“Temptation Island” is a reality-television series in which couples go through a journey of rediscovering if they are truly meant to be together forever. It was the ultimate test for each pair to survive a vacation with other single men and women who are ready to mingle. The experimental dating show premiered in 2001 on FOX Network, and was discontinued in 2003. It was then rebooted by USA Network in 2019 and had three more seasons under its belt. Some couples survived the onslaught of temptations, but some of them left the island heartbroken.

The original “Temptation Island”: history and success rate

All of the seasons from the original and the rebooted version were presented by veteran talk show host Mark Lewis Walberg.

A bit of history about the show

In 2001, when FOX Network announced that they were launching a new dating show called “Temptation Island,” the viewers thought that it was just an ordinary match-making show with singles trying to find their soulmates.

However, the creators of the show gave it a new twist; they clarified that the participating couples were those who were at the crossroads of their relationships. It piqued the curiosity of the viewers to see how couples who professed to be in love with each other acted when confronted with temptations. The concept was quite controversial back then, and the network was hoping it would help push their ratings through the roof. Over three seasons, they aired close to 30 episodes, including the specials.

First Season – Ambergris Caye, Belize (10 January 2001 to 28 February 2001)

During the first season, four couples who featured were Billy Cleary and Mandy Lauderdale from Atlanta, Kaya Wittenburg and Valerie Penso from Miami Beach, Andy Lukei and Shannon Roghair from Malibu, and Taheed Watson and Ytossie Patterson from Los Angeles; one of the couples was sent home when the producers discovered that they already had a child. It was never the objective of the TV show to break up a family, and it could happen if they continued participating in the show.

They were clear with their rules that couples with children should be disqualified.

The success rate was high, since the Malibu couple were engaged after the final bonfire episode, and their wedding was featured during a special reunion episode. They left the island still together and continued dating off-camera. The Atlanta couple may have left the island together, but it was revealed that they broke up during the reunion special.

Season Two in Costa Rica (31 October 2001 to 14 February 2002)

There were 16 million viewers who followed the first season, so the network executives renewed it for a second season, and added four more episodes because the show featured five couples instead of just four. They replaced a couple who decided to leave the show in the middle of the season, because they realized they no longer wanted to be part of the game. At the end of the season, only one couple was still together, and they were engaged; the other three couples ended their relationships.

Season Three in Honduras (28 August 2003 to 29 September 2003)

As season two wasn’t able to replicate the first season’s ratings, the FOX network waited for almost two years before they greenlighted the third season. Out of the entire participating couples in this season, only one left “Temptation Island” together; the rest broke up before the season ended. They made some adjustments to attract more viewers, but it didn’t work as the show delivered poor ratings. The network executives never ordered another season.

The Rebooted “Temptation Island” in 2019

The “Temptation Island” creators found a second home in USA Network, and the executives of the TV network greenlighted a reboot of the TV show in 2019. The producers felt that it was the right time for the show to be offered again to the viewers, because dating and matchmaking shows had become one of the most popular topics in the reality-TV genre at that time.

The premise of the show

The concept stayed basically the same as the original show.

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Each season, four couples were whisked off from their homes to a paradise island to mingle with 24 beautiful single men and women looking for love. Each of them agreed to date other people, because their ultimate goal was to find out if they were supposed to be together or not.

The host offered the first toast to the four couples as they arrived in their temporary villa, Mark said, ‘Here’s to you finding the answers you were seeking to the questions that you were asking.’ For about 10 episodes, the couples were separated and were asked to date who they wanted from the roster of singletons in the villa. They got to choose their partners, decide on who to continuously date, and whom to get intimate with. During the final bonfire episode, the couple had three options on what to do. First, they could leave the island together, second, they could leave separately, and third, each of them could leave with another person whom they dated on the show.

Three seasons so far (2019 – present)

One of the changes they made in the show was that each season was comprised of 12 episodes. To avoid confusion between the two versions of “Temptation Island,” the original version was no longer accessible on any cable network. USA Network referred to the first season of the rebooted version as Season 1 instead of Season 4. Technically, the TV show had six seasons under its belt, but the marketing strategy of the creators of presenting it as a brand new show worked efficiently.

The rebooted version made its television debut on 15 January 2019, and gained a considerable number of viewers so it was renewed for two more seasons. All three seasons were filmed in the beautiful tropical islands of Hawaii. Out of the 12 couples who participated, only five of them managed to stay together after they left the island. While most reality TV shows relied on scripted moments to create controversies, “Temptation Island” didn’t need to resort to this.

The concept and the process of how they filmed it created enough drama, that even the cast members wouldn’t be able to forget their experiences on the island. Everything about it was emotionally charged, and for this reason a fourth season was ordered, which started airing in March 2022.

The Temptation Island (2019) couples who are still together

Most of the viewers agree that “Temptation Island” had a beautiful yet brutal concept. It was the best way to help a couple decide if they would take the next step, or break up and date other people. However, in a normal situation, it was rare for a regular couple to be surrounded by beautiful men and women who would willingly pursue them. Here’s a list of the couples who survived the temptations on the island, and went home with a stronger bond as a couple:

Javen Butler and Shari Ligons (Season 1)

Based on the online reaction after the first season ended, most fans were ecstatic when Javen Butler and Shari Ligons decided to leave the island together during the final bonfire episode.

Their ultimate goal when they joined the show was for him to prove his loyalty to her. Apparently, there was some cheating on his part when they were still in their teens, and they both needed to work on their trust issues. They survived the island with the knowledge that they could survive anything back in the real world – Javen proposed to Shari and she accepted.

Everything seemed back to normal between the two, until a controversial revelation by one of the other cast members in the show that he allegedly hooked up with Shari, but it wasn’t aired on TV. Based on the couple’s individual Instagram posts, it shook the relationship, but fans believed that they are still together working it out, because there was no announcement or indication that they had officially broken up.

Karl Collins and Nicole Tutewohl (Season 1)

During the final bonfire episode in Season One of “Temptation Island,” Nicole Tutewohl decided to leave the island alone after she figured she needed time to focus on herself; Karl Collins was heartbroken, but accepted her decision.

Fans were surprised that after a year, they learned from their Instagram accounts that the two had reconciled and became a couple once again. They revealed that they often communicated even after they broke up, eventually realizing that they couldn’t live without each other, so they moved back together into one house. Most of their social media posts were their dates or things they did together. They went on a ski trip in Colorado in March 2020 with some of their former “Temptation Island” cast members. They also bought a dog named Kobe to complete their family.

However, after spending quarantine time with each other, there were hints on their Instagram that they were single again.  There was no official break-up post, but by September 2021, Karl shared on his IG account that he was single again, and was applying for the new season of “The Bachelor.” Nicole never commented on it or even acknowledged it. The fans were confused about their real situation since he always reaffirmed thru his social media posts that he was the dog’s Dad, although the dog was always with Nicole on her posts.

Some of them believed that the declaration of being single was just his ticket to enter a new reality-TV show.

Chelsea Orcutt and Thomas Gipson (Season 3)

Both Chelsea Orcutt and Thomas Gipson made clear rules before they started filming the third season of “Temptation Island.” However, being stuck on an island with other gorgeous men and women was quite hard; they struggled, and both stepped beyond the boundaries that they both agreed upon. Since each of them was shown clips of what the other did on the island, they would often retaliate by doing the same thing. For instance, when Thomas flirted with another woman, Chelsea would share a kiss with another man. When he learned about it, he also decided to kiss his chosen partner in the show.

At that time, the fans expected them to leave separately by the final bonfire episode, but they surprised everyone by choosing to leave together. They said it was a learning experience for both of them, but they loved each other more to continuously work on their trust issues.

Even when the reunion special was aired, the couple was still together. Chelsea cleared what really happened on the island – she claimed that the TV producers were constantly telling them that they didn’t have enough content, and that they needed to do something more intriguing. It didn’t help that the production crew never showed the full clips, especially those moments when their partners were struggling after doing something they shouldn’t have done.  She made those revelations about the show to quell numerous hate comments that they received after the season was aired.

Erin Smith and Corey Sobczyk (Season 3)

It wasn’t an easy journey for Corey Sobczyk and Erin Smith after they participated in “Temptation Island.” They shared that they joined the show to confront the insecurities that had hounded them. He said that he was quite insecure, because most of her former boyfriends were all professional athletes. Erin, on the other hand, wasn’t quite sure that he was the man she wanted to be with forever.

They did love each other, as shown when they decided to leave the island together. They were happy that they survived the onslaught of temptations that were offered on the island.

However, by the time they were invited to the reunion special, they’d already called it quits. The fans were sad because they thought they were one of the strongest couples to ever participate in the show. However, the couple surprised everyone again, because they reconciled soon after the special was aired on TV. Some fans commented that seeing each other again probably triggered something inside them, and they decided to give the relationship another try. They posted their reconciliation on their respective social media accounts, sharing the love that they found again. Apparently, one of the issues that they had a problem with was that Corey lied to Erin about one overnight date that happened in the show, and she found out the truth.

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However, they patched things up and he posted on his Instagram, ‘The show may have ended but the journey continues.’

Kristen Ramos and Julian Allen (Season 3)

Out of all the couples in the experimental dating show “Temptation Island,” it was the story of the third season participants, Julian Allen and Kristen Ramos, which most fans fell in love with. They had quite a long history together as boyfriend and girlfriend, because they’d been together for 11 years before joining the show. They’d dated since they were both 15 years old, and during that decade-long relationship, they were confronted with two cheating instances that almost caused them to break up permanently.  They were at the crossroad, and couldn’t figure out if they wanted to take the next step.

They both knew that joining the show would either break them, or make them stronger. True enough, they met a few challenges on the island, but to the delight of the fans of the show, they both survived it and left together.

The fans believed that their openness about the possibility of not making it together helped them to resolve their issues. Unlike other couples who jumped from one possible partner to another, Julian resisted the temptations, but didn’t hide from Kristen everything that he felt during the show. Kristen used the show to talk to the other men to help her figure out her own issues. During the reunion special, the viewers were ecstatic when it was revealed that the couple was officially engaged, and that they had already chosen the wedding date. Many fans believed that if only the other participating couples took the process offered in the “Temptation Island” seriously, they might also have the ending that they wanted.

All the couples started out quite confident that they could handle whatever challenges the show would throw at them. However, along the journey, they started to question if it was the right decision to participate in the program, because some of them couldn’t resist the temptation of enjoying the company of others. Some of them even confessed that the show got the better of them, and they turned into monsters. Mark L. Walberg was definitely right when he told the couples during the first season that they didn’t know what they signed up for. It wasn’t really a bad thing for them, since they all admitted before coming to the show that they were at a certain crossroads in their relationships. They may not like the result, but they willingly participated in the program to confront the issue between them, and to help them decide their future.

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