After an uncomfortably close encounter with Richard Hatch — who rubbed up against her while nude — Sue Hawk walked off Survivor: All-Stars in last week's episode. Her emotional outburst was surprising, since she initially seemed to laugh off what happened. Here, the mouthy 42-year-old former trucker tells TV Guide Online why she left, her reaction to Tom's celebratory song and dance over her departure and whether rumors of litigation are true.
TVGO: Did you watch your final episode?
Sue Hawk: No, I didn't.
TVGO: You weren't comfortable watching?
Hawk: There was no way. I didn't want to go back to that place. I've worked so hard to get in front of that.
TVGO: Did you discuss the incident with your husband?
Hawk: Yeah. My husband supported what I did 100 percent. He's been a total trouper and has helped me in any way that he possibly can through this whole ordeal.
TVGO: Did you hear what happened after you left the game?
Hawk: I got to see Tom's chicken dance.
TVGO: Were you upset by that?
Hawk: No, I watched Tom do that dance two or three times a day while I was there. I was glad that they were finally able to get it on air for him. Had I not done what I did, chances are, nobody would have been able to see his chicken dance.
TVGO: Did you hear Kathy's remarks?
Hawk: [Someone told me] that Kathy [felt] I should have held in my emotions or whatever. I was like, "Well, this is America. Everybody has a right to their opinion." If I ever do see her little snippet on [the show], I'm sure my attitude is going to be, "Well, Kathy, if some guy has you up against the wall and is rubbing his bare [genitalia] on you, you know what? I just might let it happen and stand back and laugh."
TVGO: Couldn't you have used the other balance beam during that challenge, thus avoiding Hatch completely?
Hawk: Prior to that game, Jeff Probst gave our team specific instructions that we had one beam we had to leave from the platform on and one beam we had to use to return to the platform. My shortest route back to Jeff's specified beam for returning to the platform was that beam Richard was coming down. Going the other way, it would have been like an extra beam longer for me and there would be more of a chance to fall.
TVGO: I know you spoke to Richard. Is everything OK now?
Hawk: Me and Richard have agreed to disagree on our whole interpretation of the whole encounter. But we've come to terms with each other, and we'll move forward from there.
TVGO: Are you happy about your decision to leave the game?
Hawk: Yes, I am so happy with my decision to leave. Because I went to someplace emotionally in me that I have never been — and I've spent the last 20-plus years protecting that spot by watching my back as a woman. To have that happen to me in such an open, public and what should have been somewhat protected forum blew my mind. So my mental health was more important than that million bucks. I have no regrets about my decision.
TVGO: You'd threatened a potential lawsuit. Have you decided against that now?
Hawk: Yeah, I had thought about it. I seriously contemplated it, but then when CBS and Mark Burnett got me and Richard to come together to hash it out and talk, and I was able to work through it. The whole incident was so traumatizing and so emotionally draining on me that I just couldn't see putting myself or my family through it. Again, my mental state of mind is more important than a money amount.
TVGO: Did CBS pay you a settlement out of court?
Hawk: No, we just talked through it. [Editor's Note: CBS won't confirm or deny if any settlement agreement has been made with Hawk.]
TVGO: Did the producers know you were preparing to leave?
Hawk: They had seen what was happening to me at our beach. I think they had some kind of inkling that I was preparing to leave, but they probably thought, "Richard is not here, so maybe that will make her feel better, since she doesn't know that yet." But, at that point, it didn't matter.
TVGO: Did you talk to your team and tell them your decision?
Hawk: The only one I really talked to was Alicia. Because, of course, there is no love lost between me and Tom. I wouldn't tell him a whole lot of anything. And Rob M. is another guy, and they don't understand. So I confided in Alicia and, of course, she tried to talk me out of it. But she supported any decision I made.
If the opportunity comes up, would you ever consider doing another Survivor?
Hawk: No. If I had known what was going to happen, I would have never gone into this one. So after this incident, I have had enough life-learning lessons. It is just more fun to sit back and watch everyone else learn those lessons.