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Wednesday January 18, 2012 Former UF star Brad Culpepper's wife to compete for $1 million on new season of 'Survivor'

Updated: 11:33pm, January 19

TAMPA, Fla. -- She never suited up for the Gators, but Monica Culpepper just might be about to become more famous than her University of Florida All-America husband.

Culpepper, wife of former UF and Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Brad Culpepper, is one of 18 contestants who will star in the 24th edition of “Survivor,” set to premier Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. on CBS.

So what can Monica tell us about her exotic, Caruso-like plight to the other side of the globe to star in the reality show ranked No. 2 on the airwaves for viewers ages 19-49?

“Nothing,” she said. Monica Culpepper

Contracts prohibit her from talking about what happens during the show that took the 41-year-old mother of three away from her family in the middle of last summer and banished her to an island in the South Pacific for 50 days, pitting her against 17 other beautiful and buff contestants vying for a $1 million prize.

“I’ve always prided myself on staying physically fit and I went out there in fantastic shape,” Culpepper said Wednesday. “But no TV, phone, email, bathrooms, electricity? I mean, no hand sanitizer? Nothing. It was hard. It was a life-altering experience and to say it was fun would be something of a stretch.”

She stopped herself from saying too much.

“You’ll have to watch to know what I’m talking about.”

Network officials originally were recruiting Monica and Brad to be a husband and wife team on “The Amazing Race.” The ball was actually rolling on that front when CBS reps contacted the the Culpeppers and said Monica fit the profile of a contestant

(Photo: CBS)

they wanted for “Survivor:”: a 40-something mom who who was married to a professional athlete.

That’s when Brad weighed in. The former UF standout and student vice president who played nine years in the NFL and whose Culpepper/Kurland partnership now rates as one of the most prominent personal injury firms in the Tampa Bay area figured it was Monica's time to shine. She was the one, after all, who halted who career path toward medical school to marry a NFL player and raise a family.

“You’ve got to do it,” Brad told her. “Go show the world there’s more than one bad ass in this house.”

Monica: “It was really the first time I ever went off and did something that was about me.”

First things first, though. Brad, a former Eagle Scout, took Monica and their kids -- Rex (14), Judge (12) and Honor (12) -- on a bare-bones camping trip to Anclote Island, off the Gulf Coast of Tarpon Springs, Fla., and made family members (Monica, especially) fend for themselves and prep for exotic excursion.

“Being married to Tarzan, he wanted to be sure I could survive,” Monica said.

The family did. How long Monica survived ‘Survivor,” well, you’ll have to tune in to find out.

In the interim, follow @monicaculpepper on Twitter, check out the video promo and her bio (along with those of her rivals) on the “Survivor” page on the CBS website.

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