Lisa Whelchel (Blair from Facts of Life) divorced husband Steve Cauble right before filming Survivor

Lisa Whelchel, who we all know as love as Blair from Facts of Life, is going through some major life changes. As if it weren’t enough that she suddenly popped up on Survivor: Phillipines, right before she left her Texas home this March to start filming the competition show, she ended her 24-year marriage to Steve Cauble. Survivor must REALLY be a cathartic experience for her.

She spoke exclusively to People magazine about the split:

“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.”

“I just never thought it would happen to me. It was painful to realize that it wasn’t going to work out.”

Lisa (49) worked with Steve (61) in a Christian ministry since The Facts of Life ended in 1988. Lisa has written Christian books inspired by her experience homeschooling their three children. They’re still friends, even watching the Survivor premiere as a family.

In another interview Lisa says she wasn’t approached by the Survivor producers, but instead she sought them out because she was a fan of the show.

She told Fox 411:

“I just love the show. I’m a huge fan – I’ve watched every episode! I filmed a little audition video, and then I put it on my Twitter and Facebook, and asked everybody to retweet it @JeffProbst and @CBS to try and get somebody to watch it and let me come to the auditions. It ended up on a ‘Survivor’ bulletin board, and one of the casting directors saw it and contacted me through my website to see if I would come out and audition, and so that’s how it happened!”

As a Christian Lisa struggled with the deceitful aspect of playing Survivor, but came to terms with the fact that lying may be something she has to do to win the game:

I was really concerned about the possibility of having to lie on ‘Survivor,’ confessed Whelchel. “I didn’t want to lie and I wasn’t planning on lying if I could avoid it, but I also knew the game and I knew what it took to play the game and I knew that it would be naive to think that you could play the game without lying. Although I was worried about – especially Christians – judging me, because they might say, ‘OK, you say you’re a Christian, you’re supposed representing God and you’re lying.’ And they would have felt it was just an excuse to say, ‘Yes, but it is just a game.’ But the truth is that it IS a game. The rules of the game are, ‘There are no rules.’ Everybody signs up for the same game. I would just hope that I would be able to keep that mindset while playing the game.”