If you are an avid fan of the popular reality television game show, Survivor, chances are you are well acquainted with Yul Kwon, the winner of Survivor: Cook Islands. He won the competition in 2006 and became the series’ first Asian-American winner. 

During his time on the show, he received the Hidden Immunity Idol, nicknamed the God Idol, and used it to overcome the numerical disadvantages of his team. He swayed one more member to join his team and made his group the majority voting bloc.

The Hidden Immunity Idol worked a lot in his favor during the game. And it also became helpful for him in real life to find his soul mate and wife, Sophie Tan. 

How Yul Kwon Knew His Wife Was the One

Shortly after his Survivor win, the reality star was set up with Tan by his tribe mate Brad Virata, who was the first jury member during Kwon’s season. 

Kwon, a management consultant, met the product manager of a mortgage bank in December 2006, just before he emerged victorious in the 13th season of the CBS reality show.

On April 12, 2008, he proposed to his then-girlfriend on stage at a concert, to which she said yes. 


A post shared by Yul Kwon (@yulkwon)

According to People, the Survivor winner proposed to Tan at a benefit concert at his alma mater in Palo Alto, California. 

The band, Seriously, played the couple’s special song before Kwon took the stage and got down on bended knees with a platinum, 2.2-karat, cushion-cut diamond ring.

At the time, he told the outlet that he was elated to be engaged and explained that he always thought that the single most important decision in everyone’s life was who they decide to spend it with.

“It seems my strategy of proposing in a public forum, maximizing social pressure, and shocking her into silence … seems to have worked. Now I just need to plan the d before she comes to her senses,” Kwon jokingly admitted.

But for someone who placed so much emphasis on finding the right wife, how did he know the product manager was the one for him?

Yul Kwon with his cast mates from Survivors: Winners at War

Yul Kwon with his cast mates from Survivors: Winners at War. (Source: Twitter)

The reality star shared that he gave her the hidden immunity idol, his most precious prize from the show, as a token of his love. He realized just how much his wife loved him when she understood his gift and did not laugh at his face. 

Fast forward to today, the couple is married with three kids and still going strong.

Yul Kwon on Joining 'Survivors: Winners at War’

Kwon’s wife seems to truly understand his love for the survival show because she was very supportive when he participated in Survivors: Winners at War

In April 2021, Kwon opened up about his decision to participate in the show during his appearance on Freakonomics’ People I (Mostly) Admire podcast with Steve Levitt. 

When asked if Kwon found it difficult to return to the show after a 14-year and 27-season hiatus, he admitted it was. 

“Yeah, it was really hard. I honestly never thought I was going to go back. I thought the chances were basically zero,” said the reality star. 

He added that he never thought he would return in the first place because he had three young kids and had started a new job. But he got the encouragement he needed after talking to his wife “was surprisingly in favor of it.”

Unfortunately, Kwon did not win this time round, but his gameplay and wit impressed everyone.