Shaun told TV Week he simply felt “much more at home” as part of the Contenders’ tribe.
The thought of being a “Champion” — alongside the likes of Brownlow Medallist Simon Black — made him feel “uncomfortable”, he added.
“I think it was the lack of success that put me on the contenders tribe,” the 31-year-old told 10 Daily. “I’m not a champion, although I had a really great time and I’m very grateful for having 12 years in the AFL.”
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Hampson is a former Australian rules footballer who played 98 games across a 12-year career with the Carlton and Richmond Football Club.
He played 35 games for Richmond and 63 for Carlton, and retired in June 2018 after battling a back problem for two seasons.
Hampson recalled how devastated he was to be watching from the sideline as Richmond took out the 2017 premiership. But said that all his training and career goals have given him the drive to take on Survivor as a superfan.
“I’ve been a fan of the show since I was 12,” he admitted. “I love this show and this is my chance. It’s the perfect mix of physical, mental and strategic social elements.”
LIFE WITH MEGAN GALE
A fun fact: the dad-of-two and cafe owner is engaged to Australian model Megan Gale.
He started dating Gale, 43, in 2011 and the couple share two children, River, 5, and Rosie, 2.
Gale said she and Hampson were generally on the same page when it came to parenting.
“Luckily, Shaun and I are like-minded with our views on how we parent,” she said. “I’ve had girlfriends who have said that their husband views it one way, whereas they view it another, so who teaches the child what? I think when you don’t share the same views as parents it can be really tricky.”
Gale revealed in 2016 she had suffered a miscarriage at nine weeks.
“Miscarriage is a heartbreaking experience to go through full stop,” she says. “But I had to go in front of TV cameras (for Australia’s Next Top Model) and pretend that everything was fine. It was extremely hard.
“After I had my miscarriage I had someone ask me about having baby number two. I wanted to say: ‘Well, I have tried and I’ve just had a miscarriage’. I didn’t, but I wanted to. Their question made me think even more about the fact that I’d just lost a baby. It’s like: ‘You signed up for it, so we can do and ask what we want’.
“I’ve lost count of the number of times I was asked about when I’d have kids. Then I had River, and I’d be asked when I was going to have another. Even now I’m asked about baby number three. How do you know I haven’t been trying? I haven’t. But I could have been.”
Gale — who will no doubt be watching from the couch in their Melbourne home — was quick to share her support on social media after the first episode aired.
“So incredibly proud of this human for even taking on the @survivorau experience. Rest assured — this one came to PLAY,” she gushed.
Hampson — who went in with a concrete game plan — was confident he can outlast the rest.
“It’s a game about lying and deceit, essentially,” he said. “My game plan is to not stand out too much — don’t be the one in charge, don’t be the one who is too likeable or too unlikeable.”
Australian Survivor airs Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday on Network 10 at 7.30pm.