ROB & AMBERAt last there were no more backs to stab, no more stale rice to choke down, no more fat naked guys to avoid spooning with at night. There was only a long bus ride to the airport in Panama after the last tribal council for Rob and Amber, the two finalists from Survivor: All-Stars. "They were asleep and they were wasted away; I mean there was nothing left of them," says host Jeff Probst, who rode with them. "But they were in each other's arms and they just looked so content. I was watching them thinking, 'This is a couple in love.' "
And so they were, pus-filled bug bites and subhuman hygiene be damned. When "Boston Rob" Mariano surprised 25 million fans and proposed to Amber Brkich (pronounced BER-kitch) at the start of the live May 9 Survivor finale – before an unsuspecting Amber won the $1 million prize – he set a new heart-tugging standard for reality TV romance. "And we're not even a dating show," marvels Probst. "Nobody expected this."