Quick Note: I had a chance to sit down with all twenty of the “Blood vs. Water” competitors before the game began. I’ll be posting exclusive interviews with each pairing in the days leading up to the September 18th season premiere. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for those interviews, behind-the-scenes exclusives, and more…
Name: Rupert Boneham
Relationship to Significant Castaway: Laura’s Husband
Previous Seasons: “Survivor: Pearl Islands – second jury member, “Survivor: All Stars” – sixth jury member, won $1 million fan favorite vote, and “Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains” – seventh jury member.
Current Residence: Indianapolis, Indiana
Occupation: Mentor for Troubled Teens
Name: Laura Boneham
Relationship to Significant Castaway: Rupert’s Wife
Current Residence: Indianapolis, Indiana
Personal Claim to Fame: Raising a bright, independent, beautiful daughter who is now thirteen years old.
Pet Peeves: Mean people and people being treated unfairly.
Note: Survivors are not permitted to talk or interact before the game begins. So, this interview was the first time Rupert and Laura were allowed to interact in days. Immediately after sitting down, the two embraced and started kissing.
Gordon Holmes: You guys have been married forever and are still smooching like that?
Laura Boneham: They won’t let us sit together. They’re torturing us.
Rupert Boneham: This is my best friend.
Gordon: We spoke at the “Survivor” 10-year reunion a few years ago and I asked you two when Laura was going to be on the show. You were both like, “No, she wouldn’t be into it.”
Gordon: Then I show up here this morning, and look who’s here.
Laura: Here I am!
Gordon: Why would you guys lie to me? That’s messed up.
Rupert: At the time there was no way in heck Laura would have played.
Laura: I’ve changed a lot. I’ve grown with this experience, with the fame. I’ve come into myself.
Rupert: Laura’s a lot stronger now. And, with all the paperwork we’ve ever signed…
Laura: It said, “Family members are not eligible.”
Rupert: Family members will never play. They changed the rules.
Laura: It shocked the (expletive deleted) out of me when they called.
Gordon: There’s never been a season like this. What strategies have you prepared going into the game?
Rupert: You know, we’re the best camping team I know. You might’ve seen me swimming in “Survivor,” Laura’s a better swimmer than I am.
Laura: We’re both care givers, we’re both providers, we’re both protectors. We both love the water, love the ocean. And we’ve dealt with a lot of crap and difficult people.
Rupert: I am way too trusting. I believe everyone.
Laura: I don’t believe anybody.
Rupert and Gordon: (Laughs)
Laura: We’re here for a million bucks. I keep him grounded and remind him of that.
Rupert: It’s already started with this little scenario we’ve got right now. I smile at everybody. I think everybody likes me. And then I realize there’s stuff going on behind my back.
Laura: Of course.
Rupert: And Laura is helping me see that.
Gordon: The fans gave you a million dollars for being likable. That’s going to put a target on your back.
Rupert: It’ll put a giant target on my back, and there’s only a few winners out here. There’s a lot of people that want to win.
Laura: And want the fame.
Rupert: The fame that we never asked for.
Laura: We just want to play a game.
Gordon: What’s your early take on this cast?
Rupert: We are going to be able to dominate them, oh my gosh.
Laura: The first night people went inside when it started raining! It starts pouring down rain…
Rupert: And they run!
Gordon: I was here for that. I ran inside. I curled up in the fetal position under my bed. But I made it through.
Rupert: (Laughs) And that’s very good.
Laura: They’re scared of things moving. One girl had to have the staff come and sweep the ants away from under her chair. There’s going to be discomfort.
Gordon: The game has evolved so much from Pearl Islands, from Heroes vs. Villains, have you been on top of all the changes?
Laura: You can never be prepared for this game.
Rupert: One of the encouraging moments during the meeting yesterday was when they said they want to get back to the basics.
Laura: They want to show the struggle.
Rupert: That’s what we’re ready for.
Laura: Forget the idols, forget bringing back people who’ve already been voted out.
Rupert: If we get an idol it’s going right in our pocket and you’ll never see them again until we need them.
Gordon: “Survivor” is known for its wacky twists. Is there anything you’re anticipating?
Rupert: They’re going to put us together and then rip us apart.
Laura: Of course they’re going to mess with us like that. They’re going to tease us together.
Rupert: It will be very emotional.
Gordon: Were you the family visit all three times?
Rupert: In Pearl Islands Laura spent one night and then went back. I got voted out that night.
Gordon: Laura, it says your pet peeves are mean people and people being treated unfairly. Have you seen “Survivor?”
Laura and Rupert: (Laughs)
Gordon: Are you someone who can see things you hate and keep it inside, or do you have to do something?
Laura: I’m not going to make any huge moves if I don’t have to. I’ll keep it inside and be tolerant.
Gordon: Rupert, this is your fourth time at the dance. Each time you went deep into the game. Do you know how many days total?
Rupert: A hundred days. The only male, there are two females to make it 100 days in three games.
Gordon: Amanda Kimmel and Parvati Shallow.
Rupert: It’s a little different when you can let something flop out and rub it on someone and say, “Please keep me.” And I watched both of them do that.
Gordon: You never tried that move?
Rupert: When Parvati did that to Russell (Hantz) and said, “I love you.”
Rupert: And she stayed.
Laura: She tried it on Rupert too, but it didn’t work.
Gordon: What advice has Rupert given you about surviving the game?
Laura: Lots of what to eat, how to build a shelter. What to look out for.
Rupert: Where to get your greens.
Gordon: What could Rupert have done better during his time out there?
Laura: Not trust people!
Laura: But he made it to the final four playing the way he did.
Rupert: Laura is going to be that strength that says, “Stop believing everything.”
Laura: We’re all here for a million bucks. People lie.
Gordon: It feels like the best case scenario in these pairings is when the returnee’s weakness matches their loved one’s strength.
Laura: We’re the yin and yang, we complement each other so well.
Rupert: We’re coming up on 16 years of marriage and we still love each other like best friends.
Gordon: You look like you’re in better shape than we’ve seen you in the past.
Rupert: I usually go into these around 260, I’m now at 205 and that scares me.
Gordon: Was this an intentional move to make yourself more mobile?
Rupert: Running for Governor will knock the weight off of you. The stress? Lack of food? Lack of sleep? Seven days a week.
Gordon: Like “Survivor.”
Rupert: Right. It’ll knock it off of you.
Gordon: Now, you guys are disgusting because you’re still madly in love after 16 years.
Rupert and Laura: (Laughs)
Rupert: We’re not going to be too huggy/kissy out there.
Laura: We can’t bond too much.
Gordon: Very happy for you. But on the flip side, what is it like when you fight?
Laura: We try not to go to bed angry. We try to resolve it. I yell a lot. He’s very passive.
Laura: I let him have it and he just takes it.
Rupert: We fight. Everybody fights. You’ll see that in the game. We’ll try to tell each other what to do and the other will say, “Shut the hell up.”
Laura: We both try to be the boss.
Gordon: Is there anyone you’re wary of? Anyone you want to align with?
Rupert: I’m always wary of the kids and one of them who is already starting to smile at me is little Kat.
Laura: And we love Tina. We adore Tina.
Rupert: And I feel so bad that on All-Stars I was on the tribe that put her out first. Tyson was involved with the breaking of my foot.
Laura: Not on purpose.
Rupert: I had Boston Rob and Tyson and they’re beating the hell out of me and the next thing you know my foot is broken.
Laura: His girlfriend is not going to make it.
Rupert: His girlfriend is the one that is terrified of…
Laura: Of everything.
Rupert: Gervase I love.
Laura: They both have been very separate.
Rupert: I feel so bad for that girl.
Laura: She looks terrified. I don’t know if she’s his daughter or what.
Gordon: This is the first pairs pre-game “Survivor” interview I’ve ever done. And I’ve gotta tell you, Rupert. You’re gonna want to look out for Laura.
Gordon: She means business. She might be gunning for you.
Laura: Vote out America’s sweetheart?
Rupert: I’ve already told Laura, if she needs to vote me out it’s OK.
Gordon: Did she say the same thing?
Laura: I don’t think there’s a scenario where I’d write his name down unless he was in the finals.
Rupert: I’ll never write Laura’s name down. You can bank on that.
Don’t miss the special 90-minute premiere of “Survivor: Blood vs. Water” on Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET.