BY Mereb Gebremariam, Mstars Reporter , Mstarz reporter | Dec 17, 2012 10:14 AM EST
Denise Stapley has won "Survivor Philippines". The 41-year-old therapist from Cedar Rapids, Iowa took home the $1 million prize in the 25th season of "Survivor" becoming the 24th person in the show's history (Sandra Diaz-Twine won twice).
During the live finale, Stapley wasn't the only person who left with a lump sum of cash, contestant Lisa Whelchel also left the show $100,000 richer in the fan voted category of "Player of the Season," beating out Malcolm by less than 1 percent.
The sole survivor didn't have it easy this season in what host Jeff Probst calls "a wild, unpredictable season." Stapley attended every tribal council, which is a first for the show, but was never in real danger of being kicked off the show. Now holding a $1 million check in her name, Stapley plans on investing in her family's future, "I'm going to take my time and breathe, and then make a lot of decisions," she says. "My husband and I are going to sit down and make a lot of decisions. We have a 9-year-old daughter who, first and foremost, needs a college fund that is fully loaded and taken care of. We've got nieces and nephews. I mean $1 million in Iowa could be really life-changing. We just want to take our time."
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