Todd Williamson / Invision/AP 1 / 4
Todd Williamson / Invision/AP 1 / 4


Former "Facts of Life" star Lisa Whelchel has credited her stint on the reality TV show "Survivor: Philippines" with helping her get through the heartbreak of divorce.

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The actress's 24-year marriage to associate pastor Steven Cauble ended earlier this year when the couple's divorce was finalized in March. But Whelchel didn't have time to dwell on the drama -- because she had to fly off to the Philippines days later to compete for the new "Survivor" crown.

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The 49-year-old tells People, "The divorce was final on March 1, and [I] went out to be on 'Survivor' on March 10. Going out to 'Survivor' was helpful for me, to divert my attention and not just dwell on the loss." And it seems her getaway was not short-lived: Whelchel was not the first player voted off the island on Wednesday's premiere episode on Sept. 19, 2012.

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