in 2019, as revealed by People. The surprise engagement included previous contestants from his season, including shady “Lunch Lady” Denise Martin. His net worth is unknown but, of course, money can’t buy love, so it appears Herzog won for a second time.

Bob Crowley continued his life outdoors

Quite the outdoorsman, Bob Crowley “built numerous structures from recycled material including wharfs, saunas, a chicken house and a hunting cabin,” according to his CBS bio — all before even appearing on Survivor. With skills like that, he definitely had a good chance to win. If that’s not all, as of 2020, Crowley is still the oldest person to win Survivor. During Season 17, Survivor: Gabon, the lovable high school physics teacher narrowly won the grand prize at age 57, according to CBS. As if winning a million dollars wasn’t good enough, Crowley won an additional $100,000 for being voted “player of the season” during the live reunion, reported E! News

Although his net worth is unknown, he used his winnings to continue lifelong passions and to help others. Crowley and his wife opened up an eco-friendly campground called Maine Forest Yurts near their Portland, Maine home. So, is camping as intense there as it is on the Survivor islands? “I would say we lean towards glamping,” he told Business Insider. He also started a non-profit organization, Durham Warriors, to welcome “school groups, active military and veterans” among other non-profit groups to stay for free at the campground.

Life is good for 'The Queen' Sandra Diaz-Twine

Up until Season 40, Sandra Diaz-Twine remained the only two-time winner of Survivor. This earned her the nickname “The Queen” of Survivor, and she’ll forever be remembered as perhaps the greatest female player ever in the game. All reigns start from somewhere, and Diaz began her story on Season 7, Survivor: Pearl Islands. She dominated the season and won the title of “Sole Survivor.” Diaz came back for a second attempt in Season 20, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, and astonishingly, won again. She tried again without luck in Survivor: Game Changers but returned to play the role of mentor in Survivor: Island of the Idols. Yes, that means she had a statue of herself built on the island.

Her net worth is unknown, but with two victorious seasons, Diaz-Twine has the luxury to spend more time with her husband and two children. She happily stays at home and told People, “I don’t do a damn thing.” Diaz-Twine made one last push in Season 40, Survivor: Winners at War, but after falling short, she announced her retirement from the game. Diaz-Twine said on the show, “I’m happy to go into retirement and know that I did the best I could with what I had. At the end of the day, I’m still the queen, and I’ll always stay the queen” (via E! News).

A young Jud Birza used his winnings to party

The game of Survivor often favors players with people skills, athleticism, and survival instincts. This can be easier with a fair amount of life experience, and yet, a young 21-year-old Jud Birza defied the odds when he won Season 21, Survivor: Nicaragua. As of 2020, he remains the youngest player to ever win a season, via Men’s Health. Perhaps it was his hair, which earned him the nickname “Fabio.”

After winning the big prize, he acted like, well, a 21-year-old. “Shortly after his win, the male model was arrested for skateboarding under the influence in Santa Monica in 2011,” E! News reported. But sitting on a big pile of cash, he posted his own bail of $37,000 and then “was promptly picked up from prison in a stretch limo, filled with his friends and some beer.” Although Birza’s net worth is unknown, he at least used some money for good, revealing he purchased a farm for his father. Among his other credits after Survivor, Birza modeled for book covers and starred in the Oscar-snubbed, made-for-TV movie 90210 Shark Attack, according to Men’s Health.

The hard-working Kim Spradlin-Wolfe continued her career

Before appearing on TV, Kim Spradlin-Wolfe already opened her own business at age 26, “working as a whitewater rafting guide” and then later opening a bridal shop, according to her CBS bio. Spradlin-Wolfe and her winning smile convinced the jury members to vote for her as the winner of Season 24 Survivor: One World. She went into the season intending to play with respect, and this humble player stayed the same after winning. “I really haven’t bought anything,” she told People.

Instead, Spradlin-Wolfe used her winnings to help transition into an interior decorating career. Her net worth is unknown, but it’s enough to spend time with family and play around with her own interests. She told CBS her hobbies include “buying-selling vintage goods, renovating houses, playing with [her] kids, and picking up after [her] kids.” Spradlin-Wolfe returned for Season 40 to compete amongst previous winners and to maybe earn more spending money for those vintage goods.

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