The longtime 'Survivor' host married the former model in 2011
Probst and Russell met when they were guests at a mutual friend’s Christmas party, and the couple got together shortly after. In December 2011, they made it official with an intimate backyard wedding.
Russell had a modeling career through college and dabbled in acting, which led her to meet Probst. Now the mother of two enjoys spending time with their family and collaborating with her husband on projects.
So who is Jeff Probst’s wife? Here’s everything to know about Lisa Ann Russell and her relationship with the TV personality.
She was previously married to Mark-Paul Gosselaar
Russell got her start in the entertainment industry as a model for Revlon before pivoting to acting in 1992. The following year, she landed a minor role in Saved By The Bell: The College Years, where she met Gosselaar, who played Zack Morris on the original sitcom and its sequel.
Russell and Gosselaar started dating and got married in August 1996. They share two children: Michael, born in 2004, and Ava, welcomed in 2006.
The pair announced their separation in June 2010 after nearly 14 years of marriage, and the former spouses share joint custody of their kids.
“They both remain focused on their family and are jointly committed to their children,” a rep for Gosselaar told PEOPLE at the time.
They met at a Christmas party
In his 2012 interview on Larry King Now, Probst revealed that he met Russell at the annual Christmas party of his friend, creator and producer of Survivor, Mark Burnett.
Noting that Burnett is “eclectic and hangs in weird circles” because of his variety of work, Probst discussed how "crazy" this Christmas party was.
Probst and Russell wed in 2011
After meeting at Burnett's Christmas party, Probst and Russell started dating. The couple made their first public outing in August 2010 at the 62nd Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards.
The award-winning host and former model married on Dec. 5, 2011, in a private ceremony held in Probst’s backyard in L.A.
Before marrying Russell, Probst previously wed therapist Shelly Wright from 1996 to 2001, and he also dated former Survivor contestant Julie Berry from 2004 to 2008.
She’s a mom of two children
Russell and her ex-husband Gosselaar have two kids together, Michael and Ava.
“I always thought I would have this family and this great family unit, because that’s what I came from,” Probst told King in 2012. “And then, one day, I met this woman, and it happened. And she had two kids.”
Probst also spoke kindly about Russell’s previous marriage and Gosselaar.
“They raised these kids with the kind of love that they just see ... us as two more parents,” Probst added, speaking of himself and Gosselaar’s second wife, Catriona McGinn, whom he married in 2012.
Probst revealed that Michael and Ava call him dad now, but before he and Russell married, they played with different names to call him, like “Jeff Dad 2” or “D2." On their wedding day, though, Russell's son called Probst “dad,” and it was a special moment.
They live in Los Angeles
In 2011, the same year Probst and Russell married, they bought a home in L.A. from the estate of Gene Autry. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Monterey-style house was built in 1949 and has two stories spanning about 8,000 square feet. The five-bedroom, seven-bath is surrounded by nearly four acres and sold for $5 million.
Probst admitted to PEOPLE in 2012 that he sometimes felt “guilty” about how spectacular his home was. “Outside is the best part of the house,” he said while showing off the pool.
“This is most definitely the house Survivor built,” he added, saying that he owes Survivor creator Burnett “a giant thank you for putting me in a situation to be able to live in a house like this."
Viewers got a small sneak peek into the home that Probst, Russell and their kids share when he hosted the season finale of Survivor: Winners At War from his garage during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am getting ready for the season finale of #Survivor: Winners at War... from my garage,” Probst wrote on Instagram, posting behind-the-scenes photos.
A couple of days later, he also documented himself breaking down the makeshift set on Instagram, noting that it was “hopefully the last time” they’d have to film the show there.
She vacations in Hawaii with her family often
During the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in 2020, Probst, Russell and their children quarantined in Hawaii, where they were originally on vacation.
He explained that it's their family's go-to spring break trip in March when the kids are off from school and before he goes to Fiji to shoot Survivor. After the CBS reality competition series was canceled for the season, the family decided to stay longer.
“What we thought was gonna be ... let’s just stay another couple days, turned into three and a half months,” Probst said, speaking to the Review Revue podcast in September 2020. “It was ... probably the best three and a half months of my last 20 years.”
Probst, Russell and their kids weren’t alone: two family friends were there with their kids, and they all quarantined together.
“We only saw each other, we had dinners every night, we played tennis in the morning,” he continued. “It was like life had stopped and nothing was happening and then I would call back to L.A. to my friends and they would say, ‘Could you please stop sending photos? It’s not like that here.' ”
She and Probst share a love for reality TV
Probst’s long career as the host of Survivor demonstrates his love of reality TV, but Russell is also a fan. On the Review Revue podcast, Probst revealed that he and Russell enjoy watching shows like HGTV's House Hunter, joking about how couples on the shows have unrealistic expectations.
From 2012 to 2013, Probst hosted his own talk show, The Jeff Probst Show. The hour-long episodes saw him in conversation with celebrity guests, including the likes of Tia Mowry, Hugh Jackman and Jenna Fischer, among others. Russell helped facilitate some of these guests as a credited talent coordinator on the show.
She also appeared as a co-host on a taping of The Jeff Probst Show and she shared a story about celebrating a close friend’s 40th birthday with a group pole dancing lesson, even showing what she learned.
While Russell has yet to appear on Survivor alongside her husband, Probst has an answer for what he would do if they were on the show together. When Survivor: Blood vs. Water, which featured married couples, was airing in 2013, Entertainment Weekly asked Probst what he would do if he and Russell were in the final four.
“We would both be assessing every scenario and we would, I think, probably come to an agreement that either given the jury you will be better at swaying them, or I will be,” he said.
It seems the couple also keeps their relationship alive with a little healthy competition. When asked if he would vote Russell out, Probst said, “It depends on the situation, but absolutely.“
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