A million dollars and a baby on the way! It has definitely been a good year for Survivor: Second Chance winner Jeremy Collins, who swept the jury votes during the finale on Wednesday, December 16, to become the 31st winner of the long-running CBS reality series.
The firefighter from Foxboro, Massachusetts, tells Us Weekly that he wasn't sure if he would prevail over fellow contestants Spencer and Tasha in the live finale, but he remained optimistic.
"I knew I had a shot," Jeremy says. "I wasn't going to be excited until those votes are read. So let me just go in thinking that I'm OK, but let's just see how it goes."
One person who wasn't exactly counting the million dollars ahead of time was his wife, Val, whose due date for their third child is in two weeks.
Asked whether Val was feeling confident prior to the finale, Jeremy admits, "No, she wasn't! She had no idea what was going on. I told her that I felt pretty good, but Val is an overthinker, so she's like, 'What about this person? Who do you think they voted for?' And I said, 'All right, I'm not telling you anything else — let's just watch it.'"
"She’ll just keep stressing herself out like, 'Do you think we did this?' or 'If we did this …'" he adds. "[And I was like,] 'I don’t know. We’ll find out. We’ll see.'"
Jeremy, who previously competed in Season 29's Survivor: Blood vs. Water, says he had been begging host Jeff Probst to return to the show before he was picked by viewers to join Season 31. But after Second Chance, he's putting his bandana on the shelf.
"This season, the game play was on 10, the weather was horrible, lack of food, going against Joey Amazing [Joe Anglim] every week in reward challenges … I can't do it," he says. "I can’t do it again. And missing my kids — I couldn't do it. I couldn't do it."
The champ says he'll be going back to work despite the windfall, and while he doesn't yet have specific plans for the money, he jokes that he's going to let his wife spend it all. However, he has already decided that he won't be cutting any costs when it comes to picking out Christmas gifts this year for daughters Jordyn and Camryn.
"I just want to splurge on my girls," he says. "My youngest daughter [Camryn], she wants one of the hoverboards, and my oldest [Jordyn] wants a new iPad and beats. I'm just going to splurge, whatever they want!"
Tell Us: Are you surprised that Jeremy won the million dollars?
Survivor returns February 17 on CBS.
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