Survivor is a game of strategy that relies on one’s ability to outwit, outplay, and outlast the competition. From surviving the elements to physical challenges, the game is tough. All of these obstacles are just a little easier if you have a friend to help along the way! Whether these players paired up on day 1 or bonded later in the game, Survivor has many unforgettable duos.
So, here is the scoop on the top 10 iconic Survivor duos!
There are spoilers ahead!
10. Ian and Tom
On Survivor: Palau, Ian and Tom formed a very strong bond early in the season. Often making their decisions together, they set the tone for the season. While they promised to go to the end with each other, Ian told Katie the same thing. So, at the final immunity challenge, Ian faced an emotional decision. After 12 hours competing in the challenge, Ian forfeit on the condition that Tom took Katie to the final two, where Tom ultimately won the season.
9. Natalie and Jeremy
Playing on a season with your loved one sounds great, until your loved one is voted out. Both Natalie and Jeremy lost their loved ones very early in the season, so naturally they bonded together. Unfortunately, these two did not get to the end of the game together as Jeremy was voted out shortly after the merge.
Proving herself to be one tough Survivor player, Natalie patiently waited for the right moment to avenge Jeremy’s elimination. Natalie organized eliminating Jon, as payback for him eliminating Jeremy. It’s Jeremy’s elimination that motivated Natalie to make the bold moves that eventually won her the title of Sole Survivor.
When these two returned to play in Winners at War, the reputation of their strong bond preceded them and Natalie was voted off first, so the other players could avoid fighting against another Natalie and Jeremy alliance.
8. Parvati and Amanda
In Survivor: Micronesia, Parvati and Amanda teamed up and reigned as powerful members of the infamous Black Widow Brigade. Returning to the game to play for a second time, these two ladies quickly aligned with each other, as well as James and Ozzy. These four player were very close, but eventually Parvati and Amanda moved on to form the Black Widow Brigade alliance with Natalie, Cirie, and Alexis. Together these powerful ladies voted off the remaining men.
While Amanda is remembered as a sweet player from Survivor: China, her partnership with Parvati in one of the most notorious alliances in Survivor history proves her strength. These ladies remained loyal to each other and made it to the final two together, where Parvati ultimately won the season.
7. Sandra and Courtney
In Survivor Heroes vs. Villains Sandra and Courtney give fans lots of comedic relief. Their senses of humor and dislike for the other members of the Villains tribe provide hilarious moments throughout the season and fans love these two together!
While they did not finish the game together, Sandra made moves to keep Courtney as long as possible. Sandra herself, went on to win the season and become the first ever two-time winner!
6. Domenick and Wendell
Wendell and Domenick are arguably one of the strongest pairs on this list. Forming an alliance early on Survivor: Ghost Island, these two recognized each other as competition, but rather than play as rivals they used their combined strengths to get to the final three.
At the final tribal, Jeff read the votes immediately, revealing a 5-5 tie between Domenick and Wendell. The deciding vote then went to the third place finalist, Laurel, who gave Wendell the title of Sole Survivor.
5. Denise and Malcom
Denise and Malcom from Survivor: Philippines are another unlikely pair. However, their less than ideal Survivor situation resulted in a very strong bond. Their personalities mesh well together, and these two survived the downfall of the Matsing tribe. Down to only Malcom and Denise, the tribe was dissolved and they were separated, but survived the game long enough to reunite after the merge.
Together, they formed a friendship, survived one of the worst tribes in Survivor history and made progress in the game. While Malcom placed 4th overall, Denise won the season.
4. Richard and Rudy
Richard and Rudy are the original Survivor dynamic duo! Their relationship was slow at the start, but they developed a friendship and mutual respect for one another. In Survivor: Borneo America met Rudy, an older Navy SEAL with a no-nonsense attitude, and Richard a younger gay man with a more devious personality. While these two were expected to be at odds with one another, one of the show’s most legendary friendships was born.
The unique friendship between Richard and Rudy gave viewers some of Survivor’s most authentic and sweet moments. For example, Rudy complimenting Richard by saying, “He’s fat, but he’s good.”
Rudy passed away in 2019, and Richard Hatch fondly remembers his friend in a YouTube video “The passing of my friend Rudy Boesch.”
Hatch highlights the significance of their friendship and it’s impact on Survivor saying,
“We helped people see that you need not be enemies because you’re different. You need not be at each other’s throats because you think differently, or hold different beliefs, or have different sexual orientations, or are just different people. And I think that was a big, big lesson that Rudy was able to help the world understand.”Richard Hatch
3. J.T. and Stephen
In Survivor: Tocantins, J.T. and Stephen formed a strong bond early on. Even though their tribe was in the minority going into the merge, these two recognized cracks in the majority alliance and worked together to secure themselves safety in the game. This unlikely friendship between a country boy and a city boy is undeniably charming.
Watching J.T. and Stephen’s friendship grow throughout the season and seeing them share the much-anticipated breakfast at the end is a very satisfying conclusion. These two are loyal to one another from start to finish, making it to the final two together where J.T. ultimately wins.
2. Rob and Amber
Up next is the ultimate Survivor power couple, Rob and Amber! These two met and fell in love on Survivor. They even got engaged at the finale! Their early bond in Survivor: All Stars secured them powerful positions throughout the season. This pair’s balance of strategy and social gameplay allowed them to get to the end together. However many of Rob’s decisions in the game angered other players, so when the final votes were cast Amber won the season.
Watching it back, their bond is undeniable and it is exciting for fans to watch these two return for Winners at War. From their first date on All Stars watching a movie on a challenge reward, to playing together again for the 40th season, Rob and Amber’s beautiful love story is one for the books! Thanks to Survivor, they have each won a million dollars and more importantly started a family.
1. Sarah and Tony
After Winners at War, there is no denying that Sarah and Tony aka “CopsRus” are the ultimate dream team! Their partnership includes a three-season journey from enemies to ride-or-die partners. Initially meeting in Survivor: Cagayan, Sarah asked Tony if he was a cop and he denied it. Eventually he revealed the truth and they called themselves CopsRus. However, these two did not trust each other their first season, and Sarah was eliminated when Tony blindsided her. Still, Tony’s gameplay won him Sarah’s respect and her jury vote, and he became the Sole Survivor.
In Survivor: Game Changers, both Tony and Sarah return but Tony’s aggressive gameplay starting the season got him voted out early so they did not play together. Sarah’s strategy was much more cunning compared to her strategy in Cagayan, and she won the season.
So finally, in their third season Survivor: Winners at War, Tony and Sarah revive CopsRus and play together. Together they dominate the season and their journey came to an end in perhaps the most emotion fire-making challenge ever. Tony’s fire wins him a spot in the final three and he and Sarah exchange a tearful hug. Tony then wins the season becoming what some will say is the best Survivor player of all time.
Who are some of your favorite iconic Survivor duos? There are of course some honorable mentions of other iconic pairs like:
- Colby and Tina from The Australian Outback
- Tyson and Gervase from Blood vs. Water
- Christian and Gabby from David vs. Goliath
- Becky & Yul from Cook Islands
- David and Ken from Milennials vs. Gen X
- Elisabeth and Roger from The Australian Outback
- Cirie and Michaela from Game Changers