Fans of Natalie Anderson know one thing about her for sure: She’s no quitter.
After competing on two seasons of “The Amazing Race,” two seasons of “Survivor” and earning a spot in the final of MTV’s “The Challenge: Double Agents,” the 34-year-old has the reality TV credentials to prove that point.
That’s why those same fans were left curious and confused when she left the showing due to "a personal matter" on Wednesday night’s episode of “The Challenge.” But now Anderson is clearing up that confusion.
"It would be really unfair to say I left because it was difficult,” she told People magazine. “My fans know me. I embrace difficult. They're not going to buy, 'The house was too stressful for me.’ I want to own my story."
The short version of that story is that she learned she was pregnant with her first child during the competition and therefore wasn’t allowed to continue with the game’s grueling tasks.
What's more, it was only by chance that Anderson found out about her pregnancy. On a FaceTime call with her frequent reality TV co-star and twin sister, Nadiya, she mentioned she'd missed her period but didn't think anything of it.
"On all my reality TV shows I'm always really irregular, especially on ‘Survivor,’ because I'm starving," she recalled. "I never got my period the entire time I was out there. So I just chalked up the differences in my body to the stress of the situation."
But producers of “The Challenge” insisted she have a pregnancy test, which, to her surprise, came back positive.
In an interview with Us Weekly, Anderson said that learning the news of her pregnancy was difficult at first, given her strong position in the game. “For me, the money was basically in my pocket, the check was already written," she explained.
“I’m this different person when I’m on these shows — like, there’s nothing that’s gonna stop me from getting what I want or trying to get what I want,” she continued. “So it was like this weird wave of happiness, shock, surprise, disappointment. I didn’t even process what I was actually feeling. I was just like, ‘How am I pregnant? I want to win this money!’ I love my boyfriend, but he’s not here.
"It was just the most awkward way to find out you’re pregnant because it could have been an amazing feeling, but I didn’t have the opportunity to feel like that because I was just so confused and torn about having to leave the game but also was super excited and happy."
After she returned home, she and her partner started looking forward to their unexpected arrival.
"Even though I had to leave the show, this was a new journey for me with my boyfriend, Devin, and I was 100% comfortable moving forward with him in this decision,” she told Entertainment Weekly in a story published shortly after the episode aired. “But in the end it wasn't my decision.”
One week later, she had a miscarriage, People reported.
None of this was revealed on the show, but Anderson is finding renewed strength in sharing her experience now.
"I think it's good closure and a good way for me to put this whole thing behind me. It's very therapeutic," she told Entertainment Weekly. "Since I've gone through this, I've talked to a few friends and it's more common than it is not, and people just don't want to talk about it because there is like a bad stigma around it. And for me, I never felt that. I never felt ashamed, and I never apologized for what happened, and I just looked to Devin for support and we got through it together."
She’s hopeful that others who’ve gone through pregnancy loss will benefit from her openness, too.
“If I can help even a few fans and women out there, it's a win-win," Anderson said.