Who needs romantic reality television when reality stars all date each other behind the scenes anyway? Survivor is notorious for people pairing up romantically, both on and off screen, so much so that host Jeff Probst even joked it was the “most successful dating show” on television during the On Fire podcast. In Season 45, Dee Valladares’s showmance with Austin Li Coon was the talk of the season.
But afterward the finale aired, Dee and Austin were relatively mum about their relationship status. However, rumors have been spreading that Dee is embroiled in an affair with Season 36 winner Wendell Holland. He famously dated another Survivor winner, Michele Fitzgerald. So are the rumors about Wendell and Dee true?
Rumors are spreading that ‘Survivor’ winner Wendell has been cheating on his girlfriend with ‘Survivor 45’ winner Dee.
Two Survivor winners could be a recipe for success … or disaster. Wendell won Survivor: Ghost Island in the closest final vote in history. His season was the only season in which the jury’s consensus at the end was a tie. So Laurel, as the tiebreaker, is the reason Wendell won. But after his reputation with romance, his profile has taken a nosedive.
In Winners at War, Wendell's previous relationship with Michele continuously came up as a social obstacle during the game for both of them. She said that he played her, and his reputation as a bit of a player continued. According to Redditor u/DreamOfV, “Someone said on RHAP [Rob Has a Podcast] a few years ago that Wendell is with a different Survivor girl at every charity event.”
However, in 2023, he seemed to settle down with his then-girlfriend, Chelsea Brooks. They even had an adorable baby, Wendell Carter Holland, together on May 19! But on Jan. 4, 2024, Twitter rumor mill @TheSpoilerGirl dropped the tea that Wendell was allegedly having an affair with Dee. Their names were redacted; however, @BB_WhatNow, another gossip account gave the rumor clarity.
“Wendall (Survivor 36 winner) has apparently been cheating on his girlfriend and mother of his two children with recent winner of #Survivor45,” they said. “His girlfriend found out about his secret ‘relationship’ after Wendall gifted Dee a bracelet which was shown in recent IG pictures.”
The account also shared a screenshot of Chelsea’s Instagram story, in which she shared a photo of a moving truck. She wrote, “Goodbye to the lies, to the deceit, to the manipulation. Goodbye to the false promises, the fake potential, the disrespect. Goodbye to trying to force someone to see my worth. And most painfully, goodbye to what I thought my life would be.”
Neither Wendell nor Chelsea have any photos as a couple on their Instagram, hinting that they wiped the internet of their past relationship. However, they continue to share photos of little Wendell. Even still, Dee’s involvement with Wendell has yet to be proven by a reliable source.
People think Dee is involved with Wendell because of a bracelet.
The original post by the Spoiler Girl was deleted, but she has since shared the screenshots of her initial message with one of Chelsea's friends. Chelsea’s relationship with Wendell was already on the rocks when their son was born. According to the anonymous source, Wendell and Dee met at a Survivor watch party in May.
After that, Wendell began frequently traveling as he “tried to stay relevant” in reality television. The constant travel and his commitment to the reality television world over his family became a source of anguish for their relationship.
Then, before Christmas, Chelsea supposedly found the bracelet Dee is seen wearing at Wendell and Bryce’s Survivor finale celebration in her home. Users quickly figured out that the bracelet was made by Louis Vuitton and worth over $500, so it doesn’t seem like a small gift for a friend. However, Wendell did win $1 million, so perhaps $500 isn’t worth that much to him.
There doesn’t seem to be a ton of proof that Wendell and Dee are actually a thing besides anonymous screenshots and tales of the bracelet, but anything is possible. Some Twitter users have also noted rumors of Dee and Wendell spending New Year's Eve together, but once again, there is no proof of this.
As far as Dee and Austin’s relationship goes, Dee said on On Fire that their showmance did go beyond the show. She said that they were “taking things slow” since she lives in Miami and he lives in Chicago. After that interview, both Dee and Austin said they preferred to “keep things private.” So whatever all of their relationship statuses are, we just want them to play Survivor again!