Temptation, devastation, reconciliation
They flirt on Temptation Island. Then she dumps him. Can they find a happy ending?
By MATTHEW WAITE, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 16, 2002
Mark Detrio spent Valentine's Day at home. Alone. Watching television.
It was a tough day for someone who described himself on a Web site as a man who's "got it all. A good job, great family and an awesome sense of humor. I also have a great body and a lot of sex appeal."
It was particularly tough because Detrio was watching himself get dumped on national TV.
Detrio, a Tampa police officer and Wesley Chapel resident, was one of the unfortunate souls to go on Fox's Temptation Island 2 with a girlfriend and leave without one. His words about having it all were part of his audition, a boast to get on the show.
Don't feel sorry for Detrio. Being on the show was his idea. And while the rest of the world was watching Detrio's heart break Thursday night, he's had the five months between the taping and the airing of the show to heal.
During that time, he and Kelley Sutphin -- the remorseful dumper -- have been working at getting back together, with the help of Fox-sponsored counseling.
"Right now we're getting along better than when we went on the show," Detrio, 31, said. "There's real good hope."
Said Sutphin, 29: "We're best friends. We're trying really, really hard. We get along better now than before."
The climax of the show is called the final bonfire. Basically, the couples are put together after weeks of temptation from other scantily clad singles in an island paradise and given a choice: Stay together, or go another way.
At their final bonfire, Detrio wanted to stay together; Sutphin didn't.
Four hours later, all that changed when the couple met with counselors. Sutphin liked what Detrio had to say and began to think that she had made a mistake. Soon after, they were on a plane headed for home, and reconciliation.
It all began about this time last year when Detrio signed the couple up for Temptation Island.
For 18 days on a Costa Rican island, they were separated and surrounded by cameras, beaches, resort living and members of the opposite sex in swimsuits.
"I thought it was going to be more of a party," Detrio said.
Not so. During the weeks they were separated, the producers would give the couple videotapes of what the other was doing -- kissing other people, cavorting on the beach, and so forth.
Detrio and Sutphin recalled the fear, anger, jealousy and anxiety that started to creep in shortly after they got to the island. The videotapes iced it.
"That's when it hits home," Detrio said. "I'm there. There's nothing you can do about it."
Fox began airing Temptation Island 2 in the fall, each week showing how each of four couples were behaving on the island.
Detrio got a healthy dose of ribbing from his Tampa police colleagues.
"I get it every day," he said.
The show brought the couple some celebrity. They frequently were recognized by strangers when they went out.
Before the season finale, people would see them together and say, "I guess we know how it ends." The couple would just tell them to keep watching.
With the last episode airing on Valentine's Day, the couple said they expect the celebrity to fade.
Both watched the last episode -- Sutphin called Detrio afterward to talk -- and both said it was difficult.
"It was a tearjerker," Sutphin said.
Detrio said he "didn't want to relive the emotions. ... That was the worst moment I've been through in a long time."
But both say the show was worth the heartache.
Sutphin said she has been transformed. Before the show, she said she wouldn't leave Tampa, her home and her family to chase her dreams. She has always wanted to be a makeup artist and is now in Orlando taking classes.
"It changed my life," she said.
Detrio said he learned more about himself on the island than any other time in his life.
It was worth it, "even though I got dumped on national TV," he said. "On Valentine's Day.
"I can take it. It's not the end of the world."