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Survivor’s ‘Boston Rob’ Explains Why He Lied to Sandra Diaz-Twine About Joining Season 40 — And Why She’s Still Upset (Exclusive)

Ahead of Survivor: Winners at War, Rob “Boston Rob” Mariano and Sandra Diaz-Twine served as mentors on Survivor: Island of the Idols — staying on an island together for 39 days. However, that doesn’t mean they told each other they were competing on season 40 — which began just 10 days after season 39 wrapped.

“I knew she was going to be on. I’m going to hold my cards close to my chest. I always do,” Rob, 44, told Us Weekly exclusively at the Survivor: Winners at War premiere event on Monday, February 10. “It’s an advantage and that would have helped her!”

Related: 'Survivor' Season 40 Cast Reveal Their Biggest Threats

Following the screening of the premiere episode, the cast and host Jeff Probst participated in a panel discussion and Sandra, 45, explained why she was so upset.

Surviror's Rob Mariano and Sandra Diaz-Twine
Rob Mariano and Sandra Diaz-Twine on “Survivor: Winners at War.” Robert Voets/CBS

“I’m the kind of person where, 99 percent of the time, if you ask me something, I’m going to tell you what it is. I guess I wanted that phone call,” she shared at the event. “Even if it wasn’t, ‘Sandra, let’s align,’ and ‘Hey, I’ll see you know a week or so.’ That was all, I guess. I don’t know why I was so hurt by it. Even right now. Yes, I know Rob, I had never met Amber before. I saw her from the side, I didn’t even recognize her. She gets on the bus as we are getting on the terminal to go to the airport. When Rob told me he wasn’t going, and Amber had no desire to ever play again, that was it. I don’t know why it affected me so much and it still does.”

Related: Get to Know the Cast of 'Survivor: Winners at War'

The Redemption Island winner then explained he comes from the “old school mentality” and felt he was in game mode.

“Sandra is a very accomplished player. She is the only one — up until this season so far from what we have seen — that has won twice. I know that information is power,” he said. “Why am I going to give her information that will possibly hurt my [game]? It wasn’t anything personal and for the record, I called no one, not even Tyson [Apostol]. The only person I had a discussion with about season 40, was my wife [Amber Mariano].”

"Surviror" Season 40 Cast
Robert Voets/CBS

The longtime host, 58, then revealed that ahead of Island of the Idols, Rob told the host he wasn’t planning to tell Sandra he was in for season 40.

Related: Biggest 'Survivor' Controversies Through the Years

“I can see from Sandra’s point of view; it was such an intimate relationship where you truly were producing an element of a show together,” he shared. “I can also say, Sandra, I remember him telling me. Pregame we talked to every player and he goes, ‘I’m not going to tell her.’ I remember saying to him, ‘Man, that’s risky,’ but he would say, ‘I just don’t know yet. I don’t know if its the right thing to do.’ It was a never calculated move against you.”

Rob then told Sandra he loved her, adding that it was just his mindset. She nodded and said, “I appreciate that.”

Survivor: Winners at War premieres on CBS Wednesday, February 12, at 8 p.m. ET.

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