The Amazing Race: Bickering Brothers Still Best Friends
Sam, 23, and Dan McMillen, 21, bickered their way to second place on The Amazing Race 15. The gay brothers and students from Liberty, Mo., discussed their many controversial moments (Elbowgate! Taxigate! Franzgate! Pixelationgate!) with PEOPLE as well as how coming out on TV compared with telling their conservative family that they are both gay upon returning home. —Carrie Bell
It was a close second. Hard feelings?Sam: When looking at my bank account, it would be nice if a half a million extra dollars was in there but despite sounding clich , it really is a priceless experience. Dan: It was harder to keep the secret for four months than to lose. Everyone has been bugging us about what happened and we couldn’t say a word. I’m just glad we’re able to talk about placing second. And honestly, we got to see all these fantastic places on someone else’s credit card and got some money out of it. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Not even how much you fought? Sam: I don’t think we fought anymore than the other teams. They just showed more of us. It’s much more stressful than you think when you’re watching from the couch. We’re still talking. We’re still brothers. The experience and watching the show helped us learn how to treat each other and respect our differences. Dan: He needed someone like me to keep him focused and moving. Otherwise, he’d have stood around for four minutes staring at every bridge and building. Sam: That’s so true. But I was in awe of all the places we were seeing and didn’t want everything to be a blur.
How did you feel about your portrayal as villains?Dan: Somebody has to play that part and I don’t think we did anything that wasn’t acceptable as part of the game. Looking back in fact, we hesitated too much in that taxi situation. Brian and Ericka eventually said it was okay because we called them another cab and they didn’t show it. And in the Kafka challenge, I probably shouldn’t even have given Big Easy the F clue. Sam: It was a fun role to play. If we did it over again, we’d push the envelope even farther and be even more ruthless.
Level with us: Did you throw elbows in Estonia with the Globetrotters?Dan: We never elbowed them. I know there’s a penalty for getting physical with other teams. Why would I risk getting eliminated when we were in first? It was a small and slippery walkway and they slipped. Sam: What was so annoying is that they blamed us for their mistakes. We did not elbow them. It wasn’t our responsibility to give them the clue. We understand that things get heated in the middle of racing so by the next day it was always water under the bridge.
Speaking of Estonia, what was the deal with the crotch blurring? You’re the only team that required it.Dan: We have really good genes. My boxer briefs were so thin and wet and so were Sam’s light-colored shorts so you could see too much outline. Sam: I think they’d rather be safe than sorry. But it’s not like we know for sure. We didn’t get a call from the editors saying, “We’re gonna go ahead and blur your junk.” People ask us about that more than anything else. They think that we were turned on by the hotties. That was not the case. Believe me, there is nothing erotic about playing volleyball in Estonia with your brother in the mud. Especially because we still aren’t sure it was mud.
Hardest task?Sam: The license plates because we had put a lot on the line to be on the show and to know it could end right there, five minutes after it started, was so nerve-racking. Dan: We knew going on the show meant we were going to have to come out to everyone in our family as soon as we got home whether they were ready to hear it or not, and whether or not we were ready to tell them because it was going to be on the first episode.
How’d the reveal go?Sam: It was suspected by some and everyone was very supportive and positive. Even more than we thought they’d be. We have a wonderful family who accepts us for who we are. Dan: It was almost as easy as coming out to the other teams. Most of them were starting to figure it out. We didn’t have any negative reactions or situations. I loved when Gary said Matt was adopted to lighten the mood.