Survivor: Winners at War Just Gave Us All the Best Happy Cry

Survivor: Winners At War just had the best, most emotional loved ones visit in the history of the show

By Lauren Piester Apr 16, 2020 2:21 AMTags
Survivor: Winners at WarCBS

This season of Survivor may have been filmed many months ago, but somehow it's as if they knew we'd be desperately needing an episode like the one we got tonight. 

At some point during every season of the show, each castaway gets to see one family member. They then have to compete for the chance to spend more time with their one family member, which turns out to be devastating for everybody else. This time, however, things were different. 

All of the remaining castaways got to see their entire families, including their children, and then they didn't even have to compete to spend more time with them. Everybody just got to hang out on the beach for a while and be happy together, and it was the happiest we've seen anyone on TV in weeks. 

And that wasn't even all! While everyone on the regular beach was hanging out with their fam, the eliminated castaways on Extinction suddenly saw a boat heading their way. They got to see their families too! If you've been craving a happy cry, here you go! 

Checking In on the 18 Survivor Winners Who Didn't Return for Season 40

Adam even got a moment with his dad, so they could get some closure after the death of Adam's mom. (Adam and his mom had applied to the show together, but she was diagnosed with cancer and never got to compete. She died an hour after Adam got home from filming season 33.) 

Ethan also told his wife he realized he never wanted to spend another day without her, and we're all over here absolutely sobbing. 

But of course the families couldn't stay, and business had to go back to usual after their departure. Tony won individual immunity and two fire tokens, and Jeremy got an idol that could save him from being voted out but without a vote of his own. He and Sarah hilariously both kept trying to talk at the same time, but in the end Jeremy used his advantage and forced the whole group to have to rethink everything and make it very clear who the alliances were. 


Sarah then also used her steal a vote advantage to take Denise's vote, and after the votes were cast, Kim played her own immunity idol for Denise, who got a couple votes but not as many as Tyson got, sending Tyson back to Extinction. 

While the credits rolled, we watched the jury get up to give Jeff a big group hug for letting them see their families, and surprise surprise, we started crying all over again.

One thing the family visits did was remind us how many Survivor alums are now married to each other (hey, Parvati and John), so scroll down to see who's still together (and who isn't).

Michele Fitzgerald & Dean Kowalski

They dated! Despite competing on different seasons, the pair turned their friendship into something more during quarantine. "Summer lovin'," Dean shared on Instagram back in August 2020. The couple would ultimately part ways before Michele appeared on MTV's The Challenge.

Jaclyn Schultz & Jon Misch

After competing on Survivor: San Juan del Sur, the couple said "I Do" in August 2015 near Detroit. In September 2020, the couple announced they were pregnant through IVF. 

Parvati Shallow and John Fincher

Parvati Shallow, a fan-favorite from multiple iterations of Survivor and the Sole Survivor of Fans vs. Favorites, started dating John Fincher of Survivor: Samoa in 2014. They married in 2017 and welcomed a daughter in 2018, with Parvati returning to compete in Winners at War just months after giving birth. In August 2021, the couple would file for divorce. 

Joe Anglim & Sierra Dawn Thomas

These two Survivor lovebirds met in 2014 during Worlds Apart. Although they didn't start dating immediately after the show, they became a couple a few years later and announced their engagement on April 9, 2019. Just before Thanksgiving 2019, the couple said "I Do" in a magical Utah wedding ceremony.

In 2022, the couple is expecting their second child. 

Elizabeth Beisel & Jack Nichting

One day after reuniting for Survivor season 39's finale, the two contestants confirmed on Instagram that they were dating. "WOAH. Did you guys hear the news?" Elizabeth wrote on Instagram. "I've got a curly haired boyfriend named Jack and he is simply the most wonderful human being I know. And yes, we share hair products."

Jenna Bowman and Sebastian Noel

These Survivor: Ghost Island contestants are so intertwined they started a vlog and a couples Instagram account: Tarzan and Jen.

Whitney Duncan and Keith Tollefson

This pair from 2011's Survivor: South Pacific had almost instant sparks. Their relationship took them on The Amazing Race together, and they wed in 2014.

Alec Merlino & Kara Kay

After competing on Season 37 or Survivor: David vs. Goliah, the two contestants formed a romantic relationship in San Diego, Calif. "We shared so much chemistry and friendship on the island," Kara explained to E! News. "And then we got home and we both knew." Unfortunately, the pair privately split with Alec telling Entertainment Weekly in 2021 that it was "the most normal and amicable breakup." 

Wendell Holland & Michele Fitzergald

The two winners off-camera romance was revealed during an episode of Survivor: Winners at War when the tribe swap resulted in the exes being placed on the same tribe. 

"How the heck did I get stuck stranded on an island with my ex-boyfriend? [Laughs.] Wendell and I dated briefly which is a saga in itself," Michele revealed in the Mar. 11 episode after a tribe swap went down. "Even though our relationship didn't necessarily work out, I'm hoping this can work a little better than our dating."

Rob Mariano and Amber Brkich

Oh, Boston Rob and Amber. These two took showmance to the next level. They met in 2003 while on Survivor: All-Stars, got engaged in 2004, and had a TV wedding in 2005. They competed on The Amazing Race in season seven and returned for The Amazing Race: All-Stars in 2007. They have four daughters together and both returned for another shot at winning the title of Sole Survivor for season 40. 

Tyson Apostol and Rachel Foulger

After competing on Survivor: Blood vs. Water together, which Apostol won, the couple got married 2015 after getting engaged on the finale of Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars' second season.

They've since welcomed two daughters and Tyson most recently competed on Winners at War.

Mary Sartain and Ryan Opray

The couple were introduced by Johnny Fairplay and were engaged, but the relationship didn't last.

Jeff Probst and Julie Berry

After production on Survivor: Vanuatu wrapped, Probst, the longtime host of the CBS series, reached out to Berry. The two started dating, but kept the relationship a secret until after Berry's season aired. They were together for a few years, but eventually split.

Spencer Duhm and Todd Herzog

Todd Herzog, the winner of Survivor: China, met Survivor: Tocantins contestant Spencer Duhm in 2009. The couple eventually split, and Todd later appeared on Dr. Phil for an intervention with his alcohol addiction.

Stephen Fishbach and Courtney Yates

Courtney Yates of Survivor: China and Stephen Fishbach of Survivor: Tocantins never competed on the series together, but met in 2009 and struck up a romantic relationship, but it didn't last. Stephen got married in 2018.

Ethan Zohn and Jenna Morasca

These two Survivor winners met during the finale of Survivor: The Amazon. They started dating in 2003 and were together for 10 years, even appearing on The Amazing Race.

"It is with much consideration and a heavy heart that we are announcing that after 10 years of a loving relationship, the decision was made to move on without each other," a rep for the couple told E! News in 2013. "We will carry with us the memories of a relationship grounded in love, laughter, support and friendship."

"We have experienced some of life's greatest joys and toughest challenges together, and our decision to be apart can never diminish that. We want to thank everyone for their support and we ask that our privacy be respected as we move forward." Ethan is now married and is one of the 20 winners back for season 40.

Erik Huffman and Jaime Dugan-Huffman

The Survivor: China contestants met on the show in 2007 during the competition. They married two years later and have since welcomed a son. 

Alex Bell and Kim Powers

Alex Bell, from Survivor: The Amazon, and Kim Powers, from Survivor: Africa, met through the show and got married in 2006.

David Murphy and Carolina Eastwood

Carolina Eastwood, a Survivor: Tocantins contestant, and David Murphy, a Survivor: Redemption Island contestant, got engaged on TV during the Redemption Island reunion. However, the marriage didn't happen and they later split.

Ozzy Lusth and Amanda Kimmel

Lusth and Kimmel met on Survivor season 16, Survivor: Micronesia, where a showmance quickly developed. They continued dating after cameras stopped rolling, but eventually split.

Survivor: Winners at War airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CBS.