Survivor’s Chris Hammons Opens Up About ‘Heartbreaking’ Blindside: ‘My Buddy’ Zeke Smith Voted Me Out

A stab in the back hurts most when it’s a friend holding the knife. Survivor’s latest castoff, Chris Hammons, knows that feeling all too well.

In a bombshell vote during the two-hour Wednesday, November 23, episode, the Gen X–er was sent packing by the remaining 10 castaways. 

The mastermind behind the shocking decision: Millennial Zeke Smith, who Hammons struck up a tight friendship with after discovering he too was a native Oklahoman — and Sooners football fan.

“Right when I saw my name, I knew I was history,” Hammons, 38, tells Us Weekly. “It was terrible. Halfway down the ramp, when I was walking off in the lonely darkness, I realized Zeke did it. That was heartbreaking. Zeke was my buddy.”

The Moore, Oklahoma–based lawyer — who told his tribemates he was a coach — shares more with Us

Chris Hammons and Zeke Smith
Chris Hammons and Zeke Smith Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images; Robert Voets/CBS via Getty Images

Us Weekly: Is there still bad blood between you and Zeke?

Chris Hammons: I wouldn’t say I hold a grudge. But I think it was a mistake for Zeke. He and I could have run the show from there on. We could have gotten Dave [Wright] out. From Dave’s perspective, it made perfect sense. 

Us: How will this blindside affect your jury vote?

CH: I try to detach myself from that. Whoever ends up in the final three, I want to pick the person that is the best regardless of what they did to me. Taking me out is something I would scream and holler at if I was in the final three. I would say, “I took Chris out!” And I understand. I wanted it to be the best player and not some personal matter.

Us: Would you say you were a threat then?

CH: Definitely. I felt like I stuck my neck out a little too far after the merge. But I do take it as a compliment that Dave and Zeke wanted me out because they were two guys playing the game hard. That’s how you have to look at it: They’re going to go after threats.

Us: Why did you lie about being a lawyer? 

CH: In my experience, people don’t like lawyers. But if I were to do it over again, I would not have lied about it. It’s hard to be completely 100 percent yourself when you’re lying about something that you’re so passionate about. It may have hurt me because I held back when I could have connected with people. If I ever get to go on again, everyone will know I’m a lawyer!

Us: Who would you say is the biggest threat in the game?

CH: Dave is the biggest threat. He’s super smart. He’s playing an aggressive, wonderful game, probably one of the better in the history of Survivor. He is seeing the angles.

Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X airs on CBS Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET.

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