Iowa sex therapist and Survivor contestant Denise Stapley, 41, proved that she has what it takes to brave the elements when she beat out returning player Michael Skupin and former Facts of Life star, Lisa Whelchel, to take home the top prize of $1 million on Sunday night's season 25 finale of Survivor, Survivor: Philippines.

Stapley was announced Sole Survivor after Malcolm Freberg, the steaming mad fourth-place finalist was eliminated. A "jury" of Stapley's peers voted her the winner and recipient of the Survivor prize money with a near-unanimous 6-1-1 vote, the single dissenters being her competitors, Skupin and Whelchel.

"In Iowa, you can do a lot with this," Stapley said, calling the money "life changing." While Whelchel, who contracted the West Nile Virus in April after the competition was over, didn't win the top prize, she didn't leave the show empty-handed. Fans voted her Sprint's Player of the Season — a title that comes with a $100,000 award.

Survivor returns to ABC in February 2013.

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  • tvsnoob4life
    tvsnoob4life on

    I am so proud of Denise, a 41 year old woman, was able to secure the most difficult victory in Survivor history! Nobody else has been to every tribal council, and she was able to survive them all. I was talking to a coworker at DISH about the results who thought that Malcolm should have won, but there are no guarantees in Survivor. I missed the show when it aired last week, but thankfully my DISH Hopper recorded it with PrimeTime Anytime. I love how it records everything on during primetime on the four major networks and saves it for a week, so I never miss anything. I am really glad that I caught it because I thought that either Lisa or Malcolm would have won depending on who got to the final vote.

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