Lisa Whelchel and Steve Cauble divorced; 'Survivor: Philippines' helped Whelchel cope

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lisa-whelchel-divorced-steve-cauble-survivor-philippines.jpgIf you were watching Lisa Whelchel on the Wednesday (Sept. 19) premiere of "Survivor: Philippines" and thought perhaps there was some personal stuff going on with her, consider yourself very perceptive. The 49-year-old actress had just finalized her divorce.

People reports that Whelchel and her husband Steve Cauble, whom she married in 1988 when "Facts of Life" wrapped, finalized their divorce on March 1, 2012 and she left to begin filming "Survivor" on March 10.

"Going out to 'Survivor' was helpful for me, to divert my attention and not just dwell on the loss," says Whelchel. "I just never thought it would happen to me. It was painful to realize that it wasn't going to work out."

She also tells us in an interview that going on the show was part of a midlife exploration, so to speak.

"This last fall my youngest went to college I had this wide open, 'Oh wow' -- stereotypical empty nest. 'What do I do with my life?'," says Whelchel. "Last summer I went on a vision quest to answer that question. I wasn't recruited [for 'Survivor'] -- I was going after it."

But Whelchel and her ex-husband, who have three grown children together, remain amicable and even got together with their kids to watch the "Survivor" premiere.

"We will always be friends. And we will always be family, too," says Whelchel.
Photo/Video credit: CBS