‘Survivor 39’ Elaine Stott Proposed to Longtime Girlfriend With Help From a Few of Her Co-Stars

Elaine Stott came close to winning the million dollars and the title of Sole Survivor on Season 39’s Island of the Idols. Instead, she overwhelmingly won the hearts of America and the Sia award of $100,000.

Elaine referred to herself as a “busted can of biscuits,” and almost everyone on her tribes almost immediately liked her among meeting. However, after Dean Kowalski flipped on Elaine, Noura Salman, and Karishma Patel, it put her at the bottom.

Elaine Stott
Ronnie Bardah, Kellee Kim, Molly Byman, Elaine Stott, Jamal Shipman, Janet Carbin, Vince Moua, Lauren Beck and Aaron Meredith | Monty Brinton

She found an idol, which she incorrectly played, and then narrowly lost the immunity challenge to Dean. Like John Cochran said, “likeability is a liability,” and her tribemates voted her out at the next Tribal Council, knowing she would win if she made it to the Final Three.

Nonetheless, Elaine did make genuine friends on the island that extended beyond the game, and they went to Kentucky in August 2019 to help Elaine propose to her longtime girlfriend.

‘Survivor 39′ viewers met Elaine Stott girlfriend during loved ones’ visit

During Episode 11, Elaine Stott’s girlfriend Tonya Thomas came to Fiji for the loved ones’ visit. Elaine broke down while hugging her and proclaimed Tonya as “the toughest girl” because she “puts up” with Elaine.

Elaine Stott proposal Tonya Thomas
Elaine Stott and Tonya Thomas via Lauren Beck Instagram

The Kentucky-native said her girlfriend is her “rock” because Tonya “holds her together” while the factory worker remains “strong for everyone else.” Elaine told host Jeff Probst that Tonya has two children, one who is in college and “the other is her best friend,” and she was nervous they wouldn’t accept the relationship.

However, Elaine claimed her kids “love them together” and that she loves Tonya “more today than the day she decided to give her a chance.” Unfortunately, the Kentucky-native did not win or get chosen for the reward challenge, so they did not get to spend any more time together on the island.

‘Survivor 39’ Elaine Stott proposed to girlfriend after show

Elaine Stott proposal
Elaine Stott proposing to Tonya Thomas via Lauren Beck’s Instagram

On August 6, 2019, after Elaine returned from Fiji, she proposed to Tonya with the help of some of her Survivor: Island of the Idols family. A video posted to Lauren Beck’s Instagram story on December 20, 2019, detailed the proposal and included messages from Elaine’s co-stars and Tonya’s mother.

First, Elaine stood outside of a barn with flowers waiting for her girlfriend as Rascal Flatts’ “God Bless the Broken Road” played. Tonya’s mother left a video message telling the couple they are both her “daughters,” and that she loves them.

Dean Kowalski, Kellee Kim, and Tommy Sheehan
Dean Kowalski, Kellee Kim, Tommy Sheehan via Lauren Beck Instagram

Kellee Kim said she loves Elaine and is happy for her, Dean Kowalski thanked the factory worker for teaching him “a lot about being true to yourself and loving people,” and Tommy Sheehan reminded Elaine that everyone loved her and she was “the favorite of the season.” He also called Tonya and himself “lucky” for having the Kentucky-native in their lives.

Lauren Beck and Chelsea Walker
Lauren Beck and Chelsea Walker via Lauren Beck Instagram

Chelsea Walker wished Elaine and Tonya “a life filled with happiness and love,” and Lauren Beck said she’s “proud” of the factory worker and called her “an amazing woman, mother, and friend.”

In the middle of the video messages, Elaine got down on one knee and asked Tonya to marry her, to which she eagerly agreed. Her Survivor family then came out and surprised the couple with champagne and a dance party. 

Tommy Sheehan
Tommy Sheehan celebrating via Lauren Beck Instagram