One of the strongest rookie competitors to enter The Challenge: Double Agents was former Survivor winner Natalie Anderson.
She put her name in the record books in just the first episode by winning an elimination against two-time Challenge champion Ashley Mitchell and earning the season’s first Gold Skull.
However, in Episode 5, host TJ Lavin revealed that an agent had to be “unexpectedly deactivated” and announced Natalie needed to leave the game.
That was a major surprise for viewers, as the 34-year-old competitor appeared to be on track towards getting to the final in her first appearance on The Challenge.
Natalie reveals why she left The Challenge: Double Agents
When it was revealed during Double Agents Episode 5 that Natalie Anderson was leaving, she shared in a confessional interview that it was due to a “personal matter.”
“I have a personal matter that requires me to leave the game. I have to deal with something, and it sucks that I have to step out because all I want to do is compete,” she said in her interview during the episode.
So why the early exit? In a recent PEOPLE report, Natalie shared her important reason for leaving the show much earlier than she would have liked to.
It turns out that The Challenge: Double Agents rookie discovered that she was pregnant, requiring her to withdraw from the game. She and her boyfriend of over one year, Devin Perez, hadn’t been trying to have a baby, but something signaled she needed to take a test.
View this post on Instagram
Production asked Natalie to take a pregnancy test after she revealed to her twin sister and Amazing Race partner Nadiya on a FaceTime call during The Challenge filming that she missed her period.
While Natalie said she didn’t think much of missing it due to the stress of competing, production wanted to take precautions, so they asked her to take the test.
“On all my reality TV shows I’m always really irregular, especially on Survivor, because I’m starving,” the former Survivor winner told People. “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.”
Once it was determined that Natalie was, in fact, pregnant, she had to leave the game officially. Her reason wasn’t given during the show, leaving viewers wondering.
“It would be really unfair to say I left because it was difficult. My fans know me. I embrace difficult. They’re not going to buy, ‘The house was too stressful for me,'” Natalie said with regards to being “compromised” and “deactivated” in Episode 5.
Natalie says she wanted to keep competing
After winning her Gold Skull, Natalie was officially qualified to run in the Double Agents final for a chance at some major prize money. Despite Natalie wanting to keep competing, production wouldn’t let her continue.
“I literally said, ‘I think I can do this pregnant. Let me stay and compete.’ And production just looked at me like, ‘This girl is crazy,'” Natalie shared, per PEOPLE.
“I know my body and I would’ve put myself in that. If I could have signed some waiver and competed pregnant, trust me, I would have done it. But there was really no way from a liability perspective they would ever allow me to compete pregnant. I knew that as soon as I found out,” she also revealed.
The news of Natalie Anderson having to leave comes after competitor Melissa Reeves competed on last season’s The Challenge: Total Madness while pregnant. Melissa didn’t realize she was pregnant, and by the time she got to the final, she ended up quitting due to struggling so much physically.
She then welcomed her baby last May and has since been enjoying motherhood.
While Natalie may have wanted to continue, based on Melissa’s situation and the physical nature of The Challenge, it seems that production wants to be as safe as possible with pregnant competitors’ health situations.
Even so, Natalie received another vote of confidence from her original teammate on Double Agents, Wes Bergmann. Upon finding out she had to leave the show, he contacted her.
“Wes [Bergmann] reached out because he heard I left unexpectedly and he was like, ‘I’m just letting you know, if you stayed, you would have won,'” Natalie recalled. She told him, “Dude, I know.”
Like TJ says, it’s very likely viewers will be seeing this fierce competitor back on The Challenge in the future.
The Challenge: Double Agents airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on MTV.