jeff probst and lisa ann russell
Source: Getty Images

'Survivor' Host Jeff Probst's Wife Wanted Him to Quit the Show

Gina Vaynshteyn - Author
By

Sep. 29 2021, Updated 6:02 p.m. ET

By this point, Jeff Probst is basically an icon. The host (and executive producer) of all 41 seasons of Survivor is known for making the show what it is. He couldn't have done it without his sass, go-to button-down shirt, and of course, his wife. The 59-year-old is married to Lisa Ann Russell, but this isn't his first marriage or relationship. Jeff was married to psychotherapist Shelly Wright from 1996-2001. He also dated a former Survivor contestant before meeting Lisa Ann.

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First: Who's Lisa Ann Russell?

The 48-year-old former model and actress was born in Sterling, Illinois, but moved to California to pursue her dream of modeling and acting. Lisa Ann modeled for Revlon before attending college. Then, she made a guest appearance on Saved by the Bell: The College Years in 1993. She's also had small roles in movies like Twisted Love (1995), and Sinbad: The Battle of the Dark Knights (1998). In 2013, she appeared on The Jeff Probst Show.

Lisa Ann and Jeff Probst
Source: Getty Images
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Before marrying Jeff, Lisa Ann was married to actor Mark-Paul Gosselaar. The two were together for 15 years (1996-2011) and share two kids together (Michael and Ava, age 16 and 14, respectively). Lisa Ann and Jeff met at Survivor producer Mark Burnett's holiday party, according to Glamour Biz.

Did Lisa Ann want Jeff to quit 'Survivor'? She mentioned it to him in the past.

According to a 2017 Radar Online article, Lisa Ann wanted Jeff to retire as host of Survivor. A source told the outlet that "Jeff loves his crazy job, and the very peaceful home life he goes home to when he's not shooting, but his wife, Lisa, wants him home permanently ... Now that her kids [and Probst's stepchildren] are teenagers, Lisa needs his help more than ever ... She says the family doesn't need the Survivor money and that they're completely set for life."

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Source: YouTube

Despite this, Jeff has remained in the same position on the show that he always has. Not only that, it appears he has turned it up a notch as well. In July 2021, Jeff tweeted a video where he mentioned that it's the "dawn of a new era," adding that the only way to describe the 41st season of Survivor is as "a brand-new game."

He then told Parade in August 2021 that the new season's formula has bred "a faster, more dangerous and much more intense game."

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To Entertainment Weekly in September 2021, he mentioned, "The players have a lot of new elements to contend with in Survivor 41. We had so much fun! It was as if we were creating a brand-new game."

Most recently, to The New York Times, Jeff explained that he "wanted to birth a new era with [Season] 41, even before the pandemic."

With all of that in mind, it's clear that Lisa Ann won't be getting her request for Jeff to quit his job fulfilled any time soon.

Lisa Ann and Jeff Probst
Source: Getty Images
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Who else has Jeff Probst dated? His past relationship with Julie Berry explained.

In 2004, Jeff hit it off with one of his Season 9 Survivor contestants, Julie Berry (39). They broke up in 2008. According to People, Jeff emailed Julie as soon as the show ended — so as far as we know, both parties kept things professional during the filming process. Jeff told the celeb news outlet, "Once we started spending some time together, I didn't have any doubt ... all the questions about how you meet and any potential obstacles, they fade away like an old dry leaf."

He added, "I'm with her. I'm with her family, and there ain't no turning back. When you find it, you know, and now I get it." Jeff and Julie made it official at the Survivor: Vanuatu reunion, according to Men's Health.

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Julie Berry
Source: Instagram/Julie Berry

Sadly, Jeff and Julie broke up a little less than four years later, but it's unclear why. Both were quiet about their separation, which is cool. Everyone deserves their privacy. Since then, Julie has worked as a story assistant as well as a producer on a couple of shows like Dancing with the Stars and The Bachelor. She's currently a therapist in Los Angeles, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Julie and her travel partner, The Bachelorette's Kasey Stewart, broke a world record in February 2018 after they flew to all seven continents in three days, 20 hours, and four minutes and 19 seconds (the fastest time, ever). So, yeah, she's doing just fine. It sounds like both Jeff and Julie found happiness in other people!

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