Survivor's Rupert: "My Money's Spent!"
by Angel Cohn
In May, Rupert Boneham won America's Tribal Council on Survivor: All-Stars, proving once and for all he's the game show's most popular alum. Since then, the tie-dyed pirate has used his $1 million windfall to fund his charity, Rupert's Kids, which he works on when he's not busy hunting for acting gigs. Here, the jolliest bearded man since Santa Claus sits down with TV Guide Online to catch up.
TV Guide Online: So how'd you spend your summer vacation?
Rupert: My summer — ever since the show I like to call Who Wants to Make Rupert a Millionaire? — was insanely whirlwindy and wonderful. At 40 years old, it is hard to learn new skills, but I love running around the country being me. I couldn't ask for a better career.
TVGO: We've seen tie-dyed T-shirts with your face on them.
Rupert: I have my own line of clothing on Rupertb.com. Right now, I have tank tops and T-shirts. We're talking about getting different stuff — maybe shirts with me as a pirate or maybe even "Rupert for President." I tell people all the time, if you don't like either of the parties, I'm a write-in candidate!
TVGO: Did you spend your $1 million yet?
Rupert: The $1 million was spent in about five checks within the first few weeks of having it. I wrote a check for a tax-free IRA for my daughter's education. Then I wrote a $100,000 check to my Rupert's Kids group, to continue my mentoring. Now, 25 percent of anything I make goes to Rupert's Kids. I am taking care of my mama — I paid her bills off and made it so she doesn't have to struggle. [My wife and I] paid our bills and got a new house. Then we gave the government $500,000. Half! So that's a million.
TVGO: Let's talk about the just-released All-Stars DVD.
Rupert: There are commentaries where you can see what Rob and Amber or Jenna and I were thinking while these episodes were going on. There's also three hours of unseen video on there and more behind-the-scenes of Survivor. My main hope is that they show me bringing home fish caught with my bare hands every day.
TVGO: Have you been fishing since you've been home?
Rupert: [Laughs] They don't really like spear fishing in the States.
TVGO: What do you think of Survivor: Vanuatu?
Rupert: From what I know of it, it is a rough environment, much like Panama, with tropical rainforests and the bugs that just kill you. On this one again, they've separated into guys and girls. It is hard for a group of girls to be together and hard for a group of guys to be together. It makes better dynamics if you have both. So we'll see what happens with the fighting.
TVGO: A little jealous that you're not there?
Rupert: A little? There will be a lot of people watching the TV thinking, "Where is Rupert?" and I'm going to be one of them. Just watching The Amazing Race, I got mad at those people because they got to go play a game and I was watching it on TV. Then I remembered all the things that I got to do, and how lucky I am to be the only one who has ever done two [Survivors] back-to-back. I have to tell myself, "Don't be so greedy. Be happy for those other ones."
TVGO: Do you want to do another reality show?
Rupert: I don't know if I'd want to do any other reality show. I might sit back and wait for Survivor 15 or 16 to come around, when they are ready to do another All-Stars. [By then,] we've got a whole group of new players. The old Survivors have already told me that I'm not going to make it through the first vote-out if I do it again because I already won and took a lot of the thunder away. It used to be that you'd say Survivor and people would think about a lot of different people — now you say Survivor and it's me [who comes to mind]. It's like if you see someone in a tie-dyed tank top, you look to see if it's Rupert.http://www.tvguide.com/news/insider/040927c.asp