On “Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X,” castaway Bret LaBelle came out publicly as gay for the very first time. Find out how it affected him and how he was received after the episode aired, plus what he’s been up to since appearing on “Survivor” — it might be the best post-“Survivor” life we have heard of so far.
LaBelle Said Coming Out Is His Proudest ‘Survivor’ Moment
In a recent interview with “Entertainment Weekly,” LaBelle said that coming out to Zeke Smith on “Millennials vs. Gen X” was such a proud moment for him and that it lifted such a weight off his shoulders.
“[Coming out] was a long time coming. I had an internal struggle with myself with coming out and being gay for years,” said LaBelle. “When I mentioned it on the show, it was like a huge weight off my shoulders, and I found that it really helped me in my personal life going forward. The support I received from family, friends, and co-workers was amazing. I wish I had come out sooner.”
He also praised CBS for waiting to reveal that he was gay until late in the season because it let everyone get to know him for himself first.
“I definitely loved that [the editors] waited to spring on everyone that I was gay till the end of the season,” said LaBelle. “It gave everyone time to judge me and make their own conclusions on who I was long before they knew my entire story. It’s a great old lesson that we should ALL learn again today: Don’t judge a book by its cover.”
Fellow “Survivor” castaway Smith has shared similar sentiments about being outed on the show — Smith didnt choose to come out as transgender, he was outed at Tribal Council by Jeff Varner. But he said on an episode of “For Real: The Story of Reality TV” that he was very happy with the way “Survivor” handled that episode.
“The day after I got voted out, I was on the phone with Jeff Probst and he made a handful of promises to me about how my outing was going to be handled,” said Smith. “He was like, ‘We’re not gonna promote it, we’re not gonna sensationalize it, I’m gonna go to bat for you.’ He kept every single one of those promises.”
LaBelle’s Post-‘Survivor’ Life is Kind of Amazing
LaBelle also revealed that after the “Millennials vs. Gen X” finale aired, he traveled to Australia and then Hawaii — and he never left.
“[Hawaii] tuned out to be my last stop as I have never left. I loved the beaches, the weather, and the ambiance of this beautiful place,” said LaBelle. But it probably doesn’t hurt that that is also where he met the love of life.
“It was here in Hanauma bay, while sipping on my fourth Mai Tai under my favorite mangrove tree, where I met the love of my life, Wolfgang Johan — a German surfer from Otterndorf, Germany who had recently relocated to Oahu. Our days were filled with beaches, food, surfing, and drinking. We made our home in an ancient Hawaiian hut called an Hale Noho. Life was good,” said LaBelle.
He competed on “The Amazing Race” with fellow “Survivor” castaway Chris Hammons, but other than that, he mostly just chills in Hawaii and does his podcast with his friend Larry called “In the Drunk Tank.”
LaBelle is also involved with charitable organization Hearts of Reality and through that, he has met a lot of other “Survivor” alums and other reality stars. He and fellow “Amazing Race” contestant Leo Temory recently attended the wedding of their “Amazing Race” castmates and “Big Brother” alums Nicole Franzel and Victor Arroyo in Florida.
“Survivor” is back in production now. If the pattern holds, it should be premiering its 41st season the third or fourth week of September 2021.
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