INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Indiana's own Rupert Boneham is once again trying to outplay, outwit and outlast the competition, in the 27th season of Survivor.
The former Indiana governor candidate isn't in the battle alone this time. His wife Laura is in the Philippines with him as the two fight for the million dollar prize.
Survivor and the 16 year marriage of Laura and Rupert Boneham are forever intertwined, Laura says.
"More than half of our lives now - 10 years," Laura says. "The first time I went out on Survivor was 2003," Rupert said.
After playing the game three times, Rupert got the call again.
"I'm 49 years old I thought no, they're not going to call anymore. Then they called and said, we want you to play again, but we want you to bring a loved one with," he said.
But because of family obligations Laura says she was initially reluctant.
"So I kinda said no at first. And then I'm like wait a minute, this is an opportunity for a two in 20 chance for a million bucks. And the experience. How often do you get a two in 20 chance to win a million dollars?" she questioned.
This year's Survivor will feature family members competing "against" each other in Survivor Blood Vs. Water - a twist they discovered on the island.
"I didn't have to worry at all about writing my wife's name down. But then I also can't protect her," he says.
For Laura, the physical exhaustion wasn't the big problem.
"The social part was actually my challenge, because I'm kind of a quiet farm girl. I've kind of been in Rupert's shadow," she says.
Now, she's competing against him.
"To win the game, I would write Rupert's name down. But no, I have a lifetime alliance with this man. And this is just a game, it's just a piece of our lives," she says.
Rupert says, "If something happens in the game where she does have to write my name down, it would be OK. I've played the game three times, if that will help Laura get further in the game, write my name down."
Rupert says the Philippines weather was very hot and very humid. It was tough, but there were far fewer bugs, which made it a little easier than past seasons.
Laura said she's still getting used to being in the spotlight of TV but has already signed her first autograph.
And when asked which is tougher, Survivor or running for governor, Rupert said Survivor because as a candidate, there is access to indoor plumbing.
The new Survivor season will premiere at 8 p.m. Wednesday on WISH-TV.
A winter storm warning is in effect for most of Central Indiana.
It's very rare that a single person can reach across national, racial, and spiritual borders to bring such hope and healing.
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