Jeff Probst has become an undeniable fixture of reality TV since first hosting ‘Survivor’ in 2000, but who is his wife? Here’s what we know about Jeff’s partner, Lisa Ann Russell.
Jeff Probst has become a household name for reality TV, having hosted the hit show Survivor since its inception in 2000. The 59-year-old has become incredibly well-known since his arrival — and long-term stay! — on our small screens, but there’s one thing fans may not know too well about him: his personal life.
Below we take a closer look at his relationship with wife Lisa Ann Russell, 49, and see how the two have established a 10-years-and-counting marriage with a happy blended family to boot.
Lisa is a former model
According to Distractify, Lisa was born in Illinois and has a bit of a background in showbiz herself. The 49-year-old began modeling for Revelon at a young age before branching out into acting, taking small parts in Twisted Love (1995) and Sinbad: The Battle of the Dark Knights (1998). The actress also had a guest spot on Saved by the Bell: The College Years and even appeared on her hubby Jeff’s talk show in 2013.
Jeff and Lisa got married in 2011 in a private LA ceremony
Although Jeff has been in the Survivor spotlight for quite some time, he doesn’t like to have his personal life on display too much, marrying his now-wife Lisa in a private ceremony on Dec. 5, 2011, PEOPLE reported. According to the outlet, Jeff and Lisa married in an “intimate ceremony” at a “private Los Angeles residence” surrounded only by family and friends for the occasion.
In a few old clips from the Larry King Now show, Jeff revealed to the host, the late Larry King, about how he met Lisa at Survivor producer Mark Burnett‘s annual Christmas party.
She used to be married to Mark-Paul Gosselaar
Lisa and Jeff’s marriage was the second for both of them, as Jeff was first married to psychotherapist Shelly Wright from 1996 to 2001 and Lisa was wed to Mark-Paul Gosselaar from 1996 to 2010. Mark, of Saved by the Bell fame, shares two children with Lisa, Michael Charles, born in 2004, and Ava Lorenn, born in 2006.
Jeff became a loving step dad to Lisa’s two kids
Since marrying in 2011, Jeff became the stepfather to Lisa’s children, Michael and Ava, whom she shared with Mark-Paul. While talking with Larry King for his Hulu show in 2012, Jeff shared how he and Lisa split custody with Mark-Paul and how the children truly became like his own. “[Lisa and Mark-Paul] were together almost 20 years. They had a long marriage and they raised these two young kids,” Jeff explained. “They raised them with the kind of love that the kids they see me — and [Mark-Paul’s] now remarried, his wife [Catriona McGinn] … they just see us as two more parents.”
The TV show host went on to proclaim that he didn’t see Michael and Ava as “step kids,” but as his own children. He also told Rachel Ray while appearing on her talk show that they were a “blended family” and definitely got along as a loving family unit. “I think of them as mine, which is crazy, but then they have this other family … but I always have to remember they have a dad,” Jeff told the talk show host, via Men’s Health.
She wanted him to quit ‘Survivor’
Although Jeff has been a mainstay of the long-running series since it first began, Lisa apparently nudged her husband toward walking away from the program. According to a 2017 article from Radar Online, the mother-of-two was hoping her beau would finally walk away from the series. “Jeff loves his crazy job and the very peaceful home life he goes home to when he’s not shooting, but his wife, Lisa, wants him home permanently,” a source shared with the outlet. “Now that her kids are teenagers, Lisa needs his help more than ever. She says the family doesn’t need the Survivor money and that they’re completely set for life.”
Despite Lisa’s alleged hints at wanting her husband to get off the Survivor island, Jeff is still seemingly full steam ahead, telling Parade in a recent article that the show’s new formular has bred “a faster, more dangerous and much more intense game.”