Lisa Whelchel went onto Survivor: Philippines hoping to rejuvenate her career that stalled after years on television, but instead her family member says the former Facts of Life star hit rock bottom while on the show.
Going into the show, Whelchel was a self-professed Survivor superfan, telling Yahoo! TV, “I love the game and was born to play it. I never wanted to do reality TV, but this doesn’t feel like reality TV.” But things changed quickly for her, as the stress of the game and isolation reportedly has gotten to Whelchel.
On the most recent episode of Survivor: Philippines, Lisa Whelchel gets a visit from her younger brother, Justice Coleman. But as Yahoo! TV notes, the reunion was not exactly happy.
Justice Coleman explained Lisa Whelchel’s fragile emotional state to People magazine:
“I wasn’t prepared to see her at that level of desperation. It was immediately obvious she had hit rock bottom. I wasn’t expecting her to be at the end of her rope. I almost didn’t recognize her. She looked absolutely ragged: physically and emotionally torn up. I was imagining a big smile on her face, since she was so deep into the game and doing so well, but she started crying so hard. I was legitimately concerned for her.”
Whelchel had already professed to feeling like an outcast on the show, without anyone to trust.
But the problems for Lisa Whelchel go much deeper than her performance on Survivor: Philippines. She revealed in September that she split from her husband of 24 years, Pastor Steven Cauble. Lisa had worked as a Christian author and speaker, and her divorce was a blow to both her personal life and professional career.
On November 13, Lisa Whelchel revealed even more bad news, tweeting:
The list of struggles continued Nov. 13, when Lisa announced via Twitter that she’s battling West Nile virus, which is spread by mosquitoes and causes body aches and fatigue. She tweeted: “Dr. just called with blood test results … I have West Nile. Ugh. I’m fine, just tired. Takes a year to recover.”
Things could still get better for Lisa Whelcher, however. As of the most recent episode of Survivor: Philippines she was in the final six, with only a few weeks separating her from the $1 million prize.