<p><span></span><em>Survivor</em> villain Russell Hantz has cried only twice in his life: once seven years ago when his grandfather passed away, and last night, when he became the second contestant to be eliminated from <em>Survivor: Redemption Island</em>. "It's heartbreaking because you give your heart, your soul, your mind, relationships, everything," Russell, 38, tells <em>Life & Style</em>. "Everybody expected so much more from me, and I failed." </p>
Now Russell opens up to Life & Style about his emotional exit breakdown, his regrets and his shocking choice to win!
What went through your mind when you first lost the challenge?
Russell: My crying had nothing to do with being sad to go home. It had everything to do with me letting my fans down. Millions of people wanted me to go far in the game and dominate. When [Survivor host] Jeff [Probst] put his head down and said, "Give me a second," that's what started it. Everybody expected so much more from me, and I failed.
Are you really just a big softie?
Russell: It's heartbreaking because you give your heart, your soul, your mind, relationships, everything. This isn't easy. For my wife, this isn't easy; for my kids, I felt like I let my kids down. They watched the show, turned to my wife and said, "I've never seen Daddy cry before," and they started crying. Because I don't cry. Everybody knows how tough I am. In the real world, I'm tough as nails. The only time I cried in my life was when my grandfather passed away about seven years ago.
<p><strong>Considering how this season played out, can you still call yourself one of the best players in <em>Survivor</em> history?</strong><br />
Russell: I think that I'm one of the best players that ever played the game because you know how you judge a player? By the first time they played. Nobody knows you, and you go out there and you play. Nobody knew me on Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains. So I went to the end twice. The first time Rob [Mariano] played, the very first time, he did not make the jury. You judge somebody on the first time they play, not when they have your playbook.
Speaking of "Boston" Rob, do you guys really hate each other?
Russell: I don't hate-hate Rob. I don't really hate anybody. I think Rob's fake in real life. I don't think he's a legit guy.
Why do you think that?
Russell: Because I've seen him in real life. I know him. I know him outside the game. I got my boys' back to the end. I don't think Rob's like that.
So how does it make you feel watching him in the game now that you're out?
Russell: He's playing great. He's doing a great job. If Rob wins this game, I'll give him all the credit in the world. I'm not bitter. I'm not the bitter jury. The only one who made a huge mistake in this game is Julie. Julie made a million-dollar mistake -- unless she wins. She could easily go to the end, but I don't think she's strategic enough to go to the end and win.
Who do you hope wins it all?
Russell: I hope Rob wins the whole season, because it's how it's supposed to be. I told my tribe that Rob would eat them up and spit them out. I told them if they get rid of me they're in big, big trouble, because he's a professional. He's in full control of his tribe. I mean it's easy to see, anybody can see that. And then I'll give him all the props in the world if he does. This time, he'll shake my hand.
Watch Survivor: Redemption Island Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CBS.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of CBS
Your life just got exponentially better and more stylish now you've signed up for our newsletter. Fabulousness awaits!