updated 11/12/2013 AT 6:20 PM ET
•originally published 11/13/2013 AT 11:45 AM ET
But it fell apart two minutes into the game. Laura, 44, was immediately voted out of her tribe. Rupert chose to take her place on Redemption Island. After losing the first challenge, he finished the game in last place.
Laura managed to last longer than anyone expected, until she was blindsided by her tribe, sent to Redemption Island on Day 18, and left for good the next day. She talks to PEOPLE about her game – and emerging from her husband’s shadow.
Okay, I’ve got to ask. When you were voted off, what was Rupert’s reaction in Loser’s Lodge?
Oh, we cried! We both did! It’s an emotional game.
You were actually voted off within two minutes of the game starting. What did you think?
I took it very personally. I was like, “Are you freaking kidding me?” I knew I was a very strong competitor, but I knew they were trying to weaken Rupert’s game.
Were you surprised that Rupert took your place?
Absolutely not. He always wanted me to play Survivor. I had stepped out of my comfort zone to play. And taking my place was a gift he could give me.
And do you think of it as a gift?
Oh, absolutely. Survivor is Rupert’s thing; that’s what he’s known for. But it was nice to actually play the game and step out of his shadow for a little bit. I’m really grateful for the experience.